Germany are not only the favourites to top Group G at Brazil 2014, the three-time world champions are also one of the heavyweight contenders to take the title.
At the last four major tournaments – the 2006 and 2010 FIFA World Cups and the 2008 and 2012 UEFA EUROS – Germany have always made it at least as far as the semi-finals.
Nevertheless, none of the three opponents should be underestimated.
At EURO 2012, Portugal showed they are more than capable of competing with Germany on a good day, even if they narrowly lost that meeting 1-0.
The Ghanaians, who will face Portugal for the first time ever in Brazil, will be eager for revenge against Germany after a 1-0 defeat in 2010.
The Africans still made it into the knockout rounds, however, advancing at Australia’s expense on goal difference alone.
Meanwhile, under the guidance of coach Jurgen Klinsmann, USA have their sights set on emulating their achievements in 2010 in progressing to the Round of 16.
Players to watch
Cristiano Ronaldo (POR), Mesut Ozil (GER), Landon Donovan (USA), Kevin-Prince Boateng (GHA).
The crunch match
USA-Germany, 26 June 2014 (18:00)
It is not so much the teams’ respective positions in the FIFA/Coca Cola World Ranking that make this fixture so intriguing, but rather the men in the respective dugouts.
USA coach Klinsmann was at the helm of the Germany side between 2004 and 2006 and played a significant role in the country’s ‘fairytale’ World Cup in 2006.
After Klinsmann stepped down, his former assistant Joachim Low took charge and has since taken Germany’s game to another level.
A look back
USA 1-2 Ghana (a.e.t), 26 June 2010 (World Cup Round of 16)
The sides put on a thrilling display in the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenberg, with Kevin-Prince Boateng putting the Black Stars in front as early as the fifth minute.
Donovan took the game into extra time with his 62nd minute equaliser, only for Asamoah Gyan to net the winner and spark scenes of wild celebrations.
The victory meant the Africans were the continent’s only representatives at the quarter-final stage.
Did you know?
Portugal and Germany have played each other at three of the last four major tournaments, with the former coming off on the wrong side of a defeat each time.
In 2006 Germany won the match for third place 3-1, then dashed Portuguese hopes of success at the European Championship two years later in the quarter-finals before triumphing 1-0 at EURO 2012.
It was little wonder that prior to the draw Ronaldo said “it would be good if we didn’t have to play them.” Fate, it seems, had other ideas.
4 – Each of the four teams reached at least the last 16 at South Africa 2010.
Ghana’s victory over the Stars and Stripes handed them a quarter-final berth, where they lost 5-3 on penalties against Uruguay.
Eventual winners Spain proved to be too strong for both Portugal and Germany, who succumbed to 1-0 defeats in the Round of 16 and semi-finals respectively.