Germany and Ghana in decisive match

2010-06-22 07:26

Ghana already has one milestone behind it and now it stands a

victory away from achieving maybe an even bigger one – sending Germany to its

earliest exit from a World Cup.

Ghana became the first African team to win a World Cup game on

African soil when it beat Serbia 1-0 in its Group D opener. Now it can ensure

that Germany exits at the group stage for the first time ever.

Going into the decisive final round, Ghana leads the group on four

points. Germany and Serbia have three and Australia is on one, meaning all four

have a chance of progressing and all are at risk of missing out.

A win over Ghana would see Germany through and a draw would be

enough for the Germans if Serbia fails to beat Australia.

Both sides will be eager to improve on their previous performances:

Germany suffered a surprise 1-0 loss to Serbia, while Ghana failed to capitalise

on an early red card to the Australians and was held to a 1-1 draw.

The Germans remained optimistic despite an unconvincing display

against Serbia. Coach Joachim Loew and captain Philipp Lahm have both said

Germany will advance “100%”.

German striker Cacau said: “We know our qualities and have no doubt

that we’ll make it.”

The Brazil-born Cacau is likely to start up front, as Miroslav

Klose is suspended after being sent off with two yellow cards against


“I can see that my team mates have the confidence that we’ll win,”

he said.

Central defender Arne Friedrich also exuded confidence: “We all

believe we will make it from coach Loew down. The loss to Serbia was a blow but

we still believe we’ll go through.

“We are in the kind of situation when we have to prove ourselves

and if we get rid of mistakes we made against Serbia, we’ll be fine. They have

good forwards but if we put pressure on them we’ll cause them to make


Germany has been in similar situations before – two years ago, they

needed to beat host Austria in the final group match to advance at the European

Championship and they did, then went all the way to the final.

But the winning goal against Austria came from captain Michael

Ballack, who was forced out of this World Cup by an ankle injury, contributing

to Germany having the second youngest team in World Cup history.

Kevin-Prince Boateng, the man whose tackle in the English FA Cup

final took Ballack out of the World Cup, will be on the opposite side


Boateng was born in Berlin and played for Germany’s junior teams

before switching allegiance to the land of his father. His half brother Jerome

is a German defender.

According to Jerome, the two have not had contact since the start

of the World Cup, after Kevin-Prince had complained that the hostile reaction in

Germany to his foul on Ballack had racist elements.

Jerome, who is unlikely to start, said: “It was stupid that

something like that became public but I wish him the best and I will shake his

hand before the match.”

Ghana has a Serbian coach, Milan Rajevac, who will have central

defender and captain John Mensah back after a hamstring injury ruled him out of

the match against Australia. Mensah’s usual central defensive partner, Isaac

Vorsah, remains in doubt.

Like Germany, Ghana is at the World Cup without its injured regular

captain, Michael Essien – Ballack’s Chelsea team mate.

Mensah said: “I don’t think there is pressure on us. They will

probably have more pressure because they are the favourites. We all know Germany

has a good team, but we believe we have a good team too. We have to keep things

tight, stay compact and I’m sure we can win the match.”

Defender Hans Adu Sarpei, who has played his entire career in

Germany and is now at Bayer Leverkusen, believes Ghana can exploit weaknesses in

Germany’s defence, although Ghana has yet to score from open play in two games,

with both its goals coming from penalties.

Sarpei said: “This is a big game. This situation of win or die

makes it much bigger. Myself, Kevin-Prince Boateng and the rest of the team must

be calm and go into the game with our minds and not emotions so we don’t get red


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