Germany top Group G, US sneak through too despite loss

Recife (Brazil): A solitary goal from Thomas Muller helped Germany top FIFA World Cup Group G after a 1-0 win over the US, who also qualified for the last-16 despite the loss at the Arena Pernambuco here Thursday.

Muller’s 50th minute strike was his ninth World Cup goal in nine games. He also moved level with Lionel Messi and Neymar as the top scorers in Brazil with four goals each.

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Germany topped Group G with seven points. The US qualified for the knockout stage thanks to their better goal difference to Portugal with both teams finishing on four points.

Ghana with one point ended the tournament without a win.

The US were left sweating when the match between Portugal and Ghana was tied 1-1. If Ghana had scored, they would have leapfrogged the US into second place but luckily for the Americans Portugal scored.

The Portuguese needed to score at least two more goals to better their goal difference after their humiliating 0-4 loss to Germany but failed to score anymore goals.

With both Germany and the US needing just a draw to progress, it was no surprise the attacking intent left a lot to be desired.

They were both content with the slow pace and most of the action being played out in the midfield.

Germany flirted with an opener on occasion but there really wasn’t any conviction and ruthlessness from them in the final reckoning.

Germany, who had scored 12 goals in their four previous meetings with the US, had majority of the possession but at the end of the half had little to show for it.

The US also did nothing from an attacking perspective. They were lazy in possession and gave the ball away too easily.

In the second half, the pace of the game changed a little bit with the Germans adopting a more attacking brand of football.

The US literally didn’t get the ball out of their own half for more than a few seconds for a long period after their changeover.

The breakthrough finally came via the boot of Muller and it was an excellently taken goal.

From Mesut Ozil’s corner, Per Mertesacker’s header drew a fine save off Tim Howard.

The Everton keeper did well to get the ball outside the box, but Muller was there to attack the rebound and the Bayern Munich forward expertly placed the ball to the bottom right corner to give his side the deserved lead.

Germany had a few more golden chances to double the lead but were wasteful in front of goal.

It turned into a real midfield scrap as the game entered its final leg.

The US, who were constantly looking over their shoulders as Portugal took a 2-1 lead against Ghana, found the going tough.