Group G is finely poised for some great matches this weekend. With Germany at the top of the group and the United States second, they could both progress with wins.
Germany v Ghana – Saturday, June 21 @ 12pm: Live on ESPN and Univision
Germany put in a dominant display against Portugal even before Pepe was sent off and the game really swung in their favor. There are still some question marks, especially in the defensive areas, but they are one of the most talented squads in this World Cup.
Ghana put in a match that really should have been enough to get a win, but dominating possession is not enough to actually get a result. They took far too many shots from outside of the box and did not do well with the chances they did have. They took 21 shots, but managed to get just three of those on target.
My prediction is a dominating Germany win. Ghana could bring a surprise or two, but Germany has more than enough quality to get past the Black Stars easily. There are still some questions at the back, particularly at left back and now also at center back with Mats Hummels looking doubtful.
United States v Portugal – Sunday, June 21 @ 6pm: Live on ABC and Univision
The United States may have gotten lucky against Ghana, but their display of teamwork and solid defending was enough to ride out the storm and grab a late winner. The loss of Jozy Altidore will be damaging as it means they no longer have an out and out center forward. None of the other forwards have the same ability to hold the ball up like he does. This could affect their ability to get goals from open play.
Portugal has not gotten out to a terrible start. They had a short spell of decent play early on, but this quickly disintegrated. Ronaldo was shut down all match long and, honestly, did not look like he was ready for this match. After Pepe was sent off for his stupidity, Portugal were always going to lose heavily. The 4-0 was something of a mercy considering how poor they were.
My prediction is a draw, but this one could go either way. It remains to be seen whether Ronaldo is truly match fit or not and whether he can impose himself on this game. If he can really step up he could be the difference in this game. The U.S. needs to do more with the ball, but could exploit the flanks with Coentrao and Almeida both out.
The key for the U.S. will be whether they can shut down Ronaldo and how well they can move the ball through the midfield. There were times against Ghana that it was extremely frustrating to watch as they turned the ball over time and time again through sloppy passing in midfield.