Germany battled back to salvage a 2-2 draw against a very dogmatic Ghana side in Fortaleza yesterday.
In their hour of need, Joachim Lowe called upon the experienced Miroslave Klose and the Germany international didn't disappoint, as he denied Ghana all three points while equaling the all time goal-scoring record at a World Cup, with his 15th goal spanning four World Cups.
The Germans had found the lead, as Gotze turned in a Muller cross in the strangest of manner, before Ayew leveled proceedings with a more conventional and well diverted header beyond Neuer and Asamoah Gyan added to the Germans woes by capitalising on an uncharacteristic Phillip Lahm mistake.
The draw sees Germany limping over the finish line, with their progression to the Last 16 now not possibly determined until they play their final group match against the USA. Ghana, meanwhile salvaged hope, if only just a point, but the fate is completely out of their hands now.
Here we assess the performances of each sides.
Manuel Neuer: The Bayern Munich stopper was always alert to shots from range including decent saves from Muntari and Atsu. Used his big frame and dominant nature to set Gyan off his tracks when through on goal. Little he could do for either of Ghana's goals. 6.
Jerome Boateng: Couldn't provide much attacking threat from his fullback position during his 45 minutes on the pitch at half time and struggled to advance the game with many positive forward play with just one impressive pass setting Ozil through. Largely untested from Andre Ayew, but still hauled off at half-time. 5.
Per Mertesacker: The big Germans positional play is never in question and made some impressive interceptions and read the danger particularly well with some composed box defending, but his pace (or lack of) was tested on occasion against the athletic Gyan. As the game began to stretch, the Arsenal man started to make more errors and the game was not well suited to his strengths. 5.
Mats Hummels: Very assured performance from the Dortmund defender who was an imperious and start performer against Portugal. Classy composure and ability to play out from the back showcased with regularity. 7.
Benedikt Howedes: The out-of-position centre back, deployed at centre back for the second successive game proved to yet again be a weak-link in that back four. The pace and direct play of Atsu proved too hot for Howedes to handle. The second half proved even more difficult for the German, as he started to tire from the humidity. 4.
Sami Khedira: Following the return from a long-term injury, the Real Madrid man still looks unconvincing and slightly off pace, as he struggled to impose himself against the Ghanaians. Often marauding up the field centrally, the game seemed to bypass Khedira with little contribution both offensively and defensively. Subbed for Schweinsteiger just after the hour mark. 5.
Phillip Lahm: The reinvented central midfielder intelligently rotated positions with Kroos and Khedira throughout the first half, as Ghana struggled to pick up his position and runs. Economical use of the ball and continuously took up positions to instigate attacks. Culpable for Ghana's second, but made amends after a 3-on-2 situation ensued for the Ghanaians. 6.
Toni Kroos: The much-sought after Bayern midfielder couldn't quite find the same heights in his passing and dictating as he showcased against Portugal, but still provided some real glimpses of quality with one through ball late on, while his corner was the catalyst for the Germans equalising goal. 7.
Mesut Ozil: The Arsenal midfielder created plenty of chances for Germany due to his impressive off-the-ball movement and penetrative movement beyond the fullbacks. Were it not for some impressive box defending, the playmaker would have two or three assists to his name. 7.
Thomas Muller: Hat-trick hero from the Germany game, Muller was unable to get on the scoresheet this time, but still showed great enthusiasm to attack the space in the box and also supplied an exquisite cross for Gotze to convert. 7.
Mario Gotze: Hugely impressive performance from the Bayern Munich man who was at the fulcrum of most of Germany's attacking play with a lively first half performance. Showcased excellent dribbling ability, movement and passing and scored the opening goal, albeit rather fortuitous. 7.
Shkodran Mustafi: The former Everton man was introduced for Boateng at right following the interval, but looked more uncomfortable in that role than Boateng and was too easily beaten for Ayew's opener. Provide slightly more attacking threat however. 5.
Miroslav Klose: Germany struggled with forward options in the opposition box and supporting Muller in the first half and Klose instantly provided another threat for Ghana to consider. Scored the equaliser with a trademark poachers goal with his first touch in the game and proved a constant menace. 7.
Bastian Schweinsteiger: Introduced for the disappointing Khedira. Schweinsteiger managed to make a more impressionable impact than the man he replaced despite being on the pitch for just twenty minutes. Able to combat the Ghanaians physicality far better and looked to influence proceedings more. 6.
Fatawu Dauda: Competent goalkeeping performance and improvement on that of Kwarasey in the USA game. Little he could do from either Germany goals. 6.
Harrison Afful: Relentless performance from the fullback displacing Opare in the side and didn't let his side down in the slightest. On the odd occasion he switched off, but remained diligent in his defensive duties and stood up to Gotze well. Provided the assist for Andre Ayew. 7.
John Boye: Alongside defensive partner Mensah, Boye was consigned to plenty of box defending and made three excellent last ditch tackles in the opening half hour and proved to be a formidable and domineering figure. A bit ponderous and clumsy on the ball at times and misjudged the flight of the ball for Gotze's opener. 5.
Jonathan Mensah: A lot of Mensah's defensive duties comprised that of Boye's, but Mensah carried out his with more composure and took to his duties seamlessly at times. While, Boye had to resort to last ditch-defending, Mensah was often well positioned, while also being far more calm on the ball. 6.
Kwadwo Asamoah: Very susceptible first half performance from the Juventus wing-back, as he was often too careless and casual in possession, while his positional play continuously came into question. Much more assured in the second half and made an excellent last-ditch tackle on Klose late on. Still, could have closed down Muller's cross more urgently however. 5.
Sulley Muntari: The experienced AC Milan man looked to pull the strings for Ghana, with quick releases toward towards Atsu on the left as well as Gyan up front and impressed with his passing both short and long. Demonstrated good energy to close down the opposition and also a goal threat at times. 7.
Mohammed Rabiu: As Ghana's deepest midfielder, Rabiu found it difficult to contain the Germans impressive movement and rotation of the ball, particularly Ozil and Gotze. The imposing physicality of Ghana was very much epitomised by Rabiu however, although his contribution was very limited when Ghana maintained possession. 6.
Christian Atsu: Ghana's main threat against the USA, replicated that standard of performance against Germany, as his pace and threat on one-on-one situations was a constant issue for Howedes. Impressive end-product and had a good effort on target. Subbed off for Wakaso. 7.
Kevin-Prince Boateng: Starting his first match at this years World Cup, the reputable Ghanaian playmaker struggled in a game that saw little offensive contribution, as he looked to marginalise Lahm and Kroos' influence in dictating the game. Very poor and wasteful whenever he did find himself in attacking areas however. 4.
Andre Ayew: Unable to offer any kind of attacking threat prior to his goal, but that did raise his performance significantly. A very well directed header was almost the first of two headed goals for the forward, as Ayew started to pose a very serious danger. 7.
Asamoah Gyan: The former Sunderland man proved to be a constant threat and his pace and athletisicm completely unsettled a static Mertesacker from the early exchanges. His positive and impressive overall play was rewarded with a goal and smart finish. 7.
Jordan Ayew: Introduced for the ineffective Boateng, Ayew immediately made more of an impression and came to the fore as the game opened up. 6.
Mubarak Wakuso: Found himself with plenty of attacking chances, but often chose the wrong decision. Extremely poor play in a three-vs-two situation late on after straying offside. 4.
Emmanuel Badu: Introduced late on in a like-for-like replacement for Rabiu. Worked hard. 5.
Feel free to offer your verdict in the comments below!
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