Fifa World Cup 2014

Memory of nervy night in 2010 lingers for Europeans

The three-time champions have traditionally struggled in their second group game, putting pressure on them in the third. This time they want it a lot easier

PUBLISHED : Friday, 20 June, 2014, 11:01pm
UPDATED : Friday, 20 June, 2014, 11:01pm

Germany will be hoping history doesn't repeat itself when they tackle Ghana in their second World Cup group G match at Fortaleza today.

Historically, the Germans have a tradition of winning their opening group match at World Cup finals, only to struggle in their second game.

At the 1994, 1998 and 2002 World Cup finals, they drew their second matches, piling on the pressure for the final group game in order to qualify.

They endured a nervy 1-0 win over Poland in 2006 but four years ago they suffered a shock defeat to Serbia in their second match.

Kevin-Prince always has loose expressions on his lips. He's trying to get a reaction, but we're not tempted. We're staying calm
Roman Weidenfeller

It left the Germans needing to beat Ghana in their final group match and memories of that nervy night in Johannesburg, when a Mesut Ozil goal put them through, still linger.

"That's warning enough for us," said Arsenal centre back Per Mertesacker, who will win his 100th cap for Germany.

"We know what we have to do and will go into the second game with all seriousness."

Following Monday's 4-0 thumping of Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal, Germany know another victory would leave them on the verge of the last 16.

They will qualify for the knockout phase if they beat Ghana and then the United States avoid defeat against Portugal tomorrow in Manaus.

Germany may be forced to reshuffle their back four as Mats Hummels struggles to recover from a thigh injury.

The centre back has been unable to train with the squad since he had to be helped off with deep bruising to his right thigh against Portugal.

After their 2-1 defeat to the US in their group opener, Ghana need a win to keep their last 16 dreams alive.

Ghana's footballer of the year Kwadwo Asamoah has begged coach Kwesi Appiah to put him back in a more attacking role for the Fortaleza clash.

Asamoah was devastated by the Black Stars' US defeat and is eager to be given the chance to attack the Germans.

The 25-year-old was used as a left-sided defender in a loose 4-2-3-1 formation that failed to fire.

"I'm not a left back and I'm finding it difficult because I'd like to show what I'm capable of and show that I can do more," said the Juventus midfielder.

Ghana's Berlin-born midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng, who faces his half-brother Jerome in the German defence, has turned up the heat by describing the Fortaleza clash as a gladiatorial-style "fight to the death".

A former German youth international, Kevin-Prince Boateng has made a habit of criticising Loew's side and his latest comments left the Germany camp cold.

"Kevin-Prince always has loose expressions on his lips," said reserve goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller.

"He's trying to get a reaction, but we're not tempted. We're staying calm."