By Oliver Trust
BERLIN, June 21 (Xinhua) -- The 2-2 draw against Ghana was the toughest test for Germany' s team so far at the World Cup in Brazil. Germany only came away with a point and were far from being given top marks for their performance. Much more they became another of the so-called big boys that encountered major problems in their second games as did the Netherlands, Italy, Argentina and Brazil before them.
Instead of being certain to qualify for the knock-out stages, Germany now faces an explosive "group final" against the former German head coach Juergen Klinsmann and his US team.
Slow in mind and game
The game against Ghana showed the frailties of Loew' s defensive strategy with four central defenders in the back. Right and left backs (Jerome Boateng and Benedikt Hoewedes) lack pace when chasing down attacks down the flanks. And they are harmless when going forward, meaning they don' t pressurize the opposition.
In the opening game against Portugal, Loew' s line up might have been a surprise. Against Ghana, Germany' s team, far from being as easy as the first game, were put to the test. This time Germany appeared as if they wanted to serve up another football party but it didn' t work out as they lacked the ease of the match against Portugal and appeared rather slow thinking.
Not enough speed
Despite losing the ball away far too often in midfield which was partly down to Ghana' s aggression and attacking play, the Germans paid heed to their coach' s advice to be patient - and only take risks when there was a good chance it would pay off, meaning slow the game down when needed and go forward freely and quickly.
In midfield, Sami Khedira and Toni Kroos initially had problems in taking control of the game as the Germans didn' t close down their opponents effectively. Philipp Lahm was tied up with defensive work and couldn' t win the ball in midfield. It was one of Lahm' s worst games for Germany.
The Germans lacked speed and physical presence and Ghana took advantage. Ghana' s players were breathing down their opponents' necks all the time. For Germany it was no party, it was a serious battle in a tropical environment with high temperatures and humidity.
Klose' s 15th World Cup goal
From the moment Goetze put Germany 1-0 up in the 52nd minute to Miroslav Klose' s equalizer (2-2) in the 71st, they were not effective enough and too slow in transforming defense into attack. But Goetze' s goal didn' t open the floodgates and Ghana' s Ayew levelled the score in the 54th and then Gyan put the Africans in the lead (2-1) nine minutes later.
It looked as if Ghana might go on to win the match as Germany were unable to stabilize their game. Loew' s predictions came true as the "special forces" of Klose and Bastian Schweinsteiger reported for duty (69th min) and became lifesavers in Brazil's beach paradise Fortaleza.
Back on the ground
Positive from the German point of view was that they struck back so impressively in the last 20 minutes in what became an end-to-end game. Showing guts they did enough to avoid defeat but the young eleven needed the help of experienced players like Klose and Schweinsteiger. Both became true leaders in bad times. And in the end Germany had to count on the pure striker Klose instead of the "false nine" like Thomas Mueller.
The Ghana game nevertheless appears to be the ideal wake-up call for Germany. "We' ve come down to earth with both feet again," said German keeper Manuel Neuer. And Joachim Loew said: "As I said before, we might need our Special Forces sometime. Today was that day."