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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

GHANA vs GERMANY >>> Match Preview

"We'll try not to disappoint them"
Black Star Asamoah Gyan (Ghana #3)
Three-time world champions Germany had hoped for a rather different scenario ahead of their maiden appearance at Soccer City in Johannesburg. After beating Australia 4-0 but then losing 1-0 to Serbia in their Group D fixtures to date, however, Joachim Low's team are under severe pressure against the Black Stars, who beat the Serbs 1-0 and drew 1-1 with the Socceroos. The young German side enter the contest knowing they must win in order to be absolutely sure of a last-16 berth, whereas Ghana require only a draw to guarantee progress. In a section with everything still to play for, the parallel fixture pits Australia against Serbia.

The eyes of the African continent will be focused on Ghana as their only representative with a realistic chance of making it to the second round. After some good displays in their win and draw thus far, facing the experienced Germans in their final game is a tall order, but not one that is beyond them.

Brothers-in arms
An intriguing subplot is the potential meeting of the Boateng brothers. While the Palacios brothers have lined up alongside each other for Honduras, Jerome Boateng of Germany and Ghana's Kevin-Prince may line up against one another in Soccer City. "Obviously, the Germany game is a special one for me. But I can promise the Ghana fans this – I play to win, even against my brother, or my father or mother for that matter," Kevin-Prince recently told FIFA.com. However, on current form, the pair are unlikely to go head-to-head on the field itself. Kevin-Prince has played all but a few minutes of his country's games so far, but Jerome has yet to taste any action.

Ghana player to watch: Kevin-Prince Boateng
The focal point of Germany's anger before the World Cup as he injured Michael Ballack in the FA Cup final - thus ruling the Chelsea midfielder out of the tournament - Boateng actually spurned Germany's advances and chose to play for Ghana before the tournament as well. You couldn't write such a story but, amidst some loud booing from the German fans, he will surely have an impact on the match.
Germany player to watch: Bastian Schweinsteiger
If the Germans are to make it through the group, the Bayern man will have to show a lot more than he did against Serbia. Often caught up in a heated discussion, Schweinsteiger's head has to keep cool against a physical Ghanaian side, but he has shown in the past that he has the experience and skill to rise to the big occasion.
Key Battle:
Asamoah Gyan v Per Mertesacker
Gyan has netted 50% of Ghana's goals in the World Cup so far (three out of six) and uses his pace and strength up front to cause problems for defenders. One of the star performers at this tournament, his nerve from the penalty spot has been tested already and he has shown no fear in his attacking forays; but he comes up against a 6' 5'' defender that won't shirk a physical challenge. Mertesacker oozes class on the ball and has the positional sense to make vital interceptions with his giant frame. He will have to cover if Ghana choose to attack the right side of defence (and 5' 7'' Philipp Lahm) from the air.
Ghana have the passion, the support and a burning desire to make an impact on their own continent, but Germany are ruthless and experienced in this situation and it would be a shock if they didn't progress.


Take GHANA +1 Handicap (Main Bet)

Take a DRAW 0-0 or 1-1 (Small Fun Bet)

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