Wednesday, June 18, 2014

World Cup Group G Update

Group G provided two extremely enjoyable games, with Germany pounding 10-men Portugal by a score of 4-0 and the United States beating Ghana 2-1 on a very late goal. The outlook of this group looks much better for the US and Germany, while Ghana and Portugal will be devastated by their results.

What We Learned About Germany - Germany put in an absolutely dominant performance against Portugal, which pretty much assures them the top spot in Group G. The 4-0 win was never in doubt, as Germany looked extremely dangerous from the starting whistle and managed to bag three goals before halftime. A big question mark coming into the World Cup for Germany was the striker position, as Miroslav Klose is the only true striker on the roster and he is 36 years old. Against Portugal, Thomas Muller was stuck up in the striker position and preformed remarkably, scoring a hat trick. Another problem position for Germany coming into the tournament was at the fullback slots. Traditionally, Lahm has played right back for Germany, but he was moved to the midfield, while Erik Durm is the only left back on the roster but is extremely inexperienced. Germany ended up playing Howedes at left back and Boateng at right back, two players who are natural center backs, and it worked surprisingly well. If Boateng and Howedes were able to keep up with Ronaldo and Nani than they should theoretically be able to keep up with anybody in the world but we will have to wait and see.
Germany's Best Player - Thomas Muller, Striker - First hat trick of the World Cup and an all-around fantastic performance.
Germany's Worst Player - Philipp Lahm, Center Midfielder - Didn't play that badly but did look a step off the pace - maybe this is just his adjustment period to playing in the midfield.

What We Learned About Portugal - Everybody knows that Portugal is a fairly talented team, and to be completely honest, their talent was on display for much of the game against Germany. Before being reduced to 10 men, Portugal looked potent with the ball and actually controlled much of the possession, however, it is the mental mistakes that eventually tore Portugal apart. Bad passes in the final third, an incredible amount of selfishness from Ronaldo, and a remarkably stupid red card for Pepe were all psychologic mistakes from Portugal on the day. You hate to see such a talented team unwind like Portugal did against Germany but if they don't make quick changes to their mentality we could have a fiasco reminiscent of France's in South Africa on our hands.
Portugal's Best Player - Cristiano Ronaldo, Winger - Hate to give this to him because he was outrageously selfish throughout the game but he did look the most likely to score for Portugal.
Portugal's Worst Player - Hugo Almeida, Striker, and Pepe, Center Back - Impossible for me to choose between Almeida and Pepe for worst player against Germany. Almeida honestly looked like he didn't want to be at the game and was completely disinterested in preforming while Pepe was beaten for the second Germany goal on Mats Hummels' header and was awarded a red card for a stupid decision.

What We Learned About The United States - Overall, the United States did not play well against Ghana so they will be very pleased that they managed to escape with a win. While the defense was extremely stout, the midfield really struggled to string together passes, and that was in a large part due to the weak performance of Michael Bradley. Bradley is usually the key piece in the US midfield, but against Ghana, Jermaine Jones and Kyle Beckerman easily outplayed him. Up front, Dempsey had an incredible game until a kick to the face broke his nose and slowed him down a bit. Meanwhile, Jozy Altidore's injured hamstring seems even more problematic as Aaron Johansson really struggled to get into the game at the striker position. If the US could get a win while playing as poorly as we did, people should be optimistic about what sort of results we can get when we play to our full potential. In the end, though, it all comes back to Michael Bradley; Jones and Beckerman can hold the ball in the defensive midfield but we desperately need Bradley to link the defensive midfield to the attackers, and he simply couldn't do that against Ghana.
The United States' Best Player - Jermaine Jones, Center Midfielder - While this could have gone to Tim Howard, Clint Dempsey, or even John Brooks, none of them had as constant an effect on the game as Jones did. While he doesn't provide as much going forward as a player like Graham Zusi, Jones was absolutely superb when tracking back and providing cover for DaMarcus Beasley and Matt Besler.
The United States' Worst Player - Michael Bradley, Attacking Midfielder - I think you all saw this coming. Bradley really struggled to connect passes in the midfield, but the US is going to need him to return to form if they want to get anything from Portugal and Germany.

What We Learned About Ghana - To be fair, Ghana didn't play poorly in the least and will be extremely disappointed with the final result. After allowing Clint Dempsey to score just 34 seconds into the game, Ghana maintained nearly all of the possession, but were just lacking that final ball. When they finally got it in the 82nd minute, it seemed as if they certainly wouldn't loose the game and might even go on to win it from that point. However, the rest of the game saw very few chances fall their way while the US managed to leap back in front by means of a brilliant set piece. Because of the result, it would seem nearly impossible for them to make it out of the group, but they proved against the US that they might just have the quality to hang in with Portugal and Germany.
Ghana's Best Player - Asamoah Gyan, Striker - Struggled a bit to put away chances himself but honestly looked the most likely to score for Ghana. Even though he never did score, his beautiful back-heel pass was what set up Ayew for Ghana's lone goal.
Ghana's Worst Player - John Boye, Center Back - Distributed the ball fairly well out of the back but was pretty much responsible for letting both Dempsey and Brooks score.

No comments:

Post a Comment