• Germany 4-0 Portugal
  • Ghana 1-2 USA
  • Germany 2-2 Ghana
  • USA 2-2 Portugal
  • USA 0-1 Germany
  • Portugal 2-1 Ghana
Tab 1
Alt image
Stacks Image 13812

The Portuguese goal was under siege for long periods

Germany v Portugal

16th June, Salvador


Teams:

Germany

  • 01 Neuer, 20 Boateng, 04 Höwedes, 16 Lahm, 17 Mertesacker, 05 Hummels (Mustafi - 73'), 06 Khedira, 18 Kroos, 13 Müller (Podolski - 82'), 08 Özil (Schürrle - 63'), 19 Götze

  • Substitutes

  • 02 Großkreutz, 03 Ginter, 07 Schweinsteiger, 09 Schürrle, 10 Podolski, 11 Klose, 12 Zieler, 14 Draxler, 15 Durm, 21 Mustafi, 22 Weidenfeller, 23 Kramer

Portugal

  • 12 Patricio, 21 João Pereira (Booked), 05 Fábio Coentrão (Almeida - 65'), 04 Miguel Veloso (Ricardo Costa - 45'), 03 Pepe (Dismissed), 02 Bruno Alves, 08 João Moutinho, 16 Meireles, 09 Hugo Almeida (Éder - 28'), 17 Nani, 07 Ronaldo

  • Substitutes

  • 01 Eduardo, 06 Carvalho, 10 Vieirinha, 11 Éder, 13 Ricardo Costa, 14 Neto, 15 Rafa Silva, 18 Varela, 19 Almeida, 20 Amorim, 22 Beto, 23 Postiga


Firstly can I say, I love the Portuguese Kit, my favourite so far in this competition

Portugal started brightly enough, two fine saves by the great German keeper Neuler from shots from Almeida and Ronaldo, the Germans seemed content to sit back and soak up the Portuguese attack, this game looked all set for an intriguing match, then after about 10 mins the Portuguese must of decided to press the self destruct button.

First goalkeeper Patricio played a weak clearance straight to Khedira, who although 35 yards out had an open goal to shoot at and really should have scored. Three minutes later Pereira made a rash challenge on advancing Mario Gotze, yes he went down easy, but this is the World Cup, the penalty will be given, Muller put the Penalty away with the usual German efficiency, Germany 1-0

Inspired by the goal the Germans with the outstanding Kroos and Ozil started dominating the game and the pair of them set up a great chance for Gotze to shoot, the keeper made a great save deflecting for a corner, from the resulting corner comes the second German goal it certainly was a fine header from Hummels,,but despite having 9 defenders in the area not one Portuguese player actually made a proper challenge, 2-0

You could see the disappointment and frustration growing amongst the Portuguese, sloppy passing, wayward shots and general losing of possession, their heads were down.

Portugal needed a leader to gain control of the side, maybe Pepe the experienced Real Madrid Centre back could be the man, unfortunately not, whilst being challenged by Muller he stuck an arm out and made contact with the Germans face, Muller went down holding his face, he made a meal of the situation, but Pepe stupidly reacted and went down to head butt the German, once again only slight contact. But he made the refs decision easy and was rightly sent off.

Portugal now had no chance of coming back and this was further confirmed when muller scored his second and Germany's third goal right on half time 3-0

Second half starts, Germany knowing the game is won and are content to stroke the ball around and conserve energy.

Ronaldo was at the centre of everything for Portugal, but even he was reduced to wild speculative shots.

After 78 minutes no surprise when the Germans added a 4th the Portuguese keeper keeper pushes a cross ball out to the feet of mueller who has the easy task of putting the ball away for his hat trick, 4-0 Final Score.

Man of the match for me - Kroos who virtually ran the show

The stats will say that Germany had 9 shots to Portugal's 7 but the game was much more one sided than that.

Portugal's poor showing will have given Ghana and USA more incentive in their game later this evening.

Germany looked impressive, so efficient, I'll go as far as saying the best side I have seen in this tournament.

sotonian

The Stats

Germany

4

  • Müller 12′(pen), 45′, 78′
  • Hummels 32′

Portugal

0


Ref: Milorad Mazic

Att: 51,081


Possession

  • Germany 57%
  • Portugal43%

Shots

  • Germany 13
  • Portugal 13

On target

  • Germany 6
  • Portugal 4

Corners

  • Germany 4
  • Portugal 6

Fouls

  • Germany 8
  • Portugal 12



Tab 2
Alt image
Stacks Image 13827

Altidore goes down with a hamstring injury and will take no further part in the World Cup

Ghana v USA

16th June, Natal


Ghana

  • 12 Larsen Kwarasey, 04 Opare, 20 Asamoah, 11 Muntari (Booked), 21 Boye, 19 Mensah, 07 Atsu (Adomah - 78'), 17 Rabiu Booked (Essien - 71'), 03 Gyan, 13 J.Ayew (Boateng - 59'), 10 A.Ayew

  • Substitutes

  • 01 Adams, 02 Inkoom, 05 Essien, 06 Acquah, 08 Badu, 09 Boateng, 14 Adomah, 15 Sumaila, 16 Dauda, 18 Waris, 22 Wakaso, 23 Afful

USA

  • 01 Howard, 23 Johnson, 07 Beasley, 15 Beckerman, 20 Cameron, 05 Besler (Brooks - 45'), 11 Bedoya (Zusi - 77'), 04 Bradley, 08 Dempsey, 17 Altidore (Jóhannsson - 23'), 13 Jones

  • Substitutes

  • 02 Yedlin, 03 González, 06 Brooks, 09 Jóhannsson, 10 Diskerud, 12 Guzan, 14 Davis, 16 Green, 18 Wondolowski, 19 Zusi, 21 Chandler, 22 Rimando


A must win game for both sides

Both sides must of been inspired by Portugal's poor showing earlier this evening, both now thinking they could grab the group g runners up place, Ghana leaving Kevin prince Boateng and Michael Essien on the bench seemed an odd move,

USA started very lively and a great run by Clint Dempsey saw him grab a great first Minute goal, Ghana 0 USA 1

First 15 minutes USA played at a very high pace, Ghana struggled to settle but as the first half progressed Ghana came more and more into the game,

USA are highly organised, a lot better than I gave them credit for in my preview, Ghana continued to plug away but were restricted to speculative long range shots

A rare stroke of sportsmanship just before half time is worth a mention, Jones of USA got taken out by Muntari in a full blooded slide tackle, as Muntari was down Jones boot accidentally caught Muntari's head, Muntari thinking it was intentional, reacted but Jones saved him and even pleaded his case to the referee, all ended with a friendly hand shake, but you have to say many players in this World Cup could and would have got Muntari sent off.

Half time Ghana 0 USA 1

Second half started in a similar fashion to the first, Klinsmann has installed a real discipline to this USA side, making them very hard to break down As the second half continued Ghana really started to dominate, but USA continued holding out,

To further improve Ghana's dominance Kevin prince Boateng and Michael Essien were both bought on, USA were now getting battered.

As the last 15 mins came you started to think it was one of those games that despite their dominance Ghana were never going to score but with 8 minutes left Ghana got the equaliser they deserved from Andre Ayew

Then just as you thought Ghana would push on for the win, totally against the run of play. USA go up the other end. get a corner and score through substitute Brooks

Final score- Ghana 1 USA 2

A very big and important win for USA,

USA to qualify will need to at least draw with Portugal then keep a defeat to Germany to under 4 goals- they have a chance

Ghana to qualify will need at least a win and a draw from there games with Germany and Portugal - unlikely

sotonian

The Stats

Ghana

1

  • A.Ayew 82′

USA

2

  • Dempsey 1′
  • Brooks 86′

Ref: Jonas Eriksson

Att: 39,760


Possession

  • Ghana 62%
  • USA 38%

Shots

  • Ghana 21
  • USA 8

On target

  • Ghana 3
  • USA 4

Corners

  • Ghana 7
  • USA 3

Fouls

  • Ghana 10
  • USA 12


Tab 3
Alt image
Stacks Image 14017

Gyan scores Ghana's second in the 2-2 draw

Germany v Ghana

21st June, Fortaleza


Teams :

Germany

  • 01 Neuer, 20 Boateng (Mustafi - 45'), 04 Höwedes, 16 Lahm, 17 Mertesacker, 05 Hummels, 06 Khedira (Schweinsteiger - 70'), 18 Kroos, 13 Müller, 08 Özil, 19 Götze (Klose - 69' )

  • Substitutes

  • 02 Großkreutz, 03 Ginter, 07 Schweinsteiger, 09 Schürrle, 10 Podolski, 11 Klose, 12 Zieler, 14 Draxler, 15 Durm, 21 Mustafi, 22 Weidenfeller, 23 Kramer

Ghana

  • 16 Dauda, 23 Afful, 20 Asamoah, 11 Muntari (Booked), 21 Boye, 19 Mensah, 07 Atsu (Wakaso - 71'), 17 Rabiu (Badu - 78'), 03 Gyan, 09 Boateng (J.Ayew - 52'), 10 A.Ayew

  • Substitutes

  • 01 Adams, 02 Inkoom, 04 Opare, 05 Essien, 06 Acquah, 08 Badu, 12 Larsen Kwarasey, 13 J.Ayew, 14 Adomah, 15 Sumaila, 18 Waris, 22 Wakaso


Report

After impressing me in their first game, surely Germany (although they historically rarely win in their second World Cup game) would beat Ghana. But in the very hot and humid conditions, this could favour Ghana.

History was made with the two Boetang brothers lining up for different nations, against each other.

Germany kick off, dictating a slow approach, which was understandable in the conditions. The first half brings lots of good build up play but the only two shots of note come from Ghana, Neuler making great saves from Boetang and Muntari, to leave it goalless. Ghana really need a win from this game.

Second half Ghana kick off, but it's the Germans that look the the livelier of the two sides. It was no surprise when, after 51 mins, Germany make the break through from Mario Goetze, who scores from 6 yards out. It seemed to hit his his face then go in from his knee after a great cross from Muller.

Germany 1 Ghana 0

The spirited Ghana respond quickly, when just 3 minutes later, a cross from Afful, brings a powerful header from Ayew which Neuler had no chance of saving, this game has really livened up.

Germany 1 Ghana 1

Ghana are now going for it and in the 63rd minute, Muntari picks up on a poor pass from Lahm, carrying the ball forward before making an inch perfect pass to Gyan, who plays a great shot into the corner of the net.

Germany 1 Ghana 2

Ghana are pushing Germany. Ayew shoots from an angle where a square pass to Gyan could have put the game out of Germany's reach.

Germany make two substitutions and Klose and Schweinsteiger come on. Just two minutes later and with his first touch Klose has got the Germans level. Following a corner by Kroos, Howedes flicks the ball on for Klose to score from close range. Klose is now equal all time World Cup goalscorer with 15 goals.

Germany 2 Ghana 2

Germany now pile on attack after attack, but Ghana hold out for a deserved draw, What a great second half!

The result means Germany need just a draw from their final game with USA to qualify. Ghana have to beat Portugal and hope other results go their way.

sotonian


The Stats

Germany

2

  • Götze 51′
  • Klose 71′

Ghana

2

  • A.Ayew 54′
  • Gyan 63′

Ref: Sandro Meira Ricci

Att: 59,621


Possession

  • Germany62%
  • Ghana38%

Shots

  • Germany 12
  • Ghana 18

On Target

  • Germany 4
  • Ghana 6

Corners

  • Germany 7
  • Ghana 3

Fouls

  • Germany 11
  • Ghana 17


Tab 4
Alt image
Stacks Image 14038

Tim Howard can't quite believe that Varela has just scored in the 94th minute to snatch a draw

USA v Portugal

June 22nd, Manaus


USA

  • 01 Howard, 23 Johnson, 07 Beasley, 15 Beckerman, 20 Cameron, 05 Besler, 11 Bedoya (Yedlin - 72'), 13 Jones (Booked), 08 Dempsey (Wondolowski - 87'), 04 Bradley, 19 Zusi (González - 91')

  • Substitutes

  • 02 Yedlin, 03 González, 06 Brooks, 09 Jóhannsson, 10 Diskerud, 12 Guzan, 14 Davis, 16 Green, 17 Altidore, 18 Wondolowski, 21 Chandler, 22 Rimando

Portugal

  • 22 Beto, 21 João Pereira, 19 Almeida (Carvalho - 45'), 04 Miguel Veloso, 13 Ricardo Costa, 02 Bruno Alves, 08 João Moutinho, 16 Meireles (Varela - 69'), 23 Postiga (Éder - 16'), 17 Nani, 07 Ronaldo

  • Substitutes

  • 01 Eduardo, 06 Carvalho, 09 Hugo Almeida, 10 Vieirinha, 11 Éder, 12 Patricio, 14 Neto, 15 Rafa Silva, 18 Varela, 20 Amorim


Report

Portugal went into this game owing there fans a better performance than they managed against Germany and knowing that a defeat will put them out of this tournament

USA kicked off and the Portuguese seemed hungry and got the break they needed in the 5th minute, a fairly weak cross into the area was miscued by Cameron, the ball fell to Nani in plenty of space who had the simple task of putting the ball past Tim Howard.

USA 0 Portugal 1

Portugal boosted by the goal started to dominate, USA struggled to keep the ball for the next ten minutes but slowly started getting in the game having a few long range shots going close, Portugal seemed happy to soak up USA attacks and catch them on the break, on the stroke of halftime Portugal should of had a second Nani hit the post, the ball comes out to Eder, who shoots but somehow Howard manages to make a great save.

Second half, Portugal start the brighter side, but were leaving large holes in defence, USA started to look dangerous on the break and with better passing they could have equalised.

After 54 minutes USA really should have equalised, a great move ends with the ball falling to Bradley, with the keeper nowhere. He shoots, only to hit the knee of Costa who had dived across the line in hope, the ball bounces away.

This game is really end to end, USA pushing hard for the goal but leaving lots of gaps at the back, which Portugal should have exploited, but Ronaldo needed to find his accurate shooting boots.

After 63 minutes USA got the goal they worked so hard for, a corner is headed clear to Jones who takes a touch before firing a fantastic shot through the crowd of players into the far corner, that really was unstoppable.

USA 1 Portugal 1

A draw is not really good enough for Portugal and they respond with wave after wave of attacks, Tim Howard having a fantastic game saving everything that came his way.

In the 82nd minute there was a rare USA attack, Yedlyn gets to the byeline crosses to Bradley who knocks the ball wide to Zusi who puts the ball across the goal for Dempsey to put the ball in off his chest, unbelievably USA 2- Portugal 1

For the final 10 mins Portugal continued to have attack after attack, but just as I thought the goal was never going to come and I could conclude this report, there was a great cross from Ronaldo who finds Varela, who puts a header past Howard to give Portugal the draw they deserved.

What a fantastic game! USA 2 Portugal 2

Which takes us to Thursday for the final games, if Germany draw with USA (who are managed by former German star player Klinsmann) then both Nations will go through

sotonian


The Stats

USA

2

  • Jones 64′
  • Dempsey 81′

Portugal

2

  • Nani 5′
  • Varela 90′

Ref: Néstor Pitana

Att: 40,123


Possession

  • USA 48%
  • Portugal 52%

Shots

  • USA 15
  • Portugal 21

On Target

  • USA 5
  • Portugal 7

Corners

  • USA 6
  • Portugal 4

Fouls

  • USA 11
  • Portugal 14



Tab 5
Alt image
Stacks Image 14219

Jurgen Klinsmann was a happy American camper

USA v Germany

26th June 2014, Recife


Teams :

USA

  • 01 Howard, 23 Johnson, 07 Beasley, 15 Beckerman (Booked), 03 González (Booked), 05 Besler, 19 Zusi (Yedlin - 84'), 13 Jones, 08 Dempsey, 04 Bradley, 14 Davis (Bedoya - 59')

  • Substitutes

  • 02 Yedlin, 06 Brooks, 09 Jóhannsson, 10 Diskerud, 11 Bedoya, 12 Guzan, 16 Green, 18 Wondolowski, 20 Cameron, 21 Chandler, 22 Rimando

Germany

  • 01 Neuer, 20 Boateng, 04 Höwedes (Booked), 16 Lahm, 17 Mertesacker, 05 Hummels, 07 Schweinsteiger (Götze - 76'), 18 Kroos, 13 Müller, 08 Özil (Schürrle - 89'), 10 Podolski (Klose - 45')

  • Substitutes

  • 02 Großkreutz, 03 Ginter, 06 Khedira, 09 Schürrle, 11 Klose, 12 Zieler, 14 Draxler, 15 Durm, 19 Götze, 21 Mustafi, 22 Weidenfeller, 23 Kramer


Played in pouring Rain, both teams went into this final game knowing a draw would be good enough. The Germans would probably still have qualified with a defeat.

USA kicked off and were immediately sitting back, a dangerous game to play, in fact it was nearly 20 minutes into the game before USA had anything resembling an attack, but that attack did inspire them to start to have the odd move forward, the Germans still having most of the play without creating any real chances.

USA were just looking for breaks, from an excitement point of view this game really needed an early goal.

Half time USA 0 Germany 0

Podolski came off for Klose, at the start of the half. Klose was looking for a goal to become all time World Cup top scorer.

USA were once again being forced back and after 54 minutes Germany at last got a well deserved goal. From a corner, Tim Howard made a fantastic save from Qzil. Unfortunately for him the ball falls to Muller on the edge of the area, who puts a unstoppable shot into the corner of the goal.

USA 0 Germany 1

As the game restarted, news came in that Ghana had equalised against Portugal, meaning as things stood, USA would still qualify. I don't know if the news got to the USA players, but they continued sitting back, rather than push on for a goal.

Then news came through Portugal were now winning, could this new inspire USA to push forward and make a game of this? Nah they knew thier goal difference was far superior to Portugal's, Germany could have taken their keeper off for an outfield player and USA still wouldn't have scored.

USA 0 Germany 1

Not as good a game as the other Group G games have been, but that won't worry either of these teams, they are both through to the last 16.

sotonian


The Stats

USA

0

Germany

1

  • Müller 55′

Ref: Ravshan Irmatov

Att: 41,876


Possession

  • USA 33%
  • Germany 67%

Shots

  • USA 4
  • Germany 13

On Target

  • USA 0
  • Germany 6

Corners

  • USA 2
  • Germany 3

Fouls

  • USA 15
  • Germany 9



Tab 6
Alt image
Stacks Image 14214

Ronaldo scores Portugal's winner and his first in this tournament

Portugal v Ghana

26th June 2014, Brazilia


Introduction :

Switzerland demonstrated that getting a thrashing in a group match does not have to see an end to your World Cup hopes. Winning your other matches is usually enough to see you finish 2nd. Portugal however followed their stuffing at the hands of Germany with a draw against USA. That left them on 1 point and below Ghana on goal difference. There were scenarios that could see one of these sides progress but they were at the mercy of the result in Recife where Germany and USA looked better placed to get out of Group G.

I need to get this moan out of the way up-front. BBC had the audacity to put this game on the “RED button.” This is the World Cup for heaven’s sake – the single most important sporting event on the planet, yet BBC determine it not worthy of being broadcast on a proper channel. So I had little idea of who was playing in what position and even less about who came on for who during the game. If BBC cannot treat important sport with the necessary respect, it is time to get out of live sport altogether. Leave it to the dedicated sports broadcasters who will do a proper job!


Teams :

Portugal

  • 22 Beto, 21 Pereira, 3 Pepe, 2 Alves, 4 Veloso, 8 Moutinho, 6 William, 20 Amorim, 17 Nani, 11 Eder, 7 Ronaldo.

  • Subs :

  • 18 Varela for 21 (62), 10 Vierinha for 11 (69) and 1 Eduardo for 22 (89).

Ghana

  • 16 Dauda, 23 Afful, 21 Boye, 19 Mensah, 20 Asamoah, 17 Rabiu, 8 Badu, 3 Gyan, 18 Waris, 7 Atsu, 10 A Ayew

  • Subs :

  • J Ayew for 18 (71), Acquah for 17 (76) and Wakaso for 10 (81).


Report:

Had it not been for the Suarez story, the major headline coming out of Brazil might have been the sheer chaos in the Ghana camp prior to this match. Again it seems, here was a squad from an African country fighting among themselves and, as is often the case, it was about money. There were tales of planeloads of cash crossing the Atlantic and brawls between players and officials. Upshot was that Kevin Prince Boateng and Sulley Muntari (both former PFC of course) had been “sent home” from the tournament. That necessitated changes in Ghana’s line up but, with nothing transmitted before the last half of Portugal’s anthem, who knows what these may have been!

Portugal also made changes. Pepe was back and a bloke called Amorim was making a rare start. Ronaldo was there of course. He was carrying some sort of tendon injury and operating at about 75% effectiveness. This still made him the best player on view by a considerable degree. Sorry, but I don’t share this childish loathing of Ronaldo that appears to be de rigeur in the UK. The bloke is clearly ego-centric but that is not rare in a sportsman with his degree of talent. I’m happy to just to watch what he does on the pitch: the rest is unimportant. For the remainder of this report I‘m calling him CR7 for the simple reason that it is easier to write and – as with most matches he plays – it was, pretty much, “all about him.”

The one plus point of the RED button was we got Messrs Brotherton and Keown doing the match, one of the least offensive pairings operating in Brazil. I loved the child-like delight Keown showed at being in this stadium. The Mane Garrincha had a running track removed and the pitch lowered to accommodate 25,000 extra seats. In Martin’s eyes, this is the best stadium anywhere!

The Bahraini ref started the match and Ghana enjoyed early possession. It was 3 mins before Portugal attacked. CR7 went down the right, turned the ball back to Pereira whose terrible cross sailed out for a throw on the opposite side. Moutinho then needed treatment after a nasty looking clash of heads. With him upright, Portugal returned to the attack and CR7 again made progress down the right. From a ridiculous angle, he struck a curling shot that soared above the keeper and bounced off the bar.

The game was now mostly contested in midfield. A number of Portuguese attacks floundered due to Nani’s poor control. Ghana passed the ball nicely at the back but frustratingly failed to find their busy forwards with forward passes. Significantly, they were now at least making those passes. Dauda, in the Ghana goal, looked a character. At one point he raced from his area, and chested the ball past an opponent before booting it clear.

On 11 mins Moutinho was fouled in CR7 territory. He struck a firm shot past the wall and drew a good save from Dauda. Moutinho was involved in lots of fouls, sometimes as victim, sometimes dishing it out. As a consequence the game stuttered along. Ghana kept trying without creating a clear chance – Gyan once received the ball but was quickly smothered by 4 defenders who robbed him.

On 19 Portugal created a great chance. Pereira launched a cross from the right which landed right on CR7’s head. His powerful close-range header was brilliantly saved by Dauda who celebrated as if he’d just scored. Good stuff! Within a minute Ghana created as good a chance – Gyan turning and hitting a low shot which Beto saved with his legs. Game on perhaps…

With no goals in Recife this match was in danger of becoming irrelevant but the maxim 'win and hope' applied to both sides. Gyan drew another save from Beto with his header but the match was deteriorating with wayward passing and poor control. CR7 tried his luck in the middle and soon earned a free kick. Guess he deemed it too far out as he left it and trotted into the box. Nani hit it straight out of play.

On the half hour the referee made a major impact. As Ghana tried to work the ball across field, Ayew’s pass bounced off him and was pinched by Pepe. With the Africans berating the official, Portugal mounted an attack down the left. Veloso got level with the box before driving the ball across. With Moutinho moving in, Boye panicked, took a wild swing and succeeded in slicing the ball into his own goal off both bar and post. 1-0 Portugal.

The lead almost doubled as Portugal attacked again but CR7’s shot was beaten away by Dauda. Then Nani fed Amorim who struck a shot into the near post netting. For a few minutes Portugal looked to be in control but Ghana then created another chance which Gyan headed wide. On 39 mins it was Atsu driving into the box but his shot drifted across the goal and wide. Shortly afterwards, Ghana worked the ball to Gyan with his back to goal. He felt the defender behind him and went over. Slow motion showed the defender had his hands on him but both I, and more importantly, the ref thought he’d dived.

The half ended with Portugal on the attack. Another wayward shot by Nani was quickly followed by more desperate defending by Boye. He took another swing at a low cross, sliced this too but was relieved to see the ball clear the bar: HT 1-0 here – but meaningless as it was 0-0 in Recife.

I was playing with Rover when the 2nd half began but there didn’t seem to be any changes. Portugal started on the front foot, creating and wasting a number of chances. It really wasn’t very good to watch. Ghana showed a little more urgency on 51 mins when Gyan missed at the near post. I was then shocked to see CR7 tackling back. As he came away with the ball, he was hacked down. Rather summed this game up.

Portugal still got forward but unconvincingly. I sighed when, after a period of Portuguese pressure, Dauda fielded Veloso’s cross and booted the ball the length of the pitch for Beto to start another attack. The game was disintegrating – the referee stopped play to book Waris for a foul on Pepe. The loose ball ran to Moutinho who was scythed down behind the official’s back. Ridiculous!

On 57 mins a sliver of light entered the crypt: news from Recife – Germany 1 USA 0. That score still meant those sides were going through but anyone winning by a few goals in Brazilia might overtake the Yanks. Ghana were certainly inspired. They attacked down the left and Asamoah delivered a peach of a cross which Gyan headed home. 1-1. The draw was the most useless of results here and the USA looked a bit safer. Of course, Ghana had not been thrashed and were better placed to challenge the Yanks for 2nd place. They should have taken the lead on the hour too.

Gyan was working all across the pitch. When he got down the left he picked out a fine cross for Waris who should have scored - but put his diving header wide of the post. Ghana were certainly looking the more likely now. Portugal’s side is packed with old men and it looked like they were running out of steam. Indeed, their first substitute was now on. Waris set up Atsu but his shot was too high.

Portugal responded briefly but Eder’s poor control and Varela’s rotten shooting let them down. Asamoah then drove a shot well wide. More substitutes came on and CR7 missed a couple more chances. My notes read: 'World Cup will be better off without both these' and 'I’m bored – I want my tea!' Briefly we had two balls on the pitch but it didn’t improve the spectacle. A second Ayew came on and was soon booked for elbowing William.

I must give credit to CR7 here. He was the one bright spark in a quite dreary game. It is a shame he was not operating at full-capacity but even so, anything good that Portugal achieved involved him. With just 10 minutes left he was finally rewarded.

Ghana had been guilty of comedy defending for most of the match. Dauda looks a decent keeper but he must get plenty of practice sat behind them. Their piece de resistance came when a left wing cross was lofted into the box. Mensah met it but headed vertically upwards. Had everyone got out of the way, Dauda could easily have caught it as it dropped. But Valera was lurking and both centre-backs felt impelled to jump with their keeper. They succeeded in blocking him so that the ball spilled back into the box – right to the feet of CR7.

When you’ve had the sort of tournament he has had, carrying a squad of fairly ordinary footballers when not fully fit, you deserve a bit of luck. CR7 slotted the ball and his side were back in front. 2-1. It was now that the implications of the hammering by Germany became crystal clear. A win was good but what was required was a win by a load of goals and that clearly wasn’t going to happen.

Ghana brought Waskaso on. He looked lively but his long range shooting failed to trouble Beto. CR7 might have got another on 82, this time Dauda made another good save. Shortly afterwards the keeper fended off an effort from Varela. Down the other end, Beto appeared to be injured. Portugal eventually replaced him on 89 minutes but that was the end of the excitement. Actually, Portugal did create more chances as injury time ticked away but this game was already long dead. It finished 2-1. Both sides are going home but at least CR7 can now say he has scored in 3 consecutive world cup finals. I’m sure that sort of thing will be important on his C.V.

For all his human frailties, Ronaldo is an exceptional footballer and it is a great shame Brazilian punters were not able to see the best of him.

spot51


The Stats

Portugal

2

  • Boye 30′ (og)
  • Ronaldo 80′

Ghana

1

  • Gyan 57′

Ref: Nawaf Shukralla

Att: 67,540


Possession

  • Portugal 58%
  • Ghana 42%

Shots

  • Portugal 18
  • Ghana 17

On Target

  • Portugal 7
  • Ghana 4

Corners

  • Portugal 7
  • Ghana 4

Fouls

  • Portugal 21
  • Ghana 16