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Group G Watch

The Latest Updates on U.S. World Cup Opponents

Mesut Ozil had a rough day at the office but Asamoah Gyan is scoring goals for fun. Here's the latest installment of ASN's weekly Group G Watch, with insights and videos to spare.
BY Blake Thomsen Posted
December 18, 2013
5:23 PM
[Editor's note: We do this every week now, all the way up to June 2014. Click here for last week's report.]

The United States' Group G foes had something of an off weekend but still managed to make some noise across Europe and Asia. Here, we recap the most notable performances.

Premier League

  • It was an unpleasant weekend for Arsenal’s German duo, as the Gunners were trounced 6-3 at Manchester City. Mesut Ozil picked up an assist but also incited an overblown controversy. Ozil broke Arsenal tradition by not applauding the traveling support, and Per Mertesacker—likely not thrilled after conceding six goals—publicly admonished his German teammate.

  • Ghana’s Michael Essien got a rare start for Chelsea and picked up his fourth yellow card in four starts in the Blues’ 2-1 win over Crystal Palace. Andre Schurrle (Germany) recovered from his slight calf injury and made a late appearance off the bench.

    Serie A

  • The aging Miroslav Klose has been slowly drifting out of Germany’s starting XI for a few years now. But only Ronaldo (fat Brazilian Ronaldo, not Cristiano) has ever scored more goals in the World Cup, so you can expect Klose to at least be on the plane to Brazil. He doubled his league goal total this weekend with a well-taken brace against Livorno and nearly scored a hat trick, hitting the post minutes before his first goal.
    All goals - Lazio 2-0 Livorno - 15-12-2013... by video4all

  • In his first game back from an injury he picked up playing against Egypt in November, Sulley Muntari (Ghana) scored a 77th-minute equalizer for AC Milan against Michael Bradley and Roma. Muntari took Mario Balotelli’s square ball past Roma’s Dodo before firing home at the near post (1:15 mark below).

    All Goals ~ AC Milan 2-2 AS Roma ~ 16.12.2013 by mojogoals


  • Mario Gotze (Germany) scored his third goal in as many games for Bayern Munich with a delightful touch and volley (at the :42 mark below). Gotze has often been deployed as the most advanced player for Germany in recent matches and—though he does not have the physique of a typical lone forward—showed he is more than capable of scoring goals with his Thierry Henry-esque finish.

  • Kevin-Prince Boateng’s (Ghana) delivery from a corner was turned in for an own goal in Schalke’s 2-0 win over Freiburg. Schalke’s two German internationals both missed the match, center back Benedikt Howedes via red card suspension and midfielder Julian Draxler through injury. The precocious Draxler has been linked with a January move to the Premier League, but a summer move seems far more likely, as his 38 million pound release clause does not activate until the end of the season.

    La Liga

  • Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) didn’t score but did pick up an assist after some characteristically nifty footwork in Real Madrid’s disappointing 2-2 draw at Osasuna. International teammate Pepe was active in the attacking third for the second straight game, this time scoring a late equalizer for ten-man Madrid. Highlights featuring the two Portuguese begin at the 2:50 mark below.

    Turkish Super Lig

  • Hugo Almeida (Portugal) scored his 10th goal of the season in Besiktas’ 2-1 loss at Kasimpasa (see beginning of video below). The big target man has been in and out of the Portugal starting XI and is looking to solidify his place as the national team’s top center forward. Many in Portugal are calling for Ronaldo to play alone up top, but if Almeida continues to score at this rate he will like his chances of starting in Brazil.

    Arabian Gulf League

  • U.S. nemesis Asamoah Gyan (Ghana) has been scoring for fun in the Gulf League for Al Ain. Gyan scored two goals and had an assist in this weekend’s 5-2 win over Al Shaab, giving him 13 goals in just 10 games this season. Admittedly, the competition is nowhere near Premier League or even Major League Soccer level, but it’s still impressive that the Ghanaian has scored more than three times as many goals as any of his teammates.

    Thoughts? Concerns? Comments about these Group G rivals? Share them below, please.

    Blake Thomsen is a frequent ASN contributor. Follow him on Twitter.
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