Germany are not only the favourites to top Group G at Brazil 2014, the three-time world champions are also one of the heavyweight contenders to take the title. At the last four major tournaments – the 2006 and 2010 FIFA World Cups™ and the 2008 and 2012 UEFA EUROS – Germany have always made it at least as far as the semi-finals.
Nevertheless, none of the three opponents should be underestimated. At EURO 2012, Portugal showed they are more than capable of competing with Germany on a good day, even if they narrowly lost that meeting 1-0. The Ghanaians, who will face Portugal for the first time ever in Brazil, will be eager for revenge against Germany after a 1-0 defeat in 2010. The Africans still made it into the knockout rounds, however, advancing at Australia’s expense on goal difference alone. Meanwhile, under the guidance of coach Jurgen Klinsmann, USA have their sights set on emulating their achievements in 2010 in progressing to the Round of 16.
Germany topped Group C with an unbeaten record, sealing automatic qualification for the 2014 FIFA World Cup™ with nine victories from ten fixtures. Furthermore, coach Joachim Low’s charges hit 36 goals along the way, the most of any side in European zone qualifying. The three-time world champions’ eye-catching attacking displays have thrilled their fans and demonstrated why they are among the favourites to take the title in Brazil.
For the second time in succession Portugal had to go through the play-offs in order to advance to the world finals. Reprising their aggregate defeat of Bosnia and Herzegovina on the road to South Africa 2010, the Portuguese saw off Sweden 4-2 over two legs to book their place at Brazil 2014. Their hero of the hour was none other than Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored all four of their goals against the Swedes to round off a qualifying tournament full of ups and downs for Paulo Bento’s side.
Ghana survived one of the continent’s toughest qualifying groups by winning five of their six matches against 2012 African champions Zambia, Lesotho and Sudan. A 1-0 defeat in Zambia was their only set-back in a campaign that saw them outscore their opponents by 15 goals to three. That sent them into the final play-off round, where again the Black Stars were done no favours by the draw, which set them up against seven-time African champions Egypt.
The Americans had an ominous start to their final round of qualifying in the CONCACAF zone, losing out 2-1 on the road in Honduras. The result had many in the US media questioning Jurgen Klinsmann’s approach and tactics. All that suspicion quickly melted away, however, as the German proved totally up to the task, guiding the Stars and Stripesdeftly to a first-place finish in the six-team Hexagonal.
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