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Germany player ratings vs Ghana

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Manuel Neuer (7): Not the most assured performance from the Schalke stopper. Looked unusually nervous on a number of occasions and messed up a corner. Made a big stop though to redeem himself.

Phillip Lahm (8): Probably the best German player on the night. Bailed out the defence on a number of occasions. Not really an attacking threat going up front though, except a few occassions.

Jerome Boateng (7): A lot more solid than Holger Badstuber. Held up on the left very ably. But attack wise struggled to make much of an impact since he had to consistently check back on his right foot.

Per Mertesacker (4): Awful performance from the Werder stopper. Lost numerous challenges in the air and his positioning was suspect throughout. Really needs to pick up his form.

Arne Friedrich (7.5): Bailed out Mertesacker on a number of occasions. Started moves by confidently moving the ball into midfield. Has really grown into this central defensive role.

Bastian Schweinsteiger (8): Swiftly developing into a midfield maestro. Schweinsteiger was cool and composed in possession, swift and deadly in the tackle and controlled the pace of the game, with his almost faultless distribution. Man of the match

Sami Khedira (6.5): As seems his forte, put in a lot of legwork in midfield. Ran up and down the pitch, covered the most ground and make intelligent forays. Needs to be imposing himself more into games and taking control, but that might be an unfair comparison with Michael Ballack.

Lukas Podolski (5.5): Quite shocking from Podolski. Was almost a black-hole in possession and made countless wrong choices; shooting when he should have passed and running when he should have shot. Put in zero crosses, although that might also be a consequent of Germany not playing a traditional center-forward. His 90 minutes on the pitch is a mystery.

Thomas Mueller (7): Not as effective as in the Australia match, but still had numerous bright moments and delivered when the going got tough. Made the pass for the Oezil goal and looked to make things happen. Put in a few decent crosses as well.

Mesut Oezil (7): Despite his absolutely wonderful goal, Oezil often struggled to impose himself in this game as he tried to free the shackles imposed by the Ghana midfield trio. Missed a glaring one-on-one chance, but redeemed himself later with a goal to savor.

Cacau (6.5): Worked his socks off and made several intelligent runs. But not the same threat with his movement as Miroslav Klose is, but that is mostly down to him being more of a second striker than a leading the line player.

Written by quazi zulquarnain

June 24, 2010 at 9:33 am

Posted in World Cup 2010

Tagged with , , ,

Win tempered by injuries; Ingurland next

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A 'Mesut' Oezil

Germany kept their record of never having failed to make it out of the first round in a World Cup with a nervy 1-0 win over Ghana at Johannesburg yesterday. A fantastic strike from Werder Bremen midfielder Mesut Oezil ensured qualification for the Germans, in an entertaining end to end game that petered out in the final 15 minutes as both sides accepted the scoreline.

The win sees a humdinger of a clash in the second round as Germany will face of against England on Sunday. The game has all the makings of a classic after England struggled through to round two courtesy of a Jermain Defoe goal that saw them edge out Slovenia. England might have finished top of the group and hence avoided the Germany clash, but Landon Donovan’s late strike against Algeria meant that the US grabbed top spot and arguably a much easier passage to the semifinals.

The English may be wounded and under pressure, but it would be folly to underestimate a team stacked with talent and the tactical acumen of Fabio Capello. Germany will be very much the underdogs in the encounter, and even more so after the Ghana win was tempered by the news that three of the best performers on the night may have picked up injuries.

If either of Mesut Oezil, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Jerome Boateng fail to make Sunday’s game, it will be an already uphill battle for a very youthful Germany side. After having lost nearly half a dozen central midfielders even before the tournament began, Bastian Schweinsteiger’s loss will be Germany’s biggest worry.

The one-time winger, now excels in central midfield and is absolutely the heartbeat for this side. He control possession, distributes from the back and sets the pace of the game. And the worse thing is, that Germany do not have any viable alternatives in his position. Toni Kroos, who came on in his place is more of an attacking midfielder and an alternative to Oezil than to Schweinsteiger.

Bastian's fitness is key

Oezil’s injury might be even more of a headache. Oezil is the man who provides the X factor for this Germany side, and his role oscillating between the midfield and forward line makes him difficult to pick up and thus hard to stop.

And while Boateng can be ably replaced by Holger Badstuber, the Bayern Munich man is not a left-back. Hence, while he may hold his own against James Milner, he does not have the pace to cope with fast direct wingers like Aaron Lennon, as the game with Serbia showcased.

Their are other problems for Germany. Per Mertesacker had an absolute shocker in the center of defence and players like Wayne Rooney might have a field day against him. He really needs to pick up his socks.

All in all though, a victory sees Germany top a relatively difficult group, and that is more than England managed. Going by that alone, this Germany side should have no fears. They have nothing at all to lose, whereas England can throw it all away.

Sunday cannot come soon enough.

Written by quazi zulquarnain

June 24, 2010 at 8:08 am