Germans need to improve
Loew's men must improve if they are to go all the way
(Mario Goetze 51, Miroslav Klose 71)
(Andre Ayew 54, Asamoah Gyan 63)
With guts and guile, Ghana equalised against the Germans, took the lead, but eventually had to settle for a fully deserved point this morning (Singapore time).
Alas, their fairy-tale finish to the match was denied by Germany's trusty old 36-year-old servant Miroslav Klose, who netted a record-equalling 15th goal at the World Cup Finals.
But another European heavyweight has been served a stern reminder of their arduous mission in Brazil.
They are going to have their work cut out for them.
The Germans, hottest favourites from the continent, were expected to win, but they were staring at defeat for eight minutes in the second half.
But then again, the alarm bells have already been set off before this game.
The South American hoodoo - no European team have won the World Cup on South American soil - has already claimed two casualties, and former world champions at that.
Spain were booted out of the tournament by dark horses Chile.
England left their hopes of progressing to the knockout stages hanging by a thread after their 2-1 defeat by Uruguay.
Costa Rica's dismantling of Italy subsequently confirmed the Three Lions' exit, and in the process of beating the Azzurri, the central American nation added to growing evidence that the gulf in quality between the traditional powerhouses and the supposed minnows is narrowing.
Those tipped to fly the European flag high, after convincing performances in their opening games, also met with road blocks in the second match.
CAN EUROPE COPE?
Germany are one example, Italy another.
Holland, too, encountered plenty of difficulties before scraping past Australia 3-2.
Only France, who followed up on their 3-0 opening win over Honduras with a 5-2 thumping of Switzerland yesterday morning, managed to continue full steam ahead.
The climate in Brazil is one factor for Europe's struggles.
The mercury level in Fortaleza, where Germany took on Ghana, for instance, hit 29 deg C.
Italy, too, clearly struggled in the sapping conditions against the Costa Ricans. But it is more than heat that the Europeans are feeling.
Ghanaian striker Asamoah Gyan's assessment of his team's performance was telling. They played a "tactically perfect" and "intelligent" game, he said.
These aren't traits normally associated with underdogs such as Ghana, Costa Rica, Colombia, Chile or even Australia, but there has been a cohesiveness and organisation about them that the big-game hunters are still struggling to overcome.
Ghana were set up to attack Joachim Loew's men, because they needed the points after losing their first match to the US.
So they deployed Gyan up front and strung an attacking trio of Andre Ayew, Christian Atsu and Kevin-Prince Boateng behind him.
At the back, they kept their discipline, shape and focus to repel threats of Thomas Mueller, Mesut Oezil and Mario Goetze.
Ghana had the marginally better goal-scoring chances in the first half.
They played it smart, attacking in numbers when they had the chance to.
When Harrison Afful crossed into the penalty box for Ayew in the 54th minute, they were three-on-three against the German defenders in the penalty box.
Less than 10 minutes later, Sulley Muntari pickpocketed the German midfield before threading an inch-perfect through-ball for Gyan to put Ghana 2-1 up.
Klose might have rescued a point for Germany, but the lightweights have proven a point.
They went to Brazil armed to the teeth. The European heavyweights won't find South America a particularly endearing place.
- Total shots: Germany 11, Ghana 20
- Shots on target: Germany 6, Ghana 10
- Corners: Germany 7, Ghana 3
- Offsides: Germany 1, Ghana 5
- Fouls committed: Germany 11, Ghana 17
- Yellow cards: Germany 0, Ghana 1
- Ball possession: Germany 59%, Ghana 41%
15 goals in World Cup and counting
The humble 36-year-old Germany striker Klose etched his name into immortality this morning (Singapore time) when he scored his 15th World Cup goal in the 2-2 draw against Ghana.
Equalling the record held by former Brazil striker Ronaldo with his 71st-minute strike, Klose has quietly put his name into the history books with a remarkable lack of drama.
Famous for performing mid-air somersaults to celebrate scoring important goals earlier in his career, he changed to mostly raising a clenched fist and giving a quick smile before putting his serious game face back on and getting back to work.
But, this morning, the somersault was back after he equalised from close range with his first touch less than two minutes after coming off the bench in the Group G clash.
"I don't know how long it's been since I did a somersault. but at least it worked out," he said after the match.
"You come in and want to turn the game around. Twenty (World Cup) matches and 15 goals isn't bad at all."
His goal against Ghana also moved Klose one ahead in the World Cup scoring list of compatriot Gerd Mueller, who led West Germany to the 1974 World Cup title.
Klose had shared second place with Mueller since scoring twice in a 4-0 quarter-final win over Argentina on July 3, 2010.
He also becomes the third man after compatriot Uwe Seeler and Brazil's Pele to score in four World Cups.
The best German striker of his generation, Klose is also his country's all-time leading scorer with 70 goals in 133 games.
Tall and strong in the air, the soft-spoken striker is known for his superb timing and leaping ability. He has been consistently lethal in front of goal in the last three World Cups, helped by the fact that Germany reached the final and semi-finals twice.
In 2002, Klose scored five headed goals as underdogs Germany made it to the final, where they lost 2-0 to Brazil with Ronaldo scoring twice to register eight for the tournament.
Four years later with Germany as hosts, Klose won the Golden Boot when he scored another five goals in leading Germany to the semi-finals. In 2010, he scored four more in South Africa.
Klose has also been the beneficiary of the outstanding crops of attacking midfielders who have set up many of his 70 goals for Germany.
He has seen off challenges from a number of younger strikers eager to replace him, including Mario Gomez.
In fact, Klose is the only specialised striker in Germany coach Joachim Loew's squad in Brazil after Gomez was dropped.
Klose moved with his Polish family to Germany in 1986 at the age of eight when he spoke only a few words of German.
He broke into the Bundesliga with Kaiserslautern in 1999 and, five years later, moved to Werder Bremen before joining Bayern Munich in 2007. He was transferred to Lazio three years ago.
Klose headed the winner on his Germany debut to earn a 2-1 victory over Albania in 2001 to avoid an embarrassing draw.
Alongside his record-breaking goal tally, Klose will long be remembered for his sportsmanship with his acts of fair play making headline news in Germany.
He told a referee in Italy in 2012 to disallow a goal he had just scored because he used his hand.
Seven years earlier, playing for Werder Bremen, he declined to accept a penalty kick because he did not think he had been fouled. - Reuters.
Welcome to the club.
- Brazil legend Ronaldo congratulating Miroslav Klose on his Twitter account