11:19 03 June 2014
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If there is another Group of Death (apart from England’s) then this is it. There are no real dunces in this group and there is certainly potential for a surprise or two.
Germany will know all about that, having been beaten by Algeria in their opening match in 1982, before going on to reach the final).
Portugal, led by Cristiano Ronaldo, are the other big team, but brilliant though they can be, there is an element of self-destruction in there.
Ghana reached the last eight four years ago and will be looking to upset the applecart here.
The draw will provide an emotional clash for United States coach Jurgen Klinsmann, one of Germany’s greatest ever players, who led his country to the World Cup semi-finals on home soil as manager in 2006. But it is hard to look past the Europeans in this one.
Manager: Joachim Low
Star player: Manuel Neuer
Previous record: Winners ‘54, ‘74, ‘90
Summary: One of the tournament’s all-time powerhouses: Germany are third in the competition’s rankings with three World Cup triumphs. They have also been runners-up on four occasions – in 1966, 1982, 1986 and 2002.
Manager: Kwesi Appiah
Star player: Kevin-Prince Boateng
Previous record: Quarter-finals 2010
Summary: Knocked out in the last eight by Uruguay in a penalty shoot-out four years ago. Asamoah Gyan’s missed penalty kick cost them – but it only reached that stage because of a cynical handball by Luis Suarez.
Manager: Paulo Bento
Star player: Cristiano Ronaldo
Previous record: Third, 1966
Summary: Took a two-legged play-off win over Sweden for the Portuguese to earn their ticket to Brazil. Have some quality players in their squad and really must be aiming for the semi-finals.
Manager: Jurgen Klinsmann
Star player: Tim Howard
Previous record: Third, 1940
Summary: Beat the supposedly mighty England in 1950 in one of the great World Cup shocks. Best placing was in 1930 – a third place that surprisingly is, to this day, the best placing for any team outside of Europe or South America.