Oh Group G, you mad and lovely kitten, how we’ll miss you. Germany and the USA both have 4 points but neither can relax, with the result of Ghana v Portugal as wonderfully unpredictable as every game in this pool has been.
Germany were flattered by the Portuguese self-disembowelling in front of them in their opening game. As they cruised to a 4-0 win against ten men, whispers began about them winning the tournament, and about hat-trick hero Thomas Mueller once again topping the tournament goals chart.
Then enter Ghana in the heat of Fortaleza, carving open that all-centre-back German defence at will, and throwing away two chances to win 3-2 in one of Brazil 2014’s most thrilling matches. To make sure of qualification, Germany now have to steady the ship, again in warm conditions at lunchtime in Brasilia, against a superbly spirited USA side.
The Americans have to assume that a broken Portugal team can’t hold the Ghanians, which means they need at least a draw today. Their increasingly talismanic coach, Jürgen Klinsmann, has set them up as narrow, compact, hard to beat, dangerous on the break. He’s been bold in his squad selection and his in-game substitutions. The question is, how aware are he and the German coach, Klinsmann’s friend and former assistant Jogi Löw, that a draw puts both teams through to the last 16?