Ghana vs. Portugal (Group G) | Kickoff: 6/26, 12 p.m. ET | Stadium: Mane Garrincha
Match Preview: As important as the United States’ game with Germany is Thursday, this one is just as meaningful.
Ghana and Portugal are both battling to catch the US and Germany, each of whom are sitting a four points. Therefore, a draw does nothing for either side. There must be a result.
And for Portugal, it must be definitive, as they trail the US by five in goal differential, while Ghana is just down two. It’s also possible that the winner here wins the group, though that is highly unlikely.
So, in short, this should be a wide open game between two sides loaded with talent. Of course Cristiano Ronaldo’s health is still something of a question mark, but he was plenty effective against the US on Sunday, sending in a perfect cross during extra time that set up the game-tying score.
Ghana experienced some success against Germany after their opening loss to the US, and they’re in the best position to move through. Of course they’ll need some help from Germany and some luck, as the US locks up the second spot with a win or draw.
If you’re a fan of the US side, this one should make you nervous. Portugal has shown they can fall apart, as they did against Germany, and Ghana has an attack capable of pouring in goals. The best you can hope for is the US takes care of its own business, thus rendering this game meaningless.
PORTO SEGURO, Brazil (KDKA/AP) – There won’t be friendly phone calls, there won’t be any dirty deals. That’s the promise from both sides ahead of Germany’s final Group G match against the United States.
A draw on Thursday in Recife would see both teams advance to the knockout stage at the expense of Portugal and Ghana, who play at the same time in Brasilia.
Both sides have been answering questions about a possible conspiracy, or as the Germans call it, a “non-aggression pact,” and both have sharply rejected any suggestions of a deal.
No wonder the questions are being asked, since the Germans were jointly responsible for one of the more shameful episodes in World Cup history. Germany scored after 10 minutes against Austria at the 1982 World Cup in Gijon, Spain, and the two teams just knocked the ball around for the next 80 minutes since the outcome guaranteed a slot in the next round for both. It also eliminated Algeria, which had stunned Germany 2-1 in their opener.
After that match, FIFA made sure that final group matches are played simultaneously, to reduce the possibility of a `gentlemen’s agreement.’
Germany and the United States are linked in many ways. Five players on the U.S. team have American fathers and German mothers, with four of them playing in the Bundesliga.
U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann was a star of the Germany team that won the last of its three World Cup titles in 1990. He also scored when the two teams last met in the group sage of a World Cup, a 2-0 victory for Germany at the 1998 tournament in France.
In 2006 at home, Klinsmann guided Germany to a third-place finish as coach, with assistant Joachim Loew, who is now Germany’s coach. Berti Vogts, one of Klinsmann’s staff, was the coach of Germany when it won its last title, the 1996 European Championship.
Loew and Klinsmann remain good friends, but Loew has said he would not be talking to Klinsmann during the tournament.
Klinsmann too has dismissed any collusion.
“I don’t think that we are made for draws, really, except if it happens like tonight – two late goals, last seconds,” Klinsmann said after his team’s 2-2 draw with Portugal, which scored deep into stoppage time. “I think both teams go into this game and they want to win the group.”
“You’re talking about a game (in Gijon) that is decades away that is only part of the Germany history and not the United States,” Klinsmann said. “The United States is known to give everything they have in every single game. … We have that fighting spirit. We have that energy and that determination to do well in every single game.”
The German camp was equally indignant about any suggestions of a fix.
“It would be highly unsportsmanlike and unfair to other teams if anyone on the pitch had such thoughts,” defender Mats Hummels said.
Assistant coach Hansi Flick said Germany “wanted to win the match and finish first in the group.”
Germany and the United States both have four points, while Ghana and Portugal have one each. Both Germany and the U.S. could even afford to lose and still advance, depending on the outcome of the other match. Germany has an edge because of its superior goal difference (+4) over the Americans (+1).
Hummels said he was surprised by the quality of the U.S. team’s play at the World Cup.
“They are playing a very good tournament. I did not expect them to be so strong. They beat us last year 4-3 (in a friendly) and clearly they are a good team,” Hummels said.
Former Major League Soccer player, and CBS News consultant Jimmy Conrad joined “The KDKA Morning News” with Larry Richert and John Shumway from Brazil to preview today’s match.
Conrad says it has been raining non-stop.
“It should make for a different game, it could slow it down a little bit,” says Conrad.
He added they wouldn’t call the game, but it could be delayed due to rain.
Soccer has gained a lot of fans this World Cup and Conrad says American’s in Brazil are excited for the match.
“The sport is growing. If you look back at the past, baseball