Germany needed only a draw to progress out of the group stage in the World Cup but they beat the USA with Andre Schurrle involved late on, while Ghana’s defeat by Portugal sends them home.
Christian Atsu started his third game in Brazil and completed the 90 minutes for the first time, but having come back from a goal down at half-time in Brasilia, Ghana lost 2-1 to a late Cristiano Ronaldo goal.
A single strike was enough for Germany to beat Jurgen Klinsmann’s United States side in heavy rain in Recife. That came on 55 minutes, a sweet strike from the edge of the area by Thomas Muller to draw him level with Neymar and Lionel Messi on four goals for the tournament.
The USA put their opponents under pressure at times but a combination of timely defending and poor finishing kept their chances out. Schurrle was introduced on 89 minutes, replacing Mesut Ozil, and had time to shoot on target but his effort was blocked.
The United States go through to the knockout due to a superior goal difference over Portugal who had the better of the early stages against Ghana.
Ronaldo hit the bar from out wide on five minutes and had a free-kick saved soon after. The Real Madrid man then should have scored with a close-range header but was denied by lightning reactions from Adam Kwarasey,
Instead it was one of his own players who eventually beat the Ghana goalie. John Boye sliced a clearance horribly but it still needed rebounds off the bar and post to go in. The defender got away with another wayward connection before half-time so Ghana went in at the interval just a goal down.
Asamoah Gyan went close with a shot shortly into the second half before levelling the match after 56 minutes, deftly heading in from an extraordinarily crafted cross from Juventus’s Kwadwo Asamoah. Majeed Waris should have put Ghana ahead from a Gyan cross as they continued to enjoy the better of game. Atsu, though contributing, was less prominent than in the two previous games.
However with 10 minutes to go, Ronaldo was gifted his first goal of this World Cup by a combination of poor defending and goalkeeping. Ghana nearly drew the scores level again through substitute Mubarak Wakaso and Ronaldo was twice denied a second goal by far better keeping from Kwarasey.
Germany now play the team who finish second in Group H, to be decided later in the evening. It is currently led by Belgium with six points from Algeria who are second on three points, ahead of Russia and South Korea on one.