Germany relieved about World Cup survival; Ghana proud about it

Germany relieved about World Cup survival; Ghana proud about it

Three-time champions Germany gave a sigh of relief after their 1-0 over Ghana put them in the Round of 16, but Ghana also remain in the World Cup as probably the only African side, DPA reported.

Coach Joachim Loew was happy that his young team survived the group stage, but must now face old foes England with key midfield man Bastian Scheweinsteiger a major doubt.

"It would not exactly help our game if Schweinsteiger can't play," said Loew.

Schweinsteiger limped out of the Ghana game with a thigh muscle injury after playing a big role in Germany's narrow win from Mesut Oezil's blast on the hour.

Germany lacked flair again in Johannesburg and the match could have gone in Ghana's favour had not goalkeeper Manuel Neuer made a few saves and the Africans made more of their chances.

Central defender Per Mertesacker played one of his worst matches and his partner at the back, Arne Friedrich, knew that improvement is required against Fabio Capello's side.

"We did not play well against Ghana. This performance won't be enough against England - in all areas of the team," said Friedrich.

Loew said: "If though England has not shown its best form - this team has outstanding players, be it (Steven) Gerrard, (Frank) Lampard, (Joe) Cole and of course Wayne Wayne Rooney. This team is highly dangerous."

But Loew also drew some positive conclusions from the test against the well-organized Ghana for his young players, many of whom are playing in their first big event.

"It is good that the youngsters went through such a difficult game, a match which was a do-or-die one for us. Now we are looking forward to the game against England."

Unless the final round of matches in Group G at the World Cup produce a nine-goal swing in favour of the Ivory Coast, Ghana's Black Stars will be the only African team in the round of the last 16.

Defender John Paintsil said that they knew they carried the hopes of the entire continent on their shoulders.

"We all know that this is the first time that the World Cup is being held in Africa and people were hoping that African teams would do well. Now we are the only ones left.

"I do not think though that it is right to say that all the African countries have done badly. Some of them were very unlucky. Look at South Africa, for example. They gave away a penalty against Uruguay, but there was offside first," he said.

The Fulham player, who will be facing American team-mate Clint Dempsey in the round of the last 16, said that he was hoping that they could go even further.

"We are happy that things have gone our way. We know that if we beat the US, we will face Uruguay or South Korea in the quarter- finals and those are matches we could win," he said.

Germany, by contrast, will meet either Lionel Messi's Argentina or Mexico if they beat England, a more difficult path towards the final.

The one issue that will worry Ghana coach Milovan Rajevac ahead of his game is that his team is finding it very difficult to score. Although they beat Serbia and Australia 1-0, both goals were scored from the penalty spot by Asamoah Gyan

"We are creating many chances and there will come a time when we score," Rajevac said. "Maybe we were lacking concentration, but I think we are on the right track. I would be very happy if we could score more goals."

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