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Germany vs Ghana World Cup 2014: Miroslav Klose's record-equalling strike cannot paper over the cracks for one of tournament's favourites

Portugal thrashing covered cracks over worrying weakness

On a day when one player set his legacy by equalling a World Cup record, the match between Germany and Ghana was all about balancing reputation against the hard facts of performance.

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Most obviously, there is Jogi Low’s side and their capacity to win this tournament. It is difficult not to have some doubts. Like virtually all of the most fancied teams beforehand - a stuttering Brazil, a fitful Argentina, an eliminated Spain - they have not yet fully convinced. Instead, their backline offers real concern.

The 4-0 win over Portugal now seems somewhat illusory. For a 15-minute spell, everything went into their favour, but the fears suggested in the opening period were born out against Ghana. Then, the Portuguese repeatedly broke through the German back line until the award of a borderline penalty. Here, Ghana capitalised on that defensive chaos with two thrilling goals. Low’s team have more than a weakness. They have a wide open hotel at the back.

Of course, it should not be overlooked that Ghana made it even bigger with some magnificent football. They have been one of the most joyous teams to watch in the tournament and each of their three goals so far have been exceptional. All had a sweeping quality from the back-heels that out so many defenders to that plundered header.

It’s impossible to escape the feeling they are a better team than the USA, but Ghana are in a much worse position after that opening 2-1 defeat. That’s tournament football and you could see the regret among the African side’s players when the final whistle went. It was as if they had blown their big chance, particularly with Germany on the ropes.

Of course, that opportunity evaporated because Miroslav Klose showed his steel again. He should rightfully be recognised as a German great. The forward matched Ronaldo’s 15 World Cup goals in the most appropriate manner, by scoring a header to rescue the game.

The question is how much Germany’s admittedly excellent forward play can keep rescuing that defence.