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World Cup 2010 Group D: Germany vs. Ghana, Australia vs. Serbia

USA won Group C.  They play the second place team from Group D. Who do you root for if you’re a USA fan? You want them not to play Germany. That happens if Germany wins (likely) or Germany loses outright and is eliminated (not as likely). The Germans are the consummate tournament team. In 14 World Cup appearances since they were reinstated for 1954, the Germans have never missed the second round. They missed the quarterfinals only once in 1978. Basically, root for the Germans to win.

Ghana vs. Germany: Germany must beat Ghana to advance, or draw and hope Australia earns a result against Serbia. Ghana needs a draw. They could also go through with a loss if Australia gets a result against Serbia.

The Mannschaft will try to recreate the sexy football they played against Australia, movement, precision, penetration from all angles and many satisfied spectators. Germany need someone to replace the red-carded Klose as a scoring threat. Fortunately, they have many candidates.

With Germany gunning for a win, Ghana will attempt to hold them. Their two starting center backs return for this match. Ghana can give Germany trouble with speedy counterattacks, but must be more precise. They have yet to score a goal from open play in the tournament. Ghana have been resilient, but this is the match where Essien’s absence may hurt them.

Unless Sly Stallone is between the pipes, Germany are closers. They have won their last four final group games and their last eleven World Cup matches against non-European opponents. Klose’s red card rattled them initially, but Germany controlled Serbia with 10 men in the second half and should have drawn. The 11-man team that thumped Australia showed their true nature. They should win.

The Brothers Boateng: It’s the first brother on brother matchup in World Cup history, with Kevin Prince Boateng of Ghana facing his brother Jerome Boateng representing Germany. The Ghana brother is also Michael Ballack’s assassin, but, with so much at stake, don’t expect retribution.

Australia vs. Serbia: Australia have an outside chance. They need to win and need Ghana to beat Germany. Serbia advance with a win. They could also draw and go through with a German win and a better goal difference than Ghana.

The Serbs must cut down on fouls, penalties and hand balls at the back. They also must get something (anything) going up front. Look for them to capitalize on their skill advantage on the wings with Jovanovic and Krasic. Australia can’t account for the goal difference. Look for them to defend Serbia and try to counterattack. They lost Harry Kewell and Craig Moore due to suspension, but their best player, Tim Cahill, returns to the lineup.

Australia has lost four out of their last five to European teams without scoring. Also, there have been six red cards in the last four World Cup matches featuring Australia.

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