World Cup Blog: Germany defeat the United States but fail to wipe the smile from Jürgen Klinsmann's face
PUBLISHED: 08:49 27 June 2014 | UPDATED: 15:35 27 June 2014
World Cup Group G: USA 0 Germany 1
A wonderful effort from Thomas Müller was enough to give Germany a 1-0 win over the United States but both teams were celebrating their progression to the knockout stage of the World Cup at the final whistle.
A draw would have ensured both a top two finish in Group G but it was Portugal’s failure to win against Ghana by three goals that meant Jürgen Klinsmann could celebrate alongside his compatriots.
The achievement by the former Germany player and manager to guide the USA to a top two finish in a group containing Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal is nothing short of remarkable.
And this achievement will only help boost ‘soccer’ in the States and their progression is fully deserved.
Germany started at an irresistible pace and quite easily could have scored twice inside the opening 15 minutes but Klinsmann’s team weathered the storm before they started to get a foothold in the game.
Graham Zusi went close for United States with a shot from outside the box following a wonderful move involving the impressive Jermaine Jones.
Jones was a whisker away from controlling Michael Bradley’s through ball before Mesut Özil, who threatened on several occasions, forced Tim Howard into a low save 10 minutes before the break.
USA were growing into the game but predictably they lacked composure in the final third with a prime example when Bradley took his eye off the ball just before the break when well placed.
Germany boss Joachim Löw introduced Miroslav Klose after the interval and it seemed inevitable that he would score, however it was Özil again that came close two minutes into the second period.
The Arsenal ace seemed set to head Jérôme Boateng’s cross past Tim Howard but Omar Gonzalez put on enough pressure to ensure he headed over.
Klose headed wide minutes later before Tim Howard was beaten by an outstanding effort from Müller.
Bastian Schweinsteiger forced Howard into a save from a corner but the Everton goalie could only parry out to Müller, who from the edge of the area curled expertly into the bottom corner for his fourth goal in the 2014 World Cup and ninth overall in the competition.
Unsurprisingly the pace of the second half didn’t match the first half levels but there was plenty of action including a sickening incident involving USA’s Jones and substitute Alejandro Bedoya.
The duo clashed accidently in the centre of the park and both were groggy afterwards before continuing.
The USA knew only a heavy defeat would realistically ruin their chances of a top two finish but as the game entered the final exchanges they came close twice to earning a credible draw.
Substitute DeAndre Yedlin raced down the wing before finding Jones, he spun his marker and Clint Dempsey found Bedoya but with the substitute ready to roll the ball past Neuer, Philipp Lahm made a timely sliding block.
Lahm’s block was excellent but Klinsmann’s side still had time to fashion one more opportunity to equalise.
The ball was whipped into the box but Dempsey headed over from close range as the entertaining clash ended in Germany’s favour.
Germany, as expected, top Group G and face Algeria in the next round on Monday and against the odds Klinsmann has taken his side into the last 16 to face Belgium next Tuesday.
The United States boss wanted USA fans to be given a national holiday for the Germany clash. He wasn’t granted his wish, but after guiding them to the knockout phase he may now get it.
Whisper it quietly but the Americans are getting quite good at this ‘soccer’.