Klose rescues Germany with record-equalling 15th goal
Veteran striker rescues a point with his 15th World Cup Finals goal, tying Brazilian Ronaldo's record
(Mario Goetze 51, Miroslav Klose 71)
(Andre Ayew 54, Asamoah Gyan 63)
Every time you think the World Cup must have peaked, it steps up another level.
On a hot night in Fortaleza, Germany and Ghana fought out an epic 2-2 draw so packed with incident that it had enough action for an entire tournament on its own.
The result keeps Ghana in with a chance of qualification for the next round, something no neutral would deny them after this performance.
Ghana made three changes to the side that lost to the United States, including one in goal.
Coach Kwesi Appiah brought in Fatau Dauda, despite his lack of first-team football this season at Orlando Pirates.
Up front, Kevin Prince-Boateng was deployed to provide assistance to Asamoah Gyan.
He came up against his half-brother, Jerome Boateng, a first in the history of the World Cup.
But this was not the battle that would capture the imagination, not least because Jerome was withdrawn at half-time and Kevin followed him five minutes into the second half.
The first period was a guarded affair. The second couldn't have more different.
Ghana defended with great intelligence, keeping the spaces tight and preventing Germany from their preferred option of playing through the middle.
Without specialist fullbacks, Joachim Loew's team struggled to get the ball out wide as well.
When the Africans broke, it usually came through Christian Atsu, the lively Chelsea player who has yet to make an appearance for the London side.
Germany's breakthrough came six minutes after the break.
Thomas Mueller, scorer of a hat-trick against Portugal, turned provider.
His cross found Bayern Munich teammate Mario Goetze and the young midfielder put the ball away in the scruffiest style imaginable.
Mueller's cross hit him in the face, bounced straight down and went in off his knee. It was not one for the scrapbook.
But the lead lasted only three minutes. Germany relaxed and paid a swift price for their complacency.
Harrison Afful, the third of Appiah's three changes, whipped in a splendid cross from the right and Andre Ayew, known more for his wing play than his aerial prowess, headed in his second goal of the tournament.
Manuel Neuer was furious, but his day was about to get much worse.
Philipp Lahm, a player whom Pep Guardiola has labelled the most intelligent he has ever worked with, gave the ball away, Sulley Muntari found Gyan and the former Sunderland striker tore down the pitch and fired the ball past the German goalkeeper.
In the stands, the Ghanaian fans went wild, knowing full well that this was a result that would blow the group wide open.
But there was no hint of Ghana sitting on their lead.
Twice in quick succession, they came close to making it 3-1. First, Jordan Ayew sped in on goal and drilled his shot into Neuer's grasp.
On his own in the middle of the area, Gyan threw his hands up in despair.
Shortly afterwards, Andre Ayew came within inches of meeting a cross directly in front of goal. Had he been a few centimetres taller, or perhaps sporting a well-gelled quiff, Germany would have been in serious trouble.
On the touchline, Loew was equally animated, but for very different reasons.
On came Bastian Schweinsteiger and Miroslav Klose, the 36-year-old striker with 14 World Cup goals in his career. It wasn't long before he had 15.
Benedikt Hoewedes headed the ball towards goal, Klose was there to stab it in.
The strike put him level with Ronaldo in the all-time World Cup scorers list.
The German frontman has at least one more opportunity to make top spot his own.
Now the two sides were exchanging blows like punch-drunk boxers, all swing and no guard.
Germany looked the more likely to snatch it, but time ran out on them, the final whistle blown shortly after Mueller had appeared to injure himself in a vain attempt to head home the winner.
It was, even by the standards of this World Cup, an extraordinary match.
WHAT THEY SAY
We believed in ourselves today. Tactically we were perfect. Now we have to beat Portugal. We will have to focus but we believe we can beat them.
- Ghana scorer Andre Ayew
It was a gruelling 90 minutes. We were not as aggressive and gave Ghana too much room. We had the better chances but, overall, we can’t be satisfied.
- Germany captain Philipp Lahm