Portugal and Ghana are out of the 2014 World Cup despite a 2-1 win for Portugal over Ghana as a lone goal win for Germany over United States of America saw the Americans go through ahead of Portugal on goal difference.
Ghana came into the match hampered by issues over match bonuses – paid just hours before the match – and the indefinite suspension of Kevin-Prince Boateng and Sulley Muntari hours before the match.
A win by any margin would have been enough for Ghana to qualify given USA lost to Germany in the other Group G match in Recife.
It was Portugal however that made the brighter start to the match they needed to win by a at least four-goal margin to qualify, as Cristiano Ronaldo hit the crossbar with a cross in the fifth minute.
The reigning world player of the year was then denied with a reflex save by Fatawu Dauda from his point blank header in the 19th minute. A minute later, Portugal goalkeeper Beto kept out a low strike from Asamoah Gyan with his legs as the game in Brasilia opened up.
The deadlock was finally broken just past the half-hour mark when John Boye’s intended clearance of Miguel Veloso’s cross in ended up in the Ghana goal via the post.
Ronaldo shot straight at the Ghana keeper a minute later while Boye came close to scoring a second own goal just before half-time as his clearance of Nani’s cross in went just wide of the Ghana goal.
With the match between Germany and USA still goalless in Recife, Portugal started the second half on top but failed to find a second goal to boost their slim hope of progression.
That hope vanished within a minute at both venues just before the hour mark, with Thomas Müller putting Germany ahead in Recife from a rebound of Mertesacker’s effort on goal while Asamoah Gyan levelled seconds later for Ghana in Brasilia with a header off Kwadoah Asamoah’s cross.
Gyan’s goal was his second of the World Cup and put him past Roger Milla to become the highest scoring African in World Cup history with six goals.
Ghana sparked to life with Gyan’s equaliser knowing just a goal would send them through by virtue of goals scored, and it nearly came two minutes later.
Gyan sent in a cross which evaded Portugal defender Bruno Alves and fell to Majeed Waris who however sent his header just wide.
The momentum returned to Portugal afterwards and Ronaldo had a claim for a penalty waved aside by the referee before the Real Madrid forward took advantage of a mix up in the Ghana defence to put Portugal ahead.
Mensah had headed a cross in upwards near the Ghana goal amd keeper Dauda in the confusion palmed the ball back into play and to Ronaldo’s feet inside the area, with the Portugal ace smashing a low strike into the bottom corner for his first goal in Brazil.
Ronaldo came close to getting Portugal’s third minutes later only to flick a left foot effort just over from three yards out as Portugal settled for a 2-1 win which was not enough to see them through.
As a result, USA finish second in Group G and will face the winner of Group H in the next round with Group G winners Germany awaiting the runner-up from Group H.