So maybe this second-game syndrome really does exist for Germany. Die Mannschaft have now only won the second match of a World Cup just once in the last six tournaments (1-1-4) after Saturday afternoon's 2-2 draw at the Estadio Castelao in Fortaleza.
After a lackluster, scoreless first half, the teams traded two goals each after the break in a see-saw battle -- the Germans opened the scoring but then had to come back to tie it up -- which leaves both Germany (4 pts) and Ghana (1 pt) with all to play for in the final matchday.
How's it feel, Germany? HOW'S IT FEEL?! http://t.co/270bUOhCo5— Maxi Rodriguez (@FutbolIntellect) June 21, 2014
RECORD MEN: The hero of the match for the Germans was 36-year-old Miroslav Klose, who scored the 2-2 equalizer just two minutes after coming on the field. But more importantly, by cleaning up a flicked-on corner at the back post in the 71st minute (WATCH IT HERE), Klose tied Brazilian great Ronaldo for the most goals by any player in World Cup history (15).
TAKING THE TEMPERATURE: Why the slight drop in German performance from the 4-0 win over Portugal? The 70 degrees may not have been the problem in Fortaleza, Brazil. But the 96 percent humidity probably was. When the sun went down in the second half the rhythm picked up, but the game was often played at Matrix super-slomo pace in the opening 45.
ALL-PURPOSE PLAYER: Apart from a handful of pretty Mesut Ozil through passes, the best play by a German player was the perfectly weighted Thomas Muller cross for Mario Gotze, who still manage to bumble it, by heading the ball off his knee to open the scoring (WATCH IT HERE).
GERMANY'S ACHILLES HEEL: The USA will have taken note of just how soft the German back line looked on both Ghana goals. Two defenders, Shkodran Mustafi and Per Mertesacker allowed Andre Ayew an uncontested header in the 54th minute (WATCH IT HERE). And then Gyan sliced open the centerbacks on his goal-scoring run. But it wasn't just the goals: Germany looked vulnerable throughout.
GROUP G IMPLICATIONS: The draw means that Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal will be eliminated with a loss against the USA on Sunday. Meanwhile, the Americans saw their hopes of advancing slightly improved, although a Germany win would have clearly been preferred.
BROTHERS FROM ANOTHER MOTHER: Many were looking forward to half-brothers Jerome Boateng (Germany) and Kevin-Prince Boateng (Ghana) match-up after both were given the start. They actually went head-to-head on the field at different times, but neither finished the game. Jerome was yanked at halftime and Prince went 53 minutes.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Sulley Muntari, Ghana. He had his hands full against a star-studded three-man central midfield of Philipp Lahm, Sami Khedira and Toni Kroos but he singlehandledly made sure Ghana weren't overwhelmed by them. And he picked off a ball to get the assist on Ghana's second goal. The only blemish? He was shown a late yellow which means he'll miss the finale vs. Portugal.