United States 0, Germany 1: Both teams advance to knockout stages

June 26, 2:37 PM

After what appeared to be Anschluss under the rain in the first half, Germany proved to the world they came to win. But the result didn’t matter. Portugal’s futile 2-1 victory over Ghana meant both teams go through to the round of 16. America have survived the Group of Death, though Jurgen Klinsmann will have a lot of work to do against their likely opponents Belgium.

The Goal

GOAL! Thomas Mueller (Germany) 55th min. Mertesacker’s header requires an athletic leap and highlight save from the impressive Tim Howard, but there was no stopping Thomas Mueller’s follow up, smashing a shot into the bottom of the net and shattering a million biscotti. Ghana’s equalizer in the other game gave American fans some concern, but then Ronaldo saved the day.

Man of the Match - Cristiano Ronaldo

Well, in fairness it should be the goal-scorer Thomas Mueller who is still in the running for the tournament’s golden boot, and who was at the centre of much of the German attack. But it was Ronaldo’s winner against Ghana which made the difference for the U.S., effectively sealing the United States’ progression through to the next round.

The Controversy

There may be some questions over how FIFA handled this game in rainy Recife, though the stadium appeared to be filled. There were voluminous Tweets ahead of the match of fans trying to get to the stadium in dangerous conditions, with streets under several feet of water. With future games scheduled in Recife and no end in sight for the rain, FIFA may have to make some decisions about match scheduling.

What did Germany to do to win?

Be patient. There was some cut and thrust in the first half, but Germany won in large part due to some excellent defending by Lahm, Mertesacker, Hummels and Howedes (until the near end), closing down any space in the U.S. counter attack led by Bradley and Jones, with Clint Dempsey looking very tired. The goal was well taken in the end, but it came off an incredible save by Tim Howard on a set-piece. They were imperious though in limiting U.S. attacks, with only Graham Zusi getting a sniff in the first half.

In the early stages too they found a lot of space out on their right flank, with Thomas Mueller effectively drawing DaMarcus Beasley out of position on more than one occasion. Jerome Boateng was afforded yards of space, too. The U.S. counter wasn’t helped by their clear lack of match fitness, but Germany did very well.  

The Takeaway

The U.S. win by losing, Germany finishes top of their group. Though the U.S. will in part blame the loss on fitness, Klinsmann will know Belgium are no pushovers in the round of 16, and after that they face the very real possibility of Argentina. Germany meanwhile will likely meet Russia/South Korea/Algeria in the next round, and then possibly France!

The 1,000 Words

Stray Thoughts

Jermaine Jones is knackered. Jurgen Klinsmann will likely have to find a solution as he was almost a lone striker at times, covering a lot of ground.

The “curse of Manaus” continues. Every team which has played a game there (except for Portugal) lost their following match. The U.S. will want to rest up for the next match.

Easy does it for Jogi Loew. Not taking any risks, Germany came out of the match unscathed. Also Mario Goetze coming on for Bastian Schweinsteiger was a good reminder of the depth of that German squad.

Remember America: Cristiano Ronaldo was named after Ronald Reagan.  

Feature photo courtesy of Reuters