Germany's 1-0 win over Ghana on Wednesday secured both squads a spot in the round of 16 of the World Cup, while Australia's 2-1 victory over Serbia was not enough to push them forward to the next stage.
AFP - Midfielder Mesut Ozil's second-half strike fired Germany to a 1-0 win over Ghana on Wednesday and into the World Cup last 16 where old enemies England will be waiting.
The win gave Germany top spot in Group D and a showdown with Fabio Capello's England in Bloemfontein on Sunday while Ghana face Group C winners the USA in Rustenburg on Saturday.
Ozil's superb strike from the edge of the penalty area on the hour mark proved decisive while Australia's 2-1 win over Serbia in the other Group D match was academic.
The 21-year-old goal-scorer admitted he was fired up to hit the back of the net after wasting a first-half opportunity to beat Ghana goalkeeper Richard Kingson.
"I could have already made it 1-0 in the first-half, so I was a bit annoyed with myself," said Ozil. "I was disappointed, but I knew that I would score a goal."
Delighted Germany coach Joachim Loew said he never doubted Ozil's precocious talent.
"I told him in the half-time break - you've still got a goal in you," said Loew, whose contract expires after the World Cup.
"This was an incredibly intense game and not many things worked out for us. But ultimately we have now reached the next stage.
"The Round of 16 game (against England) will be a class encounter, we are looking forward to it."
Ghana coach Milovan Rajevac was relieved to make the last 16 despite the defeat and his side will be Africa's sole representative in the next round.
"Germany has a excellent team. We had our chances and we have qualified, that's the main thing," said the Serb.
For the first time in World Cup history, two brothers lined up against each other as Manchester City's new signing Jerome Boateng came it at left-back for Germany to face elder half-brother Kevin-Prince Boateng of Ghana.
Brazilian-born striker Cacau, who started for the suspended Miroslav Klose, had the game's first chance when he was freed on the right wing, but fired straight at Kingson.
Ghana had a chance after 15 minutes when Kwadwo Asamoah played the ball into the box for Asamoah Gyan, but Bastian Schweinsteiger stepped in to snuff out the attack.
Both teams had clear chances around the 25 minute mark in a frantic period in front of a 83,391-strong crowd at Soccer City.
First Ghana's Andre Ayew broke free into penalty area, but took one touch too many, then Germany's Ozil went one-on-one with Kingson only for the Ghana goalkeeper to make the save.
Germany captain Philipp Lahm then saved a Gyan header off the line.
Ayew picked up the first booking on 39 minutes for a tackle from behind on Cacau, while Germany's Thomas Mueller was also booked on 43 minutes for a clumsy tackle on 43 minutes.
Germany spent the first five minutes after the break in the Ghana half, but Asamoah squandered a golden chance to take the lead when he fired at German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer who managed to get a glove to the shot on 52 minutes.
With an hour gone, Ozil calmed Germany's nerves with a left-footed goal from the edge of the penalty area which finally beat Kingson to give his side the lead.
Ghana then poured forward and a shot by John Pantsil was blocked by Jerome Boateng less than a minute later, while Lahm pulled off a goal-saving block on an Ayew shot which was headed goal bound moments later.
The last 20 minutes were a tense affair as Ghana constantly tested the German defence, but Joachim Loew's team held firm to maintain their country's record of having never failed to qualify from the group stages at a World Cup.
Date created : 2010-06-24