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Old spirit of sacrifice sees Germany safe

Last updated on: June 24, 2010 15:28 IST

Ozil's goal ensures Germany make it to Round of 16

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Pragmatic Germany had to revert to old-school tactics to see off an outstanding Ghana team 1-0 on Wednesday and reach the second round of the World Cup.

Fighting for their future in the tournament after a tame defeat against Serbia, Germany were dumbfounded in the first half against at Soccer City, as the Africans matched them all over the field.

With Michael Ballack, the team's inspiration on so many occasions, missing from this tournament through injury and striker Miroslav Klose suspended, it fell to the youngster Mesut Ozil to earn the win with a moment of pure brilliance, as he lashed a shot into the top corner from outside the box.


Image: Mesut Ozil celebrates after scoring against Ghana
Photographs: Reuters
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Ghana through after Aussies stun Serbia

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The 21-year-old Ozil took the Man of the Match award but it needed a display of pure sacrifice from every player on the German team to eke out the win that took them through as Group D winners and set up a second round match against England.

The result, coupled with Australia's surprise 2-1 win over Serbia, sent Ghana through along with Germany and on this evidence both sides will have options to make further progress.

Germany will have reminded a lot of people of their traditional virtues as the three-times world champions soaked up intense pressure in the second half.


Image: Australia's Tim Cahill celebrates fater scoring

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Ghana lacked finishing touches

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Ghana, fired by the dangerous Kevin-Prince Boateng and Kwadwo Asamoah, caused so many problems that Bastian Schweinsteiger and Sami Khedira spent most of their time fighting fires inside their own half.

It says much for Ghana's skill, spirit and workrate that even after Ozil's superb goal they continued to rattle Germany and it needed a captain's display from right-back Philipp Lahm to keep the defence in any sort of shape.

On and on the Ghana forwards attacked, probing Germany full-back Jerome Boateng -- brother and opponent of Kevin-Prince -- and keeping goalkeeper Manuel Neuer busy throughout.

That they could not find a goal may suggest Ghana will find themselves short of a great finisher when they go on to face the United States in their last 16 game.


Image: Germany's goalkeeper Neuer makes a save next to Ghana's Mensah

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Defence was key to Germany's success

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Their consolation will be that few sides will show such teamwork and organisation in defence as this German team.

Joachim Loew's side have shown a scrappy side to their game quite in keeping with the World Cup winning teams of the past.

Loew would doubtless prefer to see them playing with the quick passing and adventure that marked the Australia game but every great team needs a back-up option and Germany can feel pretty good about having road-tested theirs.


Image: Philipp Lahm and Asamoah

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