The World Cup Group Stage draw took place this afternoon in Salvador de Bahía, Brazil. Lady luck was not particularly lenient with Germany but gave them three opponents in a group that won’t be easy but that is still feasible to win. Ghana, Portugal and the USA will accompany the Löw-Elf in Group G of the competition, a group stage that will see Germany face some familiar faces on the road to the next round.
Rivals in the previous World Cup, it will be a particularly memorable occasion for the Boateng brothers, as Kevin-Prince plays for the Black Stars while his younger brother Jérôme chose to play for Germany. In 2010, the match was decided by a single Mesut Özil goal. With an experienced midfield that contains the names of Michael Essien, Sulley Muntari and young guns Kwadwo Asamoah and Wakaso Mubarak, that will be Ghana’s strongest department, although the unpredictable Asamoah Gyan and Vitesse (on loan from Chelsea) starlet Christian Atsu up front could also pose problems for Germany. Still, their defence and goalkeepers are no match for Germany’s strong attacking force and, while not the easiest team to draw from Pot 2, it’s definitely not the worst.
Two words: Cristiano Ronaldo. That’s the name that the Germans will fear the most. Germany already played Portugal in the group stages of Euro 2012 and came out with a 1-0 victory, courtesy of a second-half goal by Mario Gomez. While Ronaldo is clearly their best player, Portugal have struggled in their group stage and only reached the finals thanks to a playoff victory against Sweden (4-2 on agg.). Besides Ronaldo, Portugal are weaker than Germany in all departments and Löw & co. should exploit their dependence on Ronaldo to gain three points against them.
Again, another individual name: Jürgen Klinsmann. The former Germany striker who managed his country in the 2006 World Cup and who many consider the cause behind the new style of German football will face his country in Brazil. Germany already toured the USA this summer and results didn’t exactly go their way, losing 4-3 in a friendly in Washington, a result that flattered the visitors, with two late goals sugarcoating the result. The USA are no mugs and with Klinsmann at the helm, Germany won’t be given an easy ride.
Germany – Portugal
June 16th, 18:00h. Salvador de Bahía.
Germany – Ghana
June 21st, 21:00h. Fortaleza.
USA – Germany
June 26th, 18:00h. Recife.
All times CET
Germany coach Joachim Löw: “We are meeting old acquaintances. To have the USA in the group is quite something! Jürgen and I have a very close relationship but, of course, there are thing that we no longer discuss. It’s a crazy group! It could not be any harder. However, we believe in ourselves and that we can go through to the next round. (…) Now we finally know who we are going to be playing against. Now we must get used to the humidity, as it is unbelievably hot in Fortaleza and we will be playing all three matches in the early afternoon local time.”
Schalke and Ghana’s Kevin-Prince Boateng: “Dreams can still come true. I look forward to the match against my brother (…) Even playing my teammate Jermaine Jones will be just great!”
USA coach Jürgen Klinsmann: “Football can be crazy! Ironically, Germany! This is a truly hard group but we will take it. It is one of the toughest groups in the entire draw but we have grown in confidence in recent years and we believe that we can get through it.”
Former Bayern München midfielder and TV pundit Mehmet Scholl: “We haven’t had luck, but it’s still feasible.”
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