2014 World Cup: Mixed emotions for Germany's Jerome Boateng ahead of Ghana clash
Germany defender Jerome Boateng admits to having a few mixed feelings ahead of Saturday’s FIFA World Cup clash with Ghana.
After keeping Cristiano Ronaldo quiet as Germany cruised to a 4-0 win over Portugal, Boateng is once again set to start as right full-back with Philipp Lahm keeping his place as a defensive midfielder.
However, it is not so much his position which is causing Boateng such heartache, but the fact he will be up against his brother Kevin-Prince Boateng and his father’s homeland, a country he has yet to visit in person.
“My father tells me that games in Ghana are like bank holidays, and my family members from Germany say the same,” he said. “The whole family come together and have a good time. It’s very important for me to visit Ghana one day, and that makes it all the more regrettable that I’ve not managed to yet.
“Such a large part of my family lives there and it interests me to know how they play, what conditions the people have there. From my family members, I know that they all watch my games. I know how much they get involved.”
Boateng could prove quite unpopular among his family on Saturday with a win for Germany potentially enough to send Ghana home after just two matches. He has already cut off all contact with half-brother Kevin-Prince, the Schalke midfielder who may be lining up against him. That was more intentional, however.
“It is a bit strange but I’m not missing our regular contact,” he said on the website of the German federation. “The World Cup is a special situation and I think it just wouldn’t be right if we remained in touch with each other. I am with Germany and my full focus is on my tasks here.”
Brother Kevin-Prince is not a certainty to start having been left on the bench for Ghana’s first game – a 2-1 defeat to the United States.
Meanwhile, Germany will be without Mats Hummels, who heavily bruised his thigh in their opening match. Sampdoria’s Shkodran Mustafi is set to replace him with Boateng potentially moving across into the centre of the back four.
It is the third time Germany have met Ghana, the second in a major tournament. Four years ago, Joachim Low’s men picked up a 1-0 win at the World Cup, although back then, both sides progressed to the knockout stage.
Defeat in Fortaleza on Saturday could end Ghana’s proud record of never having been knocked out of a FIFA World Cup in the group stage.