FORTALEZA, Brazil — Miroslav Klose rescued a point for Germany, and equaled the World Cup scoring record in the process.
Germany was held to an entertaining 2-2 draw by Ghana on Saturday and needed Klose’s second-half equalizer to avoid another second-game letdown that has plagued the team in recent tournaments.
Klose now has 15 career World Cup goals, equaling the mark set by former Brazil star Ronaldo. He celebrated the goal with his trademark somersault.
“It wasn’t perfect, but I can’t remember the last time I did it,” Klose said. “Still, 15 goals in 20 matches, that’s not bad.”
Just like in 2010, Germany won its opening game of the World Cup 4-0 but struggled in its second game. Four years ago, it was beaten 1-0 by Serbia, and the Germans were on the verge of losing again on Saturday. The draw was good news for the United States, however, as the Americans would advance from the group if they beats Portugal on Sunday.
“Ghana really threw everything they had at us. It was a very animated match. Both teams had many chances, and many counterattacks,” Germany coach Joachim Loew said. “That’s not how the match was planned, but that’s how it turned out.”
Klose scored the equalizer in the 71st minute, less than two minutes after coming on as a substitute, when a corner by Toni Kroos was flicked to the far post by Benedikt Hoewedes and the striker slid in to knock the ball into the roof of the net.
Ronaldo reacted with a tweet: “Welcome to the club (hashtag)klose. I can imagine your happiness!!!! What a great Cup!!!?”
Mario Goetze had put Germany ahead in the 51st, but Ghana equalized three minutes later through Andre Ayew.
Ghana captain Asamoah Gyan then put the Africans ahead in the 63rd, only to see Klose cancel out his goal.
The 36-year-old Klose is in his fourth World Cup and had been level with former Germany striker Gerd Mueller on 14 goals. Ronaldo also scored his 15th against Ghana, in a 3-0 win in 2006 in Germany.
With coach Joachim Loew preferring to play with a “false nine” system without a striker, Klose sat out Germany’s opening 4-0 rout of Portugal. But with Ghana threatening to put a damper on Germany’s hope of winning the group, Loew turned to his veteran, who delivered again.
“I am very happy for Klose. He was on the pitch for two minutes and he scored. It’s sensational for his career,” Loew said. “He is a player who can come on and have a decisive impact. That’s great for me, for the team, and for him.”
Still, the result revived Ghana’s hopes of progressing after its opening 2-1 loss to the United States.
“It was a good competitive game. We did our best and we had many other chances that could have produced goals,” Ghana coach James Appiah said. “Ghanaians have a strong mentality when it comes to football, to fight to the end to matter what is happening. Playing against Germany is difficult especially when you are a goal down. So you have to have the right players with the right mentality on the pitch.”
Germany took the lead when Thomas Mueller sent a dipping cross toward Goetze, who attempted a header but the ball bounced off his left knee into the net.
Germany’s lead lasted only three minutes.
Ayew rose between Per Mertesacker and Shkodran Mustafi to head the equalizer inside the far post from a cross from Harrison Affu.
With the non-German side of crowd loudly behind the Ghana team, the African side kept putting pressure on the favored Germans. Gyan beat an offside trap by Mats Hummels and Mertesacker in the 63rd, ran into space and fired the ball past goalkeeper Manuel Neuer into the far corner to raise Ghana’s hopes of an upset.
In between the first two goals, a fan ran onto the pitch waving his shirt. He did not threaten any players but shook hands with Ghana’s Sully Muntari, who escorted him off the field before he was picked up by a security official. Ushers then moved to block stairwells leading to the pitch.
Both teams had late chances to grab the winner but Neuer and his Ghana counterpart Fatawu Dauda produced good saves.
Muntari picked up a late yellow card late in the match for his second booking and will miss his team’s final group game against Portugal.
Schalke forward Kevin-Prince Boateng played from the start for Ghana, pitting him against half-brother Jerome Boateng, a Germany defender. There was little contact between the two and Jerome was substituted at halftime with a hip injury.
Mueller, who scored a hat trick against Portugal, had to be helped off the pitch after the match with a bloodied face after colliding with John Boye.
Nigeria 1, Bosnia-Herzegovina 0
CUIABA, Brazil — Nigeria eliminated Bosnia-Herzegovina from World Cup contention with a 1-0 win Saturday, with Peter Odemwingie’s first-half goal getting the African champions closer to the knockout stage.
Odemwingie sealed Nigeria’s first victory at a World Cup since 1998 – spanning 10 matches – by finishing from close range in the 29th minute after one of a string of powerful runs by fellow striker Emmanuel Emenike. The result put tournament newcomer Bosnia-Herzegovina out of contention.
The Bosnians faded after a bright start, during which star striker Edin Dzeko had a goal contentiously disallowed for offside, and is still without a point in Group F following a 2-1 defeat to Argentina in its opener.
A draw would have given the Bosnians something to play for in their last group match, against Iran, but Dzeko had a shot tipped onto the post by goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama in the final few seconds.
“I don’t have any recriminations,” Bosnia-Herzegovina coach Safet Susic said. “They are all depressed, disappointed, silent.”
Nigeria needs a point against Argentina on Wednesday to be guaranteed a spot in the Round of 16 – and a surprise win would secure top spot in the group.
With Africa’s five teams starting the World Cup with just one win from their first eight matches, the continent was able to enjoy a rare success in Brazil.
Argentina 1, Iran 0
BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil — The way Iran was defending, it was always going to take a little magic from Lionel Messi to send Argentina into the second round of the World Cup.
Until stoppage time on Saturday, Messi had been stifled by Iran’s solid back line. Then, out of nowhere, the Argentina captain produced something very special, as he has done so many times for Barcelona, by scoring a stunning goal for a 1-0 victory.
Goalkeeper Sergio Romero, who watched the goal from the other end of the pitch, said Messi “rubbed his magic lamp and we won.”
Messi was more pragmatic.
“When I saw that I had scored I was very happy, because we were in added time already and wanted to qualify for the next phase,” he said.
Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella watched as Iran tightly marked his star player, but said he always had faith that Messi might deliver when it counted.
“Messi continued on throughout the match,” Sabella said. “He had perseverance, patience, attitude. He always had an eye for goal in his own way.”
It was Messi’s third World Cup goal since 2006. The fixture was also significant for him because it was his 88th Argentina appearance, surpassing Diego Maradona’s 87.