Germany and Ghana face each other in a crucial Group G affair for both sides Saturday on Day 10 of the FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
Die Mannschaft could tighten their grasp at the top while the Black Stars try to rebound from their loss to the United States.
Meanwhile, Lionel Messi and Argentina play Iran in Group F where La Albiceleste can also take a stranglehold in their group. Nigeria battles Bosnia and Herzegovina in a must-win for both nations.
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Lionel Messi has to assert his dominance
Lionel Messi has split opinions in terms of his status as one of the greatest players of all-time. Half say that he has to win a World Cup to be in the conversation, while the other half claim that the Barcelona forward is already there.
Argentina has an easy group on paper, though they had a problem breaking through Bosnia and Herzegovina in their opening match. Messi eventually clinched the 2-1 victory thanks to his fine strike in the second half.
Now he’ll face Iran, who is a much inferior opponent. However, it’s crucial that Messi delivers at least a couple of goals, mainly for his confidence. If he can at least complete a brace that will not only keep some of the critics at bay, but it’ll also demonstrate the 26-year-old’s intent.
Messi may not truly meet his match until the knockout stages, but the next two matches are massive ones for his morale. If he fails to impress, then he won’t hear the end of it from fans, media, and critics.
Ghana needs midfield balance
In Ghana’s 2-1 defeat to the United States, the Black Stars lacked creativity in the final third until Kevin-Prince Boateng and Michael Essien were substituted into the game in the second half.
Despite 62 percent possession, Ghana recorded just three shots on target. The U.S. had four from eight attempts in total. Manager Akwasi Appiah claims that the decision to leave Essien and Boateng on the bench was purely tactical.
Appiah may not have the luxury of resting either player against Germany. Essien is a proper anchor in the midfield and Boateng sparks the attack with killer through balls and technique on the ball. That, and them some, will be necessary against Germany.
If the midfield balance is off, the Germans will have a field day. Especially with their star-studded midfield and interchanging three man attack in Thomas Müller, Mario Götze, and Mesut Özil.
Bosnia has to capitalize on Nigerian midfield
Bosnia and Herzegovina recovered very well after Sead Kolasinac’s own goal against Argentina. Miralem Pjanic and Zvjezdan Misimovic were leading that pushback. This time the Bosnians should get a lucky break against a slow Nigerian midfield and defence.
Nigeria was hardly tested against Iran, who sat deep and defended against a talented Super Eagles attack. Bosnia’s midfield is not only faster, but it has a set lineup, whereas their opposition is still struggling to find a proper number 10.
This is a must-win match for both, but Bosnia has the best shot at making a run in the knockout stages. Their entire starting 11 is stronger than Iran (their next opponent), especially at the back, so they shouldn’t have any problems containing Nigeria’s front three.
It all depends what Pjanic and Misimovic can produce. They were able to do it against Argentina, surely it can be done versus a lackluster Nigeria backline.