And it could have been worse for the U.S., which watched the game from Manaus. Gyan's 63rd minute goal, Ghana's second, was in fact set to win the game until Miroslav Klose tied it up for Die Mannschaft eight minutes later. A Ghanaian victory would have blown Group G wide open.
As it stands, Germany is now on four points, with the Americans on three, and Ghana on one. Portugal, thoroughly humbled by the Germans in their opener, goes into Sunday playing for its World Cup life with zero points. But a U.S. victory over Portugal would clinch a round-of-16 spot for the Americans—a scenario that was possible with everything but an upset victory by Ghana on Saturday.
"It's kind of a knockout game for both teams now," German defender Per Mertesacker said, looking ahead to the U.S. game. "We just want to make less mistakes than we made today."
The Black Stars will rue the opportunity they had after going up 2-1, when Gyan was denied the chance to score a third for Ghana. They created a two-on-two break after a German set piece, but the cross from the left never came for him, even though he was unmarked in the center.
Five minutes later, Klose was sneaking in at Ghana's back post to equalize from a German corner. That goal, the last punch of the game, was Klose's 15th across four World Cups, tying the record for most career goals at the tournament, held by former Brazil star Ronaldo.
"He was only two minutes on the pitch and he scores this goal," Germany's head coach Joachim Löw said of Klose in German. "For me as a coach, it's sensational to have this kind of player off the bench."
On a thick, hot afternoon here, Ghana seemed to have learned from the mistakes that Portugal made in its opener against Germany—lessons like trying to beat Germany at its own attacking game. Instead, the Black Stars stuck to a compact 4-3-3 when they lost possession, sat deep and focused on chasing runners. When Germany did break through on the flanks, Ghana limited the options to Thomas Müller and successfully contained him in the first half.
It all amounted to some of the most organized defensive work of the World Cup so far. For 45 minutes, at least.
As the heat broke early in the second half, so did the deadlock. Germany struck first through Bayern Munich playmaker Mario Götze. One of the shortest players on the field at 5-foot-8, he ghosted between to Ghanaian defenders to head in Müller's cross—sort of. He actually headed it by accident onto his knee and the ball caromed into the goal—like the pool shot you tell your friends you completely intended.
The lead lasted three minutes before Ghana slugged back with almost a carbon copy of the buildup: a cross bent in from the right, two confused defenders and a forward squeezing between them. This time it was André Ayew, who took advantage of a gap between Mertesacker and Shkodran Mustafi to steer home a perfect header.
If the huge contingent of Brazilian fans in the crowd had left any doubt about their rooting interest before, they destroyed it now. Dancing in the stands alongside the partying Ghana fans, they cheered for the African underdogs. An afternoon that began with a booming rendition of "Deutschland Über Alles" and German flags ringing the upper deck turned into a hostile road game for Die Mannschaft.
By the end of the game, exhaustion had completely taken over. "We knew it was impossible to run for 90 minutes at such a high pace," Löw said.
Clearances were hoofed into the air. Players wheezed, hands on knees. The notion of a midfield was just a rumor. But Ghana had done just enough to keep Group G interesting for another five days.
source: wsj.com By JOSHUA ROBINSON