Germany beat USA 1-0 on a rain-soaked day in Recife, a result that takes both sides through from a hugely competitive Group G at the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil, Fifa.com reports.
A 2-1 win for Portugal over Ghana in the section’s other game was enough to push both the Americans and Germans through on four and seven points respectively. The final whistle brought a joint celebration from the teams on the pitch at the Arena Pernambuco.
The Germans dominated the opening quarter-hour. The European giants pressed forward with power and speed, perhaps eager to squash suspicion that both sides would play for a mutually-beneficial draw. Jerome Boateng flew up the right side and the early plan of attack become clear for the Mannschaft: isolate US left-back DaMarcus Beasley.
The only remaining USA veteran of the famous quarter-final game in Ulsan at Korea/Japan 2002, the one-time flying winger is now a defender and one-on-one defending is not his strong suit. A number of dangerous crosses came from Beasley’s side in the early going before he came to grips with the game.
USA had very little possession of the ball in the first-half and they were clearly set up to break on the counter-attack. Their best chance came in the 22nd minute. Brad Davis, the MLS set-piece specialist with Houston Dynamo, was playing in his first-ever World Cup game and he rewarded the faith Jurgen Klinsmann showed in him when he raced across the pitch from right to left and fed the ball to Graham Zusi.
The pony-tailed winger’s wicked curling shot from the edge of the area stretched Manuel Neuer but kept rising over the bar.
USA coach Klinsmann is not afraid to shake things up. He’s chopped and changed his side in every game here in Brazil and the man who won the World Cup as a player with Germany in 1990 and coached them in 2006, turned to a new centre-back for this crucial fixture. Omar Gonzalez had played only one minute in the Stars and Stripes’ two games, but he started this one. His headed intervention early in the second-half denied a clear scoring chance for substitute Miroslav Klose at the back post.
But Gonzalez, despite being a full stretch, could do nothing about the German goal in the 55th minute. US keeper Tim Howard denied a header from Benedikt Howedes, but his punch found the feet of Thomas Muller who curled his effort home for his fourth goal of the finals.
USA finish second in the group and will now meet the winner of Group H, likely to be Belgium at this point, in the Round of 16. The group-winning Germans take on the second-place finisher from that same section.
Despite losing to a Muller goal, Portugal's 2-1 win over Ghana means that USA clinch second spot in Group G on goal difference. Germany of course advance as group winners.
90' + 4' Dempsey cracks a header narrowly over the top of the bar and that's it! The referee blows the final whistle and USA join Germany in the next round!
90' + 3' MAGNIFICENT BLOCK BY LAHM! The captain comes up large to thwart a potentially critical USA attack! Yedlin's ball into the centre was touched on by Jones and Dempsey seemed set to curl it into the bottom corner, but Lahm slides in to get rid of the ball at the very last![object Object]
90' A rather pointless four minutes of added time are to be tacked on to this match. The result has not been in any doubt for a long while now. Same story in the other game, with a three goal swing required in the last few minutes to cause any miracle.
89' Substitution Mesut Özil OUT, Andre Schürrle IN
89' Substitution Mesut Özil Andre Schürrle
88' Beasley is pulled back for tussling with Muller, to the complete aggravation of the USA left back. The referee thought about playing the advantage for one second but decided against it. Germany finally get permission to make their change, with Schurrle replacing Ozil.
86' Looks like Portugal have really done USA a solid. In fact, the Americans have a chance to snatch an unlikely equaliser as Dempsey is fed in a promising position by Yedlin, but he can't put the final ball in the path of Bedoya and the opportunity evaporates.
84' Substitution: Graham Zusi OUT, DeAndre Yedlin IN
84' USA make sub, with Zusi making way for DeAndre Yedlin. Germany prepare to make a change of their own, with Schurrle looking to come on. Word is that Muller is the man set to depart.
83' It almost seems like matters on the pitch here in the Arena Pernambuco are of little consequence any more. Both teams seemed to have resigned themselves to the result. With less than 10 minutes remaining in the other game, Portugal need three goals or Ghana need to score twice for the USA to be in danger. The Americans look to be home free.
81' Howedes sheepishly attempts to beat Howard at his near post with a 20 yard attempt, but it's nothing more than a daisy cutter. Meanwhile, BIG NEWS coming in from the other game - Portugal have taken the lead against Ghana! Huge sigh of relief going around the ground for the USA fans!
79' Bedoya and Jones by the way are thankfully back on the pitch. Jones certainly seemed to take the worst in their collision and he did need further attention on the touchline for a minute or two. Still 1-1 between Portugal and Ghana in the other Group G match.
77' Second sub from Jogi Low, who takes off Schweinsteiger to a warm reception from the German fans. He really provided a stabilizing influence throughout this game - though he won't be happy with some of the treatment he received from the likes of Beckerman and Jones. On comes Gotze.
76' Substitution Bastian Schweinsteiger Mario Götze
75' Oof, that had to hurt. Bedoya and Jones both lose sight of each other in their haste to get to the ball and they both collide with a sickening THUD on the edge of the area. Play is stopped immediately for the pair to get looked after by the American physios.
73' After an interlude, the rain has come back with a vengeance. Clint Dempsey takes a blow in the face in a challenge with Hummels - a completely accidental bit of contact, mind. It was still enough to send the USA forward rolling in the turf. No action from the referee.
71' There's an American player down injured as Germany storm forward on the counter. Ozil touches a soft pass into the stride of Schweinsteiger and he spots Klose darting behind the defence into the box. He tries to sidefoot the ball into his path, but Besler makes an important interception!
69' Turning into a real midfield scrap as we enter the final leg of this game. Jones, as ever, is relishing the rough and tumble and he's making it uncomfortable for Schweinsteiger and especially Lahm in the centre of the park. Surprising he hasn't been booked yet though.
67' For a second there was a great opening for Klinsmann's team with both Jones and Zusi bursting into space, but Dempsey can't exploit the lapse in the German ranks as his attempted killer pass goes out toothlessly for a throw in. Poor execution from Deuce.
65' Dangerous times here for USA. As it stands, they are set to advance alongside Germany, but one more goal for Ghana and the Americans are bumped off second place. Ghana will move into second on goals scored should they strike again against Portugal. And if USA concede more goals here, it gets even murkier for them.
63' No surprise to see Beckerman pick up a yellow card. He's been nipping at German heels all game and after his latest infraction, the referee has decided that he's had enough.
62' Yellow Card for Kyle Beckerman
62' Germany tried to tie that move up with too cute of a bow. Schweinsteiger and Ozil exchange passes inside the area. The Arsenal man's return ball to his Bayern teammate seemed a perfect one to have a go from, but instead, Schweinsteiger tries to flick it back to no one in particular.
60' Bedoya nearly sets a record for shortest ever booking time for a substitute. He nearly takes a chunk out of Lahm's ankle, which draws the ire of the referee. However, he avoids a yellow card, instead getting what is sure to be an early final warning for his challenge.
59' Substitution: Brad Davis OUT, Alejandro Bedoya IN
59' Brad Davis trudges off after what can only be described as a peripheral game here in Recife. He is replaced by Alejandro Bedoya, who was cut from USA's World Cup squad four years ago and dropped to the bench for this game following the draw against Portugal.
57' Nine World Cup goals in nine games now for Muller. He now moves level with Messi and Neymar as the top scorers in Brazil. USA were looking over their shoulders nervously for a second, and their fears are heightened with the news that Ghana have made it 1-1 against Portugal.
55' Goal: Thomas Müller
An excellently taken goal! From Ozil's corner, Mertesacker's header draws a save off Howard. The Everton keeper does well to get the ball outside the box, but only Muller is there to attack the rebound. And attack it he does, drilling a shot with unerring accuracy into the bottom corner!
55' GERMANY ARE IN FRONT!
54' It's simply been all Germany since the restart. USA literally haven't gotten the ball out of their own half for more than a few seconds. In fact, their most notable moment comes when Bradley again escapes justice for a crunching tackle on Lahm. Surely his final infraction?
52' THERE WE GO! Nearly the opener for Klose! The German substitute just about edges past the USA offside trap to connect on a header from Lahm's delivery, but he can't find the target from a splendid position! That should have been in the back of the net!
50' Germany have assumed the possession mantle as expected, but we're not seeing anything that would suggest a goal is in the offing. Klose's introduction has given them a genuine and permanent target in the box to aim for though and we may see them switch to a more direct approach.
48' GONZALEZ AGAIN! For the third time this evening, the centre back pulls off a magnificent piece of defending. Boateng's cross seems destined for the head of Klose, but the defender comes in from the weak side to squeeze his forehead in first to nick the ball away from danger!
47' One change to report at the break. Jogi Low has hauled off Podolski, who was rather anonymous throughout that first half. In his place come Miroslav Klose, who is one goal away from overtaking Ronaldo and becoming the outright all time leading scorer in World Cup history.
46' Substitution: Lukas Podolski OUT, Miroslav Klose IN
46' Here we go again!
Portugal lead 1-0 against Ghana in the other Group G match, but the USA shouldn't be too worried unless the Seleccao squeeze in another four goals in the second half. As it stands, Germany first and USA second in the group.
There's been chances at both ends, with Ozil drawing a save off Howard (from a position where the keeper should have had no chance, mind), and Zusi missing the top corner by a hair. But neither team seemed too fussed with their lack of ruthlessness and again, it's fairly obvious why.
Germany started with a flourish, keeping the USA pinned around their own box. However, they were unable to cash in that dominance onto the scoresheet and as time went by, the Americans grew into the game.
It's not been the snooze fest that some have feared but then again, it's hardly gotten the adrenaline flowing either. Both teams only need a draw, so little surprise I guess to see it goalless at the break.
45' + 1' After a very uneventful minute of added time, the referee has had enough for one half.
45' The whistles rain down from the stands as Bradley is given a final warning for sliding in on Muller. Replays show that he got the ball first, but he did lead with his studs. Fair warning. Jones has a complaint of his own that goes unheeded - he appeared to be upended by Schweinsteiger.
43'Looking increasingly like a stalemate at the break. A really terrible breakdown in communication between Schweinsteiger and Podolski sees the latter sprint towards the byeline when the former intended for him to pull up short to collect the pass. Schweinsteiger pokes the ball right out for a throw in.
41' They needn't have bothered as the ball is cooked clean over the head of Bradley at the far post, almost going out for a throw on the opposite side. He's hardly the man you want competing for headers, particularly against the imposing figure of Hummels. Goalkick to come for Germany.
40' Five minutes to go until the break and we're no closer to a breakthrough. Germany have flirted with an opener on occasion but there really hasn't been the conviction and ruthlessness from them in the final reckoning. Right now though, they have a corner to defend.
38' Lightning doesn't strike twice though, as USA give up a yellow card on their very next defensive play. Schweinsteiger was simply dragged to the turf by Gonzalez in plain view of the referee, who books the defender without hesitation. Guess you can't win 'em all.
37' Yellow Card for Omar Gonzalez
37 'Johnson laps up the ball at the expense of Kroos right on the edge of the box. The referee had a long look at that but decided to let play continue. Great decision from the match official as Johnson tackled the ball cleanly, despite the protests of the German contingent on the touchline.
36' OZIL THWARTED BY HOWARD! Germany pull a great move out of the bag. Ozil drifts in almost unnoticed from the left flank and shimmies deftly to leave Gonzalez stranded. He has only Howard to beat but as we've seen before, his finish lacks the requisite power and the Everton keeper is able to parry.
34' It's been a much more even game since that opening 10 minute onslaught from the Germans around the USA penalty area. Credit must go to the men in white for asserting their own passing game on the opposition. Still no concrete signs of a breakthrough for either side yet though.
32' Possibilities abound on the counter for USA as Bradley spots the backline camped a little too high up for comfort. Jones goes streaming through the centre. It's an excellent run and he's inches away from touching the ball over the onrushing Neuer. As it was though, the keeper just about got there first.
30' Kroos decides to keep Howard on his toes with a tester from 20 yards that the Everton goalkeeper is perfectly positioned to smother at the second attempt. News coming in that Portugal have taken the lead against Ghana - a scoreline which still doesn't affect the chances of either side here as things stand.
28' The ref takes centre stage in exactly the wrong way as far as USA are concerned. Johnson had made an excellent run down the right and was poised to swing the ball in, but Jones, in the centre of the box, was rear-ended accidentally by the Uzbek official. He smiles sheepishly at his mistake but somehow I doubt that the Americans share his sense of humour too much.
26' Germany do have a sterling record at closing out group stage campaigns. They've won their last group game five times in a row, not conceding a goal in their last four to boot. Still, they're not been at their absolute best so far. USA are growing into the match with every passing minute.
24' So the best offensive move of the game belongs to the Americans! They showed on that play that they may yet have a few tricks up their sleeves when it comes to breaking down die Mannschaft's ranks at the back. Surprising to see Germany offer up so much space on that sequence!
22' JUST OVER THE TOP! A lovely attacking sequence from USA orchestrated by Michael Bradley! The Toronto FC man links passes left and right to keep Germany guessing, before spreading it left to Zusi, who cuts onto his opposite foot to lash an effort narrowly shy of the top corner!
20' So 20 minutes gone and the United States have just about held Germany at arms length. There's been plenty of huffing and puffing around the American penalty area, but so far, Howard and Gonzalez have kept the house standing. Klinsmann should be relatively satisfied with the display so far.
18' Beckerman is perhaps lucky to escape further retribution as he appeared to haul down Schweinsteiger completely off the ball on a German attack. The referee had a word with his assistant via his earpiece, but decided against penalizing the dreadlocked midfielder.
17' GONZALEZ COMES UP LARGE AGAIN! Two clutch tackles in two minutes from the defender! Once again, he slides in to crunch the ball away from Muller from almost the same position. He's started today in place of Cameron and looks to be a shrewd pick already.
15' MULLER DENIED! Excellent tackle from Gonzalez, who slid in at the near post to stop the Bayern man from turning home! It was an all Bayern party that set up that chance, with Muller and Lahm exchanging a one-two before spreading wide to Boateng, who put the cross back on a plate.
13' Look at this! USA reverse the script and force die Mannschaft to warily watch them ping the ball around in the final third! It's gotten the American fans off their seats to cheer the unexpected turn in fortunes. It doesn't last long though, as Dempsey coughs up the ball to Schweinsteiger.
11' Yellow Card for Benedikt Höwedes
11' Howedes goes in with a desperate lunge on Johnson, who was about to burst forward towards the box. He forces the referee to show him the first yellow card of the game. Incredibly, that booking also registers as Germany's first of the tournament so far!
10' Germany continue to swarm all over USA and for the second time, Tim Howard displays exemplary handling to smother a potentially dangerous low cross ahead of interested German parties. Going to be a tricky night for keepers with the conditions on hand!
8' USA have nine men prowling the zone just in front of their area. That's forcing Germany to play it safe for the moment and look for gaps to exploit, which look most likely to occur from the flanks. Poor Dempsey, it's like he hasn't been invited to the party.
6' Excellent atmosphere inside the Arena Pernambuco despite the conditions. Indeed, most of these fans have taken to the rain like, excuse me, ducks to water. Plenty of singing and dancing to be had. Who said that this was just a glorified friendly?
4' Germany dominating all of the possession since the first whistle. I don't think that USA have gotten the ball out of their own half as yet. Klinsmann must surely be concerned with the ease with which his birth nation are able to feed their men on the flanks.
2' Germany do well to force an early statement of intent. Muller misses Boateng's cross with an acrobatic attempt, but that only sees the ball through to Podolski on the left side. He was in so much space that he could have afforded to take a touch, but as ever, he decides to smash first, ask questions later. This time, he clears the crossbar comfortably.
1' Here we go then!
Commentary: Goal dot com