UNITED STATES 0-1 GERMANY
THURSDAY 26TH JUNE – RECIFE
A second half strike from Thomas Muller was enough to ensure the Germans progressed as Group G winners on Thursday, while USA qualified on goal-difference, dumping Ballon D’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo and his Portugal side out of the tournament.
With a draw confirming qualification for both sides, many expected a slow tempo to this game, though it was clear early on that the Germans had different ideas.
Just two minutes had passed before Thomas Muller had the first opportunity, though his shot was wayward, flying harmlessly into the stands. Klinsmann’s USA team settled into the game after that, and had the next opening 20 minutes in.
The flamboyant Zusi made space on the right, and cutting inside, unleashed a powerful effort which missed Neuer’s goal by inches. Loew’s side took control, as both Ozil and Kroos stung the palms of Howard before the break, though there was no surprise the game remains goalless going into the second half.
Klose joined the action for the second period, looking for the one goal that would take the World Cup record from Ronaldo – though it was another familiar face who did break the deadlock. Per Mertesacker rose highest, forcing Howard to save, though the ball only came out to Thomas Muller, who placed the ball expertly into the corner from 20 yards.
Klinsmann’s side knew they had to attack now, a loss only putting them through should Ghana fail to win. That opened the game up, and the Germans threatened to double their lead from a Howedes drive, then going close from the resulting corner.
News of a Cristiano Ronaldo goal in Brasilia replenished hope amongst the Americans, though they still came looking for the equaliser, nearly grabbing it twice in injury time.
First, a slick passing move found Bedoya in the area, only to find his shot blocked by a sliding German defender, before Dempsey headed over with seconds remaining.
The Portuguese held on to win 2-1 against Ghana, as USA qualified in second place – meaning they will face Belgium in the last 16, barring a bizarre set of results in the late kick-offs. Germany qualify as group winners, likely booking a clash with Algeria in the Second Round, or Russia should they beat the Algerians tonight.
USA: Howard, Johnson, Beasley, González, Besler, Zusi, Beckerman, Dempsey, Bradley, Davis (Bedoya 59).
BOOKINGS: Gonzalez 37, Beckerman 62.
GERMANY: Neuer, Boateng, Höwedes, Lahm, Mertesacker, Hummels, Schweinsteiger (Götze 76), Kroos, Müller, Özil, Podolski.
GOALS: Müller 55.
BOOKINGS: Höwedes 11.
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