USA vs. Germany
Thursday, June 26th
United States (The Yanks)
Players to watch:
- Tim Howard, goalkeeper: Howard has been a stud in the first two games despite with 8 saves, 4 against Ghana and 4 against Portugal. His one-handed save against Nani in the 45th minute Sunday basically saved his team's neck. He'll need to be at his best against Germany's organized attack for the Yanks to have any sort of chance.
- Clint Dempsey, forward: Mask? What mask? Guy has two goals in the last two games. Plus, after talk about the star striker covering his face up against Portugal following a blow to the nose against Ghana, not only did Dempsey say thanks but no thanks, he scored what many thought was the game winner. Until it wasn't.
- Jurgen Klinsmann: Talk about personal. Klinsmann is not only one of the most heralded German strikers (he did lead West Germany to the 1990 World Cup title), but he also coached Die Mannschaft to a third round finish in 2006. So yeah. It's personal.
Germany (Die Mannschaft)
Players to watch:
- Thomas Müller, midfielder: Scored a hat trick in the 4-0 win over Portugal then set up the assist for Mario Goetze's goal before taking a shoulder to the head in the draw against Ghana. The injury was pretty gruesome and required stitches. He should be ready against the Yanks on Thursday.
- Miroslav Klose, forward: His goal off the bench was the equalizer against Ghana that tied him with Ronaldo for most goals in World Cup play.
- Joachim Lowe: Assisted then German head coach Klinsmann before taking over in 2006. Similar to Klinsmann in his effort to recruit young blood instead of relying on the veterans.
There will be similarities in play if nothing else because the two head coaches worked alongside each other and know one another very well. In the end will the Yanks' athleticism be enough to contend with Germany's size? Another midfield battle awaits and a draw here is good enough for both to move on. Neither side, however, is willing to concede.
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