Another one of the death Groups contests 4 very hopeful sides in the World Cup this year. Germany have made the semifinals in every tournament since they hosted the World Cup. Portugal qualified because of a showing from Ballon D’Or Winner Cristiano Ronaldo, and he will hope to carry his form into the World Cup. Ghana made it into the quarterfinals in the World Cup 2010, and they will hope to bring out a similar performance. USA have a growing side that is based in a growing league. Can they carry their talent to the international stage for their continent?
Marco Reus tore a ligament in his ankle and will not be participating in the World Cup. His spot is being taken by centre back Shkodran Mustafi. Cristiano Ronaldo’s situation will be monitored and reported on the matchdays. Bastian Schweinsteiger and Manuel Neuer are also being monitored, but they will most likely play. Ilkay Gundogan, Sven Bender, Lars Bender, and Holger Badstuder have been held out of the Germany squad.
Germany has a star-studded squad that people consider the best at the tournament. Although they have suffered many injuries and cuts, many players will try and play their part in a side that consists mostly of players from the Bundesliga. Their side is supported by the current best goalkeeper in the world, Manuel Neuer, and the best fullback in the world, Philipp Lahm. They have 3 elite centre backs in Per Mertesacker, Jerome Boateng and Mats Hummels. Sami Khedira is the best defensive midfielder left after injuries, but is still one of the best in the world. Bastian Schweinsteiger and Toni Kroos will compete for a spot in the line, to fill the box-to-box role. Mesut Ozil is a fantastic player for his country, and netted a staggering amount of goals during qualifying. Without Marco Reus, Andre Schurrle, Lukas Podolski and Julian Draxler line up on the left. 2010 golden boot winner Thomas Muller and Bayern Munich superstar Mario Gotze complete this absolutely monstrous lineup. Will they succeed?
Portugal qualified after Russia beat them in the groups, and Ronaldo outscored Zlatan Ibrahimovic of Sweden 3-2 in the playoff round. Although this is the case, they still have many fantastic players in a disciplined, organized lineup. If they play as well as they did in Euro 2012, they will make at least the quarterfinals, if not for Belgium. Pepe and Rui Patricio are there to help from the back, as well as talented fullbacks Joao Pereira and Fabio Coentrao. Rising Star William Carvalho and the highly underrated Joao Moutinho boss the midfield, while out of form winger Nani joins star man and key cog Cristiano Ronaldo in the lineup. Make no mistakes, this lineup is good, and can go quite far if they want to.
Ghana made it all the way to the quarterfinals, and would’ve been in the semifinals of the 2010 World Cup, had they not run into a controversy with Uruguay. Their midfield is as formidable as any, and any team could challenge well with a midfield trio of Kevin-Prince Boateng, Kwadwo Asamoah and Michael Essien, who missed out in 2010 due to injury. Can they recreate the same form as in 2010 and take the step further?
USA is a growing team under manager Jurgen Klinsmann, and they are trying to get through a tough group. The German manager has opted to remove Landon Donovan, raising some questions about his decisions, but US look to be stable under him, and still have stars. Tim Howard is one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League, and Clint Dempsey set the Premier League alight in 2011-12. Michael Bradley is better than many European midfielders for big clubs, and he has transferred from Roma to Toronto FC.
Strengths by Position:
Manuel Neuer is the best goalkeeper in the World, but not the only great goalkeeper in the group. Tim Howard of the US is brilliant for Everton, and Rui Patricio doesn’t hit the headlines enough, as he plays in the Portuguese Liga ZON Sagres.
1. Manuel Neuer, Germany
2, Tim Howard, USA
3. Rui Patricio, Portugal
Philipp Lahm is the best fullback in the World on either flank, and he will be supported by either youngster Erik Durm, or Kevin Grosskreutz who can play anywhere on the pitch. Chances are he will be moved to defensive midfield to raise his impact even more. Joao Pereira is highly underrated for Portugal, and Fabio Coentrao recently won the Champions League with Real Madrid.
1. Philipp Lahm, Germany
2. Fabio Coentrao, Portugal
3. Joao Pereira, Portugal
4. Erik Durm/Kevin Grosskreutz, Germany
Jerome Boateng, Mats Hummels and Per Mertesacker are 3 of the best centre backs in the World for Germany, but the first 2 will likely start. Pepe is good for Portugal, and so is veteran Bruno Alves.
1. Mats Hummels, Germany
2. Pepe, Portugal
3. Jerome Boateng/Per Mertesacker, Germany
4. Bruno Alves, Portugal
The anchor position is for teams that use more attack than defence, or vice versa. Sami Khedira is fantastic here, but only if he recovers from injury. William Carvalho has some eye catching performances, and these have seen him linked with Manchester united and dubbed “the next Yaya Toure”. Ghana plays 2 box-to-box midfielders.
1. Sami Khedira, Germany
2. William Carvalho, Portugal
The engine box-to-box midfield position is the all action central midfielder of the team, contributing to defence and attack. Bastian Schweinsteiger was, not too long ago, the best in the World at this position, and if he can’t play due to injury, Toni Kroos will be almost as good in the role. Joao Moutinho will boss here in Portugal’s double anchor, and Michael Essien and Kwadwo Asamoah are also options with World Class upside. Michael Bradley makes the headlines for playing here too, and even though he plays further up for the USMNT, he will still have a box-to-box role in a Group that has tons of talent here.
1. Bastian Schweinsteiger/Toni Kroos, Germany
2. Joao Moutinho, Portugal
3. Kwadwo Asamoah, Ghana
4. Michael Bradley, USA
5. Michael Essien, Ghana
The attacking midfield position or the 10 is reserved for the players with either flair to spare or tons of technical ability and knowledge. Mesut Ozil stars here for Germany, and Kevin-Prince Boateng for Ghana.
1. Mesut Ozil, Germany
2. Kevin-Prince Boateng, Ghana
The wingers are the pace and attacking threats wide on the pitch. Marco Reus would’ve been a Ballon D’Or contender if he played here and Germany won the World Cup, but unfortunately he won’t. Thomas Muller won the golden boot in 2010, and Cristiano Ronaldo won the Ballon D’Or in 2013. Expect Manchester United misfit Nani and Lukas Podolski to do well here.
1. Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal
2. Thomas Muller, Germany
3. Lukas Podolski, Germany
4. Nani, Portugal
In Group G, there are many false nines. They play a withdrawn role to allow overlapping wingers and attacking midfielders. Mario Gotze will star here for Germany, and he will play when veteran Miroslav Klose doesn’t, as Klose searches to break the World Cup All-Time Goalscorers record. He needs 2 goals to complete the feat. Asamoah Gyan carries Ghana in this department, except in a traditional 9 role. Clint Dempsey is yet another false nine.
1. Mario Gotze/Miroslav Klose, Germany
2. Clint Dempsey, USA
3. Asamoah Gyan, Ghana
Germany vs Portugal:
Both teams will want to win the group to avoid a potential match against Belgium. There are many tactical battles in an exciting, attacking match for all.
Core: The battle here is Joao Moutinho, Miguel Veloso and William Carvalho against Sami Khedira, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Mesut Ozil. Germany win here, as Ozil’s creativity, Schweinsteiger’s work and Khedira’s stable play are a fulfilling combination.
German Left: Erik Durm shouldn’t have a huge problem with Nani, and Lukas Podolski and Joao Pereira is a good duel. Unless Nani is on form, Germany have the nod here.
Portuguese Left: If there is anyone in the world who can stop Cristiano Ronaldo, it is Philipp Lahm. Thomas Muller is challenged by Fabio Coentrao, but unfortunately not enough. This is close.
Germany destroy everywhere else.
Prediction: Germany 2-2 Portugal; Goals, Gotze, Ozil, Ronaldo, Moutinho; MOTM Ozil
False 9 experimentations for Germany will go more than well, but they won’t hit a home run just yet.
Ghana vs USA:
Ghana and USA are very close in quality, and both will want the win, as it is absolutely vital to the slim chances they both have of advancing.
Engine: Kwadwo Asamoah and Michael Bradley will duke it out here. Bradley is by himself, and Asamoah has some good ones around him. Ghana will win here.
Prediction: Ghana 1-1 USA; Goals, Gyan, Dempsey; MOTM Gyan
A star striker duo will end in a draw that leaves the group all even.
Germany vs Ghana:
The Boateng brothers meet in another World Cup showdown. Who will come out on top?
Ghana have a great squad but it is dwarfe by that of Germany’s across the pitch. Kevin-Prince Boaten could end up in a tactical battle with his brother, depending on Low’s use of the 4-2-3-1.
Prediction: Germany 2-0 Ghana; Goals, Muller, Ozil; MOTM Ozil
Ozil will be on fire. Germany will be close to eliminating Ghana.
Portugal vs USA:
Portugal win across the pitch, and a loss may put them in danger with Ghana. Ghana, who has 1 point, is set to play them next round of fixtures. Portugal’s Ronaldo will star, and he will spearhead Portugal to a tough win.
Prediction: Portugal 3-1 USA; Goals, Ronaldo (2), Postiga, Altidore; MOTM Ronaldo
In the current table, Portugal and Germany are tied with 4 and USA and Ghana are tied with 1.
USA vs Germany:
Germany need a win to try and secure 1st place, and USA can still advance with goal difference. Germany once again dwarf USA in tactical battles, as their completely world class lineup fits the bill.
Prediction: Germany 4-2 USA; Goals, Mueller, Gotze, Ozil, Podolski, Johansson, Bradley; MOTM Ozil
Mesut Ozil will exit the Group Stages with 3 goals, a tally that is currently matched by Cristiano Ronaldo, Edin Dzeko, Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez.
Portugal vs Ghana:
Portugal could lose to Ghana and surrender their spot in the Round of 16, or they could take it. Ghana have a good enough squad to put up a challenge in the final match of an exciting group.
Midfield: Miguel Veloso and William Carvalho won’t be able to stop Kwadwo Asamoah and Michael Essian, unless they are in good form. Essien needs to play very badly for his standards to lose to Miguel Veloso.
Portugal Defence: Bruno Alves and Pepe must beat Asamoah Gyan and KP Boateng. In a battle where Portugal should win, Ghana are very capable too.
Portugal are far better everywhere else.
Prediciton: Portugal 1-1 Ghana; Goals, Pepe, Gyan; MOTM Gyan
Portugal will do enough to advance, but not to win the Group. Germany take 1st and Portugal settle for 2nd.
Match Schedule For Group G (Eastern Time):
Germany vs Portugal: June 16 @ 12pm
USA vs Ghana: June 16 @ 6pm
Germany vs Ghana: June 21 @ 3pm
USA vs Portugal: June 22 @ 6pm
Germany vs USA: June 26 @ 12pm
Portugal vs Ghana: June 26 @ 12pm
Will Germany and Portugal advance? Although it is likely, the World Cup always has its twists and turns. We can be sure to have some great entertainment from Group G, and you can watch the World Cup and tune into my reports.