World Cup Group G preview: USA v Germany
Head to head
Played 9: USA 3 wins, Germany 6 wins, no draws.
In their most recent international friendly, the United States beat Germany in an end- to- end game for the 100th anniversary of US Soccer in Washington DC. That match finished 4-3 to the home team with Dempsey grabbing a brace.
It’s the last group game and the US will definitely be the happier of the two sides with their results. They have fought tremendously well and, most importantly, been clinical in front of goal. The USA have not created the same amount of chances as their opposition, but have been converting them at a much higher rate – 22% of their shots on target have ended up in the back of the net, as opposed to 11% for bottom placed Portugal. But they still have a long way to go to match German efficiency - 40% of their shots on target have been made to count.
The big issue
At the time, Germany’s 4-0 dismantling of Portugal was a huge statement but since the Ghana game the performance has been re-examined somewhat. Most of the goals were against a 10-man Portugal side that hasn’t looked impressive even with a full complement, taking the gloss off a solid start. In their match against Ghana, Germany's fragility at the back was demonstrated and their fluidity across the top was stifled by the Black Stars’ midfield. They would not have been satisfied with their last performance and Joachim Low will want a huge lift from his players coming into the knockout rounds.
The game breaker
It’s difficult to pick something that must perform, but Jurgen Klinsmann needs to keep his players focused for another 90 minutes. The US coach knows that if they get into an end-to-end game with his compatriot’s team, he’s going to lose, and that could cost them a spot in the round of 16. If the United States can keep the score level at halftime, Germany will start to look at the draw as a decent result and begin looking ahead to next week.
Prediction: Germany 2 – 0 USA
Is anyone going to go 100%? These teams could draw and walk to the next round hand in hand. And both would have earned it. The trouble is with Germany drawing their last game, they will feel the need to emphasise their intent again. If anyone if going for this, it’ll be the Germans, and they are capable of giving the USA backline the run around. If you’re depending on the kindness of Germany, you’re going to be disappointed. Klinsmann’s men will need to be switched on until the final whistle, and personally, I don’t think they will be able to do it.