Three-times world champion and generally regarded as one of the favourites for this year’s title, Germany narrowly evaded defeat against Ghana in the first match of Group G’s round two. The 59,621 fans at the Castelão Arena watched a hard-fought 2-2 draw in Fortaleza.
The result adds drama to the fight for a spot in the knockout stage. Germany now has four points, one more than the United States, which challenge Portugal in the Amazon Arena (in Manaus) this Sunday 21 June. Ghana has one point from today’s tie and Portugal has yet to achieve any.
Despite the flurry of opportunities created by both teams, the nets only saw any action in the second half. The Germans came out ahead at the 51st minute, with a play in which the ball managed to miraculously brush Götze’s head, face and knee after a cross coming from the right flank.
The goal completely upended the pace of the match. A mere two minutes later, Boye crossed to André Ayew, who rose higher than the defenders and headed the ball past goalkeeper Neuer.
The draw added further intensity to Ghana’s defence efforts, and their attack was rewarded with a second goal shortly after. Lahm fumbled a play in the defence, Asamoah Gyan received the ball about 25 meters from goal, ran into the box and shot hard past Neuer: 2-1 Ghana.
But Germany had a trump card in the bench, who would come in to equalise the match and write his name in the history of World Cups. Miroslav Klose entered the pitch at the 23rd minute, and needed but two of them to nudge the ball, which came from a cross and a header that turned it his way, to score German’s second goal in the match and his fifteenth in all World Cups. He has now reached the mark of top scorer in history, tied with Brazil’s Ronaldo.
“It’s something that brings in a lot of adrenaline. I don’t know how long I kept thinking about this,” said Klose as he left the pitch. Through Twitter, striker Ronaldo congratulated his colleague. “Welcome to the club, Klose. I imagine how happy you must be. What a beautiful World Cup,” he wrote.
“We needed a classic 9th in the pitch. Klose breathed new life into the game”, commented German coach Joachim Löw. “It was a competitive match. Germany is one of the best teams in the world. We had a good match,” said Ghana coach Kwesi Appiah.