With less than 10 days to go for the World Cup to kick off, we take a look at Group G, that has some of the big names in the game.
Germany are one of those teams that you always expect to do well, no matter which tournament it is and whom they are playing against. In almost every World Cup, they have fared really well, especially in the last 3 tournaments, notching a 2nd place, 3rd place and 3rd place respectively. In fact, Germany has the record for the most third place finishes in the World Cup, with as many as 4. While that shows the strength of the country in terms of football prowess, it also demonstrates a case of choking when it matters, with recent performances in the Euro demonstrating the same. The Germans will certainly hope that this year they will get over this psychological obstacle and finish as champions.
Portugal have had some really big names throughout their history, but unfortunately for them, there has never been a factory of them produced at one time. Starting with Eusebio to the more recent Luis Figo and Cristiano Ronaldo, it has always been one or two players who have carried the flag for the team. It will be no different this time as manager Paulo Bento will look towards Ronaldo to be the inspiration and creative spark for the team in the tournament.
With a memorable performance in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, where only the hand of Luis Suarez kept them away from a place in the semifinals, Ghana will once again look to make a mark in this tournament. They had a relatively easy qualifying campaign, having finished comfortably on top of their group. However, passage to the knockout rounds will not be as straightforward, as they look to get one or two shock results in their group to progress further in the tournament. But they will need to have the likes of Michael Essien, Asamoah Gyan and Kevin-Prince Boateng to step up for them to have a chance.
Being led by German Jurgen Klinsmann, who led his home country to a 3rd place finish in the 2006 World Cup, team USA would certainly back themselves to try and qualify from what can be called a tough group. However, they’ll have to face their bogey team of the last 2 World Cups, Ghana, as well as the super efficient Germans and a Cristiano Ronaldo inspired Portugal. If they do manage to qualify from this group, it will be nothing short of a miracle.
Matches to look forward to
Germany vs Portugal
Former Real Madrid teammates Mesut Ozil and Cristiano Ronaldo will square off against each other, with both being the main creative spark of their respective teams. Germany have only one striker in their ranks in the ageing Miroslav Klose, but will certainly have goal scoring threats in the form of Lukas Podolski, Andre Schurrle and Mario Gotze. Portugal will be hoping Cristiano Ronaldo will get some quality service from the likes of Nani to pose a threat to an arguably shaky German defence.
Ghana vs USA
Ghana have tasted success against team USA in the last 2 World Cups, being the cause for Uncle Sam to be knocked out of both tournaments. The Americans would certainly be looking to exact some revenge, and in the process also stake a claim to a place in the top 2 in the group. However, as Ghana has shown in the previous World Cup, they are not to be taken lightly and will be confident of getting a result yet again against USA, making this an intriguing contest.
Players to watch out for
Cristiano Ronaldo – It is obvious that all eyes will be on the Madrid superstar, considering that not only was he awarded the Ballon d’Or this time round, but also the fact that if wants to cement his place in the legends of the game, a good showing in the World Cup is important. He will have this in the back of his mind, and we are sure to see a fired up Ronaldo ready to light up the tournament in Brazil.
Mesut Ozil – After having what was deemed a poor season for Arsenal by many a pundit, Mesut Ozil will be keen to prove his detractors wrong. Having won the FA Cup with his club, and thereby helping end a 9 year wait for the team, he would be filled with confidence coming into the tournament. But if his showing in the friendly against Cameroon is anything to go by, he will need to quickly find his passing range to be a success in the tournament.
Germany – 9
Portugal – 6
Ghana – 3
USA – 0
Read about the other groups here!