Arena Pernambuco, Recife
June 26, 2014; 17:00 BST
Germany have won both the previous two World Cup fixtures between these two sides, but USA did manage to win 4-3 in a friendly held last year. Now The Yanks face the Germans in a crucial Group G clash tonight as both teams look to secure their place in the next round.
A draw tonight will see both these teams qualify for the next round, but a defeat for either of the team will mean they will have to wait for the result between Portugal and Ghana.
Germany, who made a fantastic start to the tournament with a massive win over Portugal in their opening game, were held to a 2-2 draw against Ghana in their last match with Mirosalv Klose’s late equalizer securing a point for Joachim Low’s men. USA on the other hand was at the receiving end of a late equalizer in their game as Silvestre Varela scored for Portugal to snatch a draw from Jurgen Klinsmann’s side.
Both the teams might opt to play a cautious game in this fixture as both know that a draw is good enough to qualify them for the next round, but a win will that they avoid Belgium in the round of 16 and get an easier draw.
Team news and tactics
Jurgen Klinsmann’s only injury concern at the moment is that of Sunderland striker Jozy Altidore. The 24-year-old striker missed the match against Portugal with a hamstring injury, and although he seems to have recovered from that injury, he will continue to sit on the bench for this game.
Klinsmann is expected to field an unchanged line-up in this match as a draw will be enough to see them through. Stoke City defender Geoff Cameroon, who struggled a bit against Portugal and was at fault for the goal scored by Nani, will keep his place in the starting line-up alongside Matt Besler.
Kyle Beckerman and Besiktas midfielder Jermaine Jones will form the pivot in the 4-2-3-1 formation with Clint Dempsey, who scored USA’s second goal against Portugal in their last game, will lead the line of attack. Both of these midfielders will have to keep a close eye on Thomas Muller and Mario Gotze, who have a knack of make late runs into the box.
In attack USA will be looking to exploit the wings against Germany. The German side have looked defensively vulnerable in wide areas with Joachim Low opting to start with center backs as their full backs. Graham Zusi and Alejandro Bedoya will be keen to stretch the German defence and provide the width.
Expected starting line-up (4-2-3-1): Howard (GK); Johnson, Cameron, Besler, Beasley; Jones, Beckerman; Bedoya, Bradley, Zusi; Dempsey
Joachim Low has an injury concern of his own to contain with ahead of this crucial fixture. Jerome Boateng, who picked up a knock in the match against Ghana and was replaced at half-time, will miss this game. Sami Khedira, who also picked up a knock in that match and was replaced in the second half, has however recovered from it and is expected to feature.
Low does have some selection headaches ahead of this fixture. While his attack is mostly settled, he might need to tinker with his defence and midfield. He has used Boateng and Benedikt Howedes as his full backs in the last two games, but now with the absence of Boateng, he will have to reshuffle his backline – which might not be a bad thing at the hind sight considering how vulnerable the German defence has been in the wide areas.
Low could either use Philipp Lahm as a right back for this game, bringing in Bastian Schweinsteiger into the starting line-up in place of Boateng, or, he could use Shkodan Mustafi as a right back and stick with Lahm in the midfield. But considering the importance of the game, Low is unlikely to take a gamble with an inexperienced defender in his back line and Lahm will shift to right back.
Schweinsteiger, who is yet to start a game in the World Cup, will feature in this game and even if Low opts to retain Lahm in the midfield, Khedira will drop down to the bench to make way for the 29-year-old midfielder.
Expected starting line-up (4-3-3): Neur (GK); Lahm, Mertesacker, Hummels, Howedes; Kroos, Schweinsteiger, Khedira; Gotze, Muller, Ozil
Players to watch-out for: Clint Dempsey (USA); Mario Gotze (Germany)
Prediction: USA 1-2 Germany