Saturday, June 21, 2014

Ghana 2, Germany 2 in 2014 Fifa World Cup

Germany played with caution showing some tactical superiority by winning the midfield battles and taking the game to the Ghanaians. The Black Stars the game started well with good wing play and creating half chances. It was their defending that was not well defined as they gave much space for their opponents to play. The marking was not at its best and there were too many players in front of play. The midfield played very square and failed to press as much as they should.

The Africans stayed too long on the ball and did not release the balls early. Play was too causal and allowed Germany to go a little easy without suffering any losses. They let Ghana came at them with the hope of springing a counter attack as there were spaces in midfield and defence. There was not much effort by Ghana to get manpower behind the ball in the centre of the park. This loaded the defence as they found themselves stretched.

It was a different kettle of fish in the second half as Thomas Muller set Mario Gotze with a pass through the porous central defence. Gotze finished off that pass with a header to his knee and the ball tricked the Orlando Pirates goalkeeper into the net. The ball came from the right side of midfield could have been cleared by the first defender. Muller was not pressed as he supplied the ball and the central defenders were too far apart.

It became a tight match and Ghana threw everything at the Europeans. A few passes outside the penalty area and then a ball wide found Afful who crossed the ball for Andre Ayew. The Ghanaian out jumped the German substitute to head the ball past Neur. The marking was bad while the heading technique was superb as the ball was directed low and away from the central position away from the goalkeeper.

Ghana went for the kill. Sully Muntari intercepted the ball in midfield and quickly set Asamoah Gyan on his way. Gyan controlled the ball well, beat his marker and with the inside of the foot, played the ball past the diving Neur. From that point onwards, the Africans poured forward and fluffed chance after chance, Jordan Ayew making a good run on the left and his tame shot was save. There was a counter attack where the German defence could have conceded as the Ghana attack forced a five versus two, but the decision-making on the delivery of the final ball was horrible.

The marking by Africans became sloppy, that usual false sense of security resulted in loss of concentration. As much as the numbers behind the ball improved, there was lack of pressing in midfield. The German substitutes found spaces to run into, had time on the ball to pass and shoot. In one particular moment that mattered the most, Schwansteiger had room to do as he pleased. He found Ozil on the left and the Arsenal man crossed the ball without anyone charging. That ball was headed out for a corner by Jonathan Mensah. The resultant corner kick was flicked by Hummels to the far post for Miroslov Klose to score the vital equaliser with an outstretched right foot.   

The defence of the African team got stretched more and more as the midfield job worsened in performance. That caused the central defenders share the man-of-the-match performance, as they had to be on overdrive to cope with the marauding Germans. The pair threw their bodies on the line and conceded several corner kicks, the weakness of African teams. The German finishing was not at its best and the Africans were not going to complain about it.