Germany vs Ghana World Cup 2014 preview: Joachim Low's men easing to knockout stages as other European giants struggle

Germans were brilliant in the 4-0 win against Portugal and should continue form

While the big beats of European football have either been eliminated after two matches (Spain, England) or are teetering on the brink of elimination (Portugal, Italy) there is something serenely inevitable about German progress.

Should they beat Ghana, as they did in the last World Cup in South Africa, Joachim Low’s side can start planning for the tournament’s knockout stages having ended what appeared Africa’s best hope of progress in Brazil.

Nevertheless, while Germany traditionally power through a tournament, they invariably have problems with their second group game. In 2010, they lost to Serbia and in Euro 2008 were beaten by Croatia. In three successive World Cups in 1994, 1998 and 2002, the Germans won their opening match and drew the second. 

Ghana must hope the pattern continues because, having lost their opening game to Group G’s weakest team, the United States, they have a formidable task. Ghana actually played well in defeat against the USA with their midfield controlling much of the match and only three teams bettered their total of 21 shots on goal.

Nevertheless, the Ghana defence was shaky and uncertain and, if they perform to similar levels in Fortaleza, they might be humiliated by a German side that destroyed Portugal in their opening game in Salvador. In part this was because the Ghana coach, used the nation’s footballer of the year, Kwadwo Asamoah, who plays midfield for Juventus, as a left back. “I am not a left back and I found it difficult,” he said. “I would like to be given the chance to show what I can do.”

Low has only once injury concern ahead of the 8pm kick-off at the Estadio Castelao, with Borussia Dortmund defender Mats Hummels laid low with a thigh injury. He is likely to be replaced by Jerome Boateng with Sampdoria’s Shkodran Mustafi coming in as right back.