The final and most important game of the group stage has arrived. Germany with its No. 2 FIFA ranking is widely considered one of the world’s best teams. Don’t know what to expect? We’ve got you covered below.
When and Where to Watch
Thursday, June 26th, Noon (eastern time), Live on ESPN. The match will be played in Recife, Brazil at Arena Pernambuco. Unlike the United States’ past two efforts, this showdown takes place in the early morning. It’ll be a hot and humid affair in Brazil, but at home in the states, if you’re not hard at work you shouldn’t have much trouble finding a local bar or restaurant where you can sit inside and escape the heat. Otherwise, if you’re stuck behind a desk all day you can stream the game online while dodging your boss here at your own peril, of course.
Why You Should Watch
If the cookie doesn’t crumble in the right way for the Americans, this could be the last meaningful game you see the USMNT play for another four years. This World Cup has proved yet again, in just a few weeks, how exciting and engaging soccer can be. By now, you’re likely hooked and feel an emotional connection to the team. This game should be no less entertaining than the last two, considering zero of the four teams in Group G have qualified for the next round as of yet.
If the high stakes don't do it for you, the match should provide a healthy dose of high-quality futbol. Germany boasts one of the most well balanced teams in recent memory, and they are not short on stars. Thomas Müller has recorded the tournament’s only hat trick thus far while captain Philipp Lahm leads a ferocious defense. The combined pool of talent that will take the field this Thursday should be enough to evoke countless screams and smiles throughout the 90+ minutes of play.
Who To Watch For the United States
After netting big goals in the past two games, it’s possible that Clint Dempsey could show off some more heroics against Germany as well. But looking beyond our incredible striker, Jozy Altidore’s absence has shifted the attention to some interesting substitutes to focus on. Graham Zusi performed magnificently on Sunday, providing a key assist to Dempsey for the team’s second score. The young Fabian Johnson has been taking on a larger role, and he’s fit in well with the USMNT despite his apparent disadvantages: youth and inexperience. Johnson is growing up in a hurry at the international level. If he can battle at the same level of play as Germany this match, he’ll have a legitimate claim to his long awaited manhood.
Jermaine Jones, one of the many German-American players on the U.S. roster, is coming off a match in which he struck a beautiful equalizer between the posts that surprised Portugal's keeper and the entire American nation. Jones was one of the most well prepared men on the field last match. Hopefully he can repeat that awe-inspiring performance against his native country.
Why the U.S. Will Walk Away Victorious
In this particular case, a victory will come in the form of a win or a draw. We simply need a single point to put us out of the reach of Portugal and Ghana, sending us into the next round. Germany is in the exact same position as the United States, albeit with better footing in the case of a goal-differential-tiebreaker. It would be great if the two sides could agree upon an exhibition game, but who knows how competitive the match will actually be. If Germany exerts its full force, it could be a rough hour-and-a-half for the American side. Still, considering the States’ current form, it’s not out of the question for us to contest a German bid to take the No. 1 spot in Group G.
The United States needs to win, draw, or lose by the minimal amount of goals. Additionally, if Portugal wins, they will need an extremely positive margin of victory to surpass the U.S. in goal differential. We’ve looked ready for the past two matches, don’t expect any less from Klinsmann and crew in this one. The world, including all of America, will be watching. The only things that's left is for the USMNT to deliver once and for all.
Clint Dempsey does it again, with the United States’ lone goal coming in the 65th minute. Germany’s Müller, coming back from an injury against Ghana, scores in the 33rd minute of the first half, but a 1-1 draw passes the Americans through to the round of 16.