Group G seems to almost certainly be the group of death at this point. No team has truly taken control of this group which means that going into the last match. There are a number of permutations that could change who goes through to the knockout round of 16.
Germany and the United States are currently level on points, but with Germany ahead on goal difference. A draw in Thursday’s match would see both teams go through with Germany as the winner. If Germany wins the United States will need to rely on the result between Ghana and Portugal.
As it stands Germany and the U.S. have 4 points each while Germany has +4 goal difference compared to America’s +1. Ghana and Portugal each have 1 point where Ghana has a -1 goal difference and Portugal has -4.
Portugal v Ghana – Thursday, June 26 @12pm:
Ghana has looked impressive at times, but, with their one point in two matches, there must be some frustration. They were dominant against the U.S. but did not have the incisive final pass or touch or shot to get the win. Against Germany, there were times they looked very good, but their defense let them down and had to go away with a draw.
Portugal has not looked good. Even the two goals they scored against the U.S. were a result of defensive lapses by the Americans rather than quality play. Ronaldo is clearly injured and this team has truly lacked his dynamism.
My prediction is a draw. Despite struggling, Portugal has shown they can score and can benefit from defensive errors. Ghana is a team that plays well, but struggles with taking their chances while also having weaknesses at the back.
A win for Ghana could see them take second, but only if Germany defeat the U.S. and the goal difference is reversed. This is also true for Portugal, but much more difficult for them.
United States v Germany – Thursday, June 26 @ 12pm:
The biggest match of this group has gotten even bigger after both the United States and Germany failed to win their second matches. As mentioned above, all either team needs is a draw and they will both go through.
There are some who believe that Germany is not a top team anymore and some who think that the U.S. is every bit as good as Germany. I disagree. While the U.S. can produce a draw, or even a win, this Germany team is still one of the best in the world.
My prediction is a Germany win. The U.S. has put in two very draining defensive displays leading to 2-1 and 2-2 matches. These were both matches in which higher quality sides would have won. There are still mistakes in this U.S. team and the midfield has been lacking. Germany has a strong midfield and have some excellent attacking options.
With that said, there is still the chance that the Americans put in a team display that results in a draw or even a win. It has happened before and has happened in this World Cup. If they do manage this, it will be deserved.