From Ground Zero: Ghana hold Germany, Iran give a scare to Argentina

Zee Media Bureau/ Shobhan Saxena from Rio de Janeiro

In the most exciting match of Group G so far, Germany and Ghana tied for 2-2 in the early evening of Saturday in Fortaleza. All the four goals were scored in the second half. One of the goals was scored by German striker Miroslav Klose, who now has 15 goals in World Cup, equaling Ronaldo’s record as the top scorer. Andre Ayew and A Gyan scored for Ghana. Earlier, Gotze had opened the score for the Germans.

With the draw result, the fate of both teams now rests on the final round of group stage matches. Germany, which thrashed Portugal 4-0 in their opening game, have 4 points and lead the group. Ghana, which were defeated by US in the first game, made their first point today. Now, they must beat Portugal in the final round and hope for Americans to lose to the Portuguese in their match in Manaus on next Sunday.

Besides the goals and speed of the game, the match in Fortaleza drew attention for the sheer physical force and very harsh marking done by two teams. Since the start of the match, Ghana proved to be much stiffer opponent than Portugal. Interestingly, both the teams employed similar tactics: when attacked, they put the whole team on defense, leaving one man to pull the counterattack. In a way, the game broke the aura of Germany being an unbeatable team.

The best chances in the first half were all made by the African team. Just after seven minutes of play, Muntari made good on the right to launch Atsu, who crossed low for Gyan but the veteran kicked too high. In the first half, Germany did not show the same efficiency.

The second half of the game put the pitch on fire, with both teams slamming two goals each. At one stage, after a beauty of a goal by Gyan, the African team was leading 2-1 and it seemed that the game would be one of the biggest upsets of this World Cup. But Klose brought the Germans back in the game with his goal. But it was a moral victory for Ghana.

Earlier in the day, another game almost ended in an upset as Iran gave enough trouble to Argentina and almost scored at least on a couple of occasions. After a lackluster opening game against Bosnia last week, this was a chance for Argentina to show its firepower. But the Asian country made its best start in World Championships and almost scored a couple of goals, despite being denied a clear penalty. The Iranians also managed to keep Messi quiet for 90 minutes of the game, but in a brilliant move, the player scored a great goal in the 91st minute. The final score read: 1-0.

But the game exposed how much Argentina were dependent on the brilliance of one player. Also, Argentina survived a major scare thanks to their goalkeeper Romero, who performed two miracles in the second half.

It was a game of defense against attack, with Argentina looking to score in every way and Iran holding on as much as they could. The South Americans tried everything but had no success in the first half. The unbelievable happened in the second half. Iran suddenly went into the attack mode and created the best opportunities. There were two clear chances, but both saved by Romero. As they became nervous, Argentina fumbled in attack and took little risk. In the final minutes, it seemed the game was heading for a draw but Messi stole the game for his team with a great goal.

In the final game of Day 10, Nigeria defeated Bosnia by 1-0 on Saturday night in the Pantanal Arena. With the win, the African team reached four points in Group F, which already has Argentina with six points. In the last round of the first phase, Nigerians need a draw against the Argentines to reach the quarter-final of the World Cup, regardless of the outcome of Iran-Bosnia game. Bosnia is already eliminated.

For Nigeria, the goal was scored by Odemwingie, in the first half of the game. Bosnia did not create many chances, whatever attempts they made at the Nigerian goal were blocked by goalkeeper Enyeama.

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