Germany and the United States say they will both be going for victory when Group G ends with a tantalizing round of games on Thursday.
The U.S. and Germany, each with four points, play in Recife. A draw would see them both advance, no matter the outcome of the Brasilia game between Portugal and Ghana, which both only have one point.
“The US is known to give everything in every single game. We have that fighting spirit and that energy,” U.S. coach Juergen Klinsmann said after his country’s 2-2 draw with Portugal.
Known as a manager who builds his teams to attack, Klinsmann added: “I don’t think we are made for draws. Both teams will want to win the game and win the group. Being in the driving seat for the round of 16 is our goal.” This view was echoed by German assistant coach Hansi Flick, who said: “We want to win the game, and that’s how we will go into the game ...
We want to win the group. We will not play for a specific result. For us the playoffs have begun and we want to win.” Portugal, meanwhile, still have a mountain to climb to advance from the group, due to their inferior goal average.
“We know our position is quite difficult now,” Portugal coach Paulo Bento said. “We’re depending on third parties. We’re depending on results of other teams. There’s a high difference in goals, but that’s the only hope we have.” Portugal and Ghana have never met before, and the West Africans will be without midfielder Sulley Muntari, who is suspended for the match due to an accumulation of yellow cards.
With Belgium already through to the next round from Group H, Russia, Algeria and South Korea all have a chance of taking the coveted second spot.
All eyes will be on the game between Russia and Algeria. The North Africans impressed in their 4-2 win over South Korea, but 2018 World Cup hosts Russia have disappointed so far and have something to make up for.