Germany set up England clash, Ghana salvage African pride (Roundup)

June 24th, 2010 - 4:20 am ICT by IANS  

Johannesburg, June 24 (DPA) Three-time world champions Germany advanced to the last 16 of the World Cup Wednesday by defeating Ghana 1-0 to set up a clash with old rivals England.
Despite the defeat Ghana also progressed to salvage some pride for Africa as probably the continent’s only team left in the tournament, and will now come up against the United States.

Germany emerged victorious in Johannesburg thanks to a Mesut Oezil goal on the hour to top Group D.

In Nelspruit, Australia defeated Serbia 2-1 but both go out.

Germany finished on six points, while Australia pulled level on four points with Ghana, but goal difference settled it for the Black Stars.

Serbia, who defeated Germany 1-0 Friday, finished last on three but the group was open until the final whistle in both games.

Germany meet England in Bloemfontein Sunday for a place in the quarter-finals. Ghana go to Rustenburg against the US on Saturday.

Oezil’s left-foot shot from outside the area in the Soccer City stadium made sure Germany avoided getting bounced from the first round of the World Cup for the first time in their history.

Ghana, who lost to Brazil in the Round of 16 at Germany 2006, became just the second African nation to advance out of the World Cup first phase twice following Nigeria in 1994 and 1998.

Milovan Rajevac’s Ghanaians also became the first African nation to advance to the last 16 at the first African World Cup after hosts South Africa, Nigeria, Cameroon and Algeria all were eliminated.

German coach Joachim Loew brought in Jerome Boateng for Holger Badstuber at left back to bring together a meeting on the pitch with his half-brother Kevin Prince Boateng of Ghana. It was the first time in World Cup history that brothers lined up against each other.

Germany clinched the win thanks to Oezil’s masterful left foot strike from outside the area just inside the far left post, making up for a wasted opportunity in the first half when he was through on goal but could not beat keeper Richard Kingson.

But Ghana came close to levelling, with Jerome Boateng’s leg only between Prince Tagoe’s header a minute later, and captain Philipp Lahm then got a leg on Andre Ayew’s goal-bound effort.

Lahm said: “We were under a lot of pressure but we withstood it. We’ve now reached the last 16 and the match against England is, of course, a classic.

“We can look ahead with confidence but we knew there are a few things we will have to improve.”

In Nelspruit, Australia shocked Serbia when Tim Cahill rose to head in and Brett Holman shot from distance for the second.

Marko Pantelic gave Serbia hope when Mark Schwarzer spilled a shot from Zoran Tosic and missed a golden opportunity to equalize in ther dying seconds when he shot over the bar from close range - missing a goal which would have put Serbia through and send Ghana out.

Australia coach Pim Verbeek was pleased his side ended its tournament with a victory after beginning with a 4-0 defeat by Germany.

“We played a great all-or-nothing game but unfortunately it wasn’t good enough,” he said.

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