Germany and Ghana still standing after heavyweight thriller
Miroslav Klose equals all-time top goalscorer record to rescue point against game opponents
Germany coach Joachim Loew was confident they remained in a good position to progress at the World Cup after Saturday’s pulsating 2-2 group G draw with Ghana that he likened to a boxing epic.
“The first half was a well-organised match. In the second half, suddenly you saw a terrific pace by both teams. It was an open exchange of punches as it were. Ghana had possibilities, we had possibilities,” Loew said.
Germany, who are top of the group with four points, after hammering Portugal 4-0 in their opening fixture, face the United States in their final group match in Recife on Thursday, while Ghana, with one point, play Portugal in Brasilia.
In an end-to-end thriller, Ghana had Germany on the ropes at 2-1 before striker Miroslav Klose came off the bench to equal Brazilian legend Ronaldo’s record of 15 World Cup goals and salvage a draw.
WATCH: Miroslav Klose equals Ronaldo's record
Mario Goetze had given Germany the lead before goals from Andre Ayew and Asamoah Gyan threatened to cause a major upset for the Black Stars in Fortaleza.
“For the spectators it must have been terribly fascinating seeing such an intense and fast game, having two teams just running. An unconditional drive for the victory,” Loew said.
“For a coach it’s just the same, up and down, the seesaw just as it is for the spectators.
“When you have an African team in front of you, you know they’re very strong and very fast, admirably fast with this temperature,” he said.
“The US and South Americans have delivered an excellent tournament so far, and perhaps that is because they cope with the heat a bit better than we do. However, the weather here or in Salvador, we showed we can cope with it and I’m not worried.”
WATCH: Mario Goetze puts Germany 1-0 up
Despite letting a 1-0 lead slip in the game, Loew said the draw left his Germany side, who are one of the tournament favourites, in a decent position to progress to the last 16.
“The situation for us hasn’t changed decisively. I believe for the last match we have a good position. One further point and we will make it to the next round,” he said.
WATCH: Andre Ayew equalises for Ghana
Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer said the draw was a sobering one after the show-stopping defeat of Portugal.
“We let Ghana back into the game through mistakes. We gifted them goals. You can’t allow that in the World Cup. The result against Portugal was too beautiful, we’ve got our feet back on the ground now.”
Klose celebrated his landmark goal with his trademark somersault. “It wasn’t perfect, but I can’t remember the last time I did it,” Klose said. “Still, 15 goals in 20 matches, that’s not bad.”
Ronaldo reacted with a tweet: “Welcome to the club (hashtag)klose. I can imagine your happiness!!!! What a great Cup!!!?”
WATCH: Asamoah Gyan puts Ghana 2-1 up
Gyan, whose goal saw him join Cameroon legend Roger Milla as the leading all-time African World Cup scorer with five, said they had played much better than in the 2-1 defeat to the United States.
“We believed in ourselves today,” the 28-year-old told the BBC. “I think tactically we were perfect today.
“Now we definitely have to beat Portugal. We will have to focus but we believe we can beat them.”
With the US playing Portugal in Manaus on Sunday, the result breathes life back into Ghana’s hopes of reaching the last 16.
Ghana coach Akwasi Appiah praised his side’s never-say-die spirit.
“I always believed in us, because we fight until the end,” said Appiah, whose side play Portugal in Brasilia on Thursday.
“It won’t be easy to reach the last 16, we only have a point, but it’s not impossible.
“For us to contain Cristiano Ronaldo, who is the best player in the world, will be a team effort, we can’t allow him the space to play his game.”
Reuters, Agence-France Presse, Associated Press