Klose has his say in second half thriller: how Stats Zone saw Germany 2-2 Ghana
Mats Hummels was able to take his place in an unchanged Germany starting XI despite concerns over a thigh injury, while defensive partner Per Mertesacker won his 100th cap for Die Mannschaft. Ghana made three alterations from the 2-1 defeat to the United States. Kevin-Prince Boateng earned a recall and so was able to line up against his half-brother Jerome for the second successive World Cup.
Germany racked up twice as many passes as their opponents in the early stages, yet it was the Black Stars who fashioned the first chance; Sulley Muntari's raking diagonal pass setting up an opportunity for Asamoah Gyan to shoot wide.
Kwadwo Asamoah was getting heavily involved for Ghana down the left flank; after 19 minutes the Juventus man was his side's best passer (16/19) and had already made 6 ball recoveries.
The right flank was also being used with increasing regularity by the underdogs, with Christian Atsu - a Chelsea player who spent last season at Vitesse Arnhem - giving left-back Benedict Howedes problems with his pace.
By half-time, Ghana had out-shot the Germans 7 to 4, but both sides' attempts were predominatly coming from long range with neither goalkeeper overly tested.
While Germany had enjoyed 60% of the possession, completing 295/340 passes to Ghana's 181/225, the Black Stars were doing a higher percentage of their passing higher up the pitch.
Joachim's Low's side made more tackles before half-time but Ghana were more accurate, perfect in fact.
Toni Kroos was the most efficient passer of the half, while Mesut Ozil topped the charts for final third passes and created 3 chances for team-mates.
The second period began quietly but it was not a sign of things to come. Far from it. The half was brought to life by Germany taking the lead; Thomas Muller's delicous cross converted by Mario Gotze's combination of head and knee. But the advantage was short-lived: Andre Ayew meeting Harrison Afful's inviting centre with a much, much better header into the corner beyond Manuel Neuer.
And the Black Stars soon hit the front: Muntari had been influential since the restart and slipped in Gyan to finish emphatically.
Fortunately, Low was able to call upon one of the World Cup's all-time greats in terms of goalscoring. On came Miroslav Klose and one touch later he restored parity and equalled Ronaldo's record of 15 goals at the finals, prodding in a corner from close range.
2-2 it finished then, in a game of hugely contrasting halves. 19 shots were fired in after the interval, 12 of them from the Black Stars who wasted a 3-on-2 to steal the victory in injury-time.
Ghana's full-backs impressed, charging up and down the flanks all evening. Right-sided defender Harrison Afful made the most interceptions of the match in defence, as well as the most attacking third passes than any other Ghana player going forward.
Substitute Jordan Ayew also made a difference with his pace, firing in 3 attempts after half-time on top of completing 2/3 take-ons and completing all 6 of his passes.
For Germany, their second group game struggles continue. Only once have Die Mannschaft won their second match in a World Cup group phase, losing once (to Serbia in 2010) and drawing 4 times.
Facts and figures
- Miroslav Klose scored with his first touch of the ball, 112 seconds after coming on as a sub.
- Klose has equalled Ronaldo’s record of 15 goals at World Cup finals.
- Both players scored their 15th goal against Ghana.
- Klose is only the third player in World Cup history to score in 4 different editions of the competition (after Pele and Uwe Seeler).
- Asamoah Gyan equalled Roger Milla’s record of 5 goals, they are the 2 highest scoring Africans at World Cups.
- Gyan has now scored in 3 World Cups (2006, 2010, 2014).
- Germany have scored in 19 of their last 20 World Cup group games.
- Thomas Muller now has 8 goals and 4 assists in 8 World Cup appearances.
- Mario Götze has scored 3 goals in his last 3 appearances for Germany, and 4 in 5 in 2014.
- Per Merteacker became the 13th player to appear 100 times for Germany.
- Germany have won their second World Cup group game on just 1 occasion since 1994 (D4 L1).