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Group G Watch

Ozil Goes Down! Ronaldo Goes for Goal! Gyan Goes!

The light has gone from the Arsenal, who left at halftime against Bayern Munich with an injury. But don't worry: Cristiano Ronaldo can't be stopped, nor can Asamoah Gyan.
BY Blake Thomsen Posted
March 12, 2014
11:25 AM
Even if no Group G player matched the quality displayed by Aron Johannsson over the weekend, it was still a strong showing for the U.S.’s future foes. As always, ASN brings you everything you need to know.

Premier League

Germany’s Mesut Ozil has come under substantial criticism in both England and Germany for his lethargic play of late, but he looked reenergized in Arsenal’s 4-1 FA Cup win over Everton. Ozil scored the Gunners’ opener before later assisting Olivier Giroud. ) Ozil’s promising week was cut short, however, as he limped off at halftime in yesterday’s 1-1 draw against Bayern Munich with a hamstring injury that will keep him out for at least two weeks.


The red-hot Thomas Muller scored Bayern’s first two goals in its 6-1 rout of Wolfsburg, giving him five goals in his last three Bundesliga games. He also added a nifty assist with the outside of his right foot (all highlights below). Muller already faces little competition for the right midfield role for Germany, and given his current form, he is a virtual certainty to start every game in Brazil.

Elsewhere in the Bundesliga, Schalke cruised to a 4-0 win over Fabian Johnson and Hoffenheim, with a pair of Group G stars contributing to the effort. German starlet Julian Draxler picked up two assists, while Ghana’s Kevin Prince-Boateng added an assist of his own. Draxler has been quiet in this space due to a lengthy injury, but the 20 year-old midfielder looks to be rounding into form as the World Cup approaches. He’s unlikely to start over the likes of Marco Reus, Mario Gotze, or Andre Schurrle in Brazil, but he could certainly feature off the bench at either left mid or in the hole behind the striker.

Champions League

Six German internationals started in yesterday’s Champions League knockout stage clash between Arsenal and Bayern Munich. Bastian Schweinsteiger opened the scoring for Bayern before Lukas Podolski did his best Landon-Donovan-against-Slovenia impression by scoring a thunderous close range equalizer for Arsenal. German and Bayern keeper Manuel Neuer humorously explained his position on the Podolski goal, saying: “I know Podolski very well, and I know his left leg. The first thing I thought was not to save the shot but to hide my face.” Well Landon, we’ve found Neuer’s weakness—might be time for a déjà vu goal in Brazil. )

La Liga

It wouldn’t be a Group G Watch without a Cristiano Ronaldo goal, would it? The Portuguese sensation showcased an underrated part of his game with this towering header against Levante. ) The USMNT has been slightly vulnerable against corners over the past year—it better be on high alert when Ronaldo is lurking in the box.

Serie A

Kwadwo Asamoah isn’t known for his goal scoring—he has just two in all competitions this year—but that didn’t stop him from netting a deflected winner after creating space in the box via some nifty footwork. ) Asamoah has starred for Juventus all season long, so much so that he has risen to the number one spot on Ghanaian Soccer Now’s player rankings, surpassing Asamoah Gyan and Kevin Prince-Boateng in the process. (Okay not really, but he’d probably be in the top spot if a GSN100 existed).


Christian Atsu’s case for a World Cup starting spot for Ghana is growing stronger by the week. The Chelsea loanee picked up an assist for Vitesse for the second straight week, continuing a strong 2014. Atsu started Ghana’s friendly last week against Montenegro—albeit with several starters missing. At this point he may be playing well enough to justify staying in the starting lineup even when Ghana is at full strength.

Turkish Super Lig

When the U.S. meets Portugal on June 22 in the Manaus, the players will need to be prepared for brutal playing conditions in the sweltering heat and humidity of the Amazon. But Portugal’s Raul Meireles will hardly bat an eye in the face of such conditions. After being on the receiving end of flying projectiles thrown from the stands in Fenerbahce’s suspended game at Trabzonspor, Meireles will find playing in the Amazon to be a piece of cake.

Right this second, how are you feeling about the U.S.’s chances of progressing? Other than Ronaldo, which U.S. opponent will Jurgen Klinsmann need to focus on the most? Let us know in the comments section below.

Blake Thomsen is a frequent ASN contributor who has never thrown projectiles on the field at a Turkish Super Lig game. Follow him on twitter.

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