By DAN KARELL
For the first 45 minutes of the match, neither Ghana nor Germany could break the deadlock. Just six minutes into the second half, the flood gates opened.
Starting with a goal scored by Mario Götze and ending with a record-breaking finish from Miroslav Klose, Germany and Ghana combined to score four times in a 20-minute span to break the game wide open. Both teams had more chances to score late in the half but Ghana held on to a 2-2 draw with Germany at the Estadio Castelao on Saturday in Fortaleza.
The result means that if the U.S. Men’s National Team defeat Portugal on Sunday, they would automatically qualify for a place in the knockout stages. For Germany and Ghana, it means that they won’t know their fate until the final day of group stage action.
The spectacular second half followed a somewhat sleepy first half, with both teams struggling to complete passes in their opposing box. Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer was called to action for a couple of long-range Ghanian efforts, while Germany failed to break down a resolute and disciplined Ghanian defensive unit.
Six minutes into the second half, Ghana’s defensive wall was finally breached. Thomas Müller, who had been quiet most of the game, floated to the right wing and curled in a dipping cross towards the penalty spot. Götze was the quickest to react to it and got his head on the cross, deflecting the shot off his left knee and in for a goal to put Germany in the lead.
The advantage didn’t last long, however, as Ghana hit back three minutes later. Ghanian right back Harrison Afful floated a cross to the far post. Andre Ayew, winning his 51st cap for the Black Stars, rose above substitute Germany defender Shkodran Mustafi and powered a header to tie the match at 1-1.
Incredibly, Ghana took control of the game’s momentum and capitalized on a sleepy German defense. Sully Muntari slipped a perfectly weighted pass through the German back four to Asamoah Gyan in the 63rd minute, and Gyan, one-on-one with Neuer, blasted a shot into the far corner to put the Black Stars in the lead.
Germany head coach Joachim Löw immediately went to his bench and made a double substitution, bringing on Bastian Schweinsteiger and Klose, and just seconds later, Klose announced his presence.
In the 71st minute, German midfielder Toni Kroos beautifully curled in an in-swinging corner kick to the top of the six yard box. Defender Benedikt Höwedes rose high and flicked a header to the far post. Klose, the wily poacher, arrived at the back post and re-directed the ball home to tie the match.
The goal made Klose the joint-top scorer in World Cup history with 15 goals, tying him with former Brazilian forward Ronaldo. Klose is also the third player in World Cup history to score at four different World Cups, joining Pele and former German forward Uwe Seeler.
Germany and Ghana each had late chances to find a winner. Mesut Özil combined well with Kroos and Schweinsteiger on a couple of occasions to open up space in the box but neither he nor his teammates could finish their opportunities. On the other side, Ghana broke on a 3-0n-2 breakaway but couldn’t keep their heads, being called back for an offside decision.