Further proof that this is the Best...World Cup...Ever. EVER!
After Iran almost pulled off the upset of the year by outplaying Argentina, Ghana went toe-to-toe with one of the other favorites for the World Cup. Germany summarily dispatched Portugal earlier in the week, while Ghana struggled in a rather Chelsea-esque way before succumbing to a late winner from the USA. Yet for large parts of this match, it was as if the two teams had switched roles. Germany, for all their mostly useless possession, had no answer for Ghana's speed. You know when Ghana's back four and defensive midfield look more solid than the Germans, you're at the Best World Cup Ever. EVER!
Within that context, Christian Atsu stood out, especially early on. Starting once again on the right wing as against the USA, he relished the amazing mismatch that was center back Benedikt Höwedes pretending to be a left back. A tall, slow against a nimble, quick, while the obvious answer played defensive midfield instead. Can we blame Pep Guardiola for this, too?
Unfortunately for Atsu, his performance overall was quite similar to the one against the USA: much promise, not much end-product. He probably should've had an assist in the first five minutes, but Kevin-Prince Boateng shanked the inviting low cross well over the bar. Speaking of crosses, Atsu's (and Ghana's) change in plan to veer away from their Sisyphean-Moyesian death-by-crossing paid off with several testing shots at Neuer's goal, one of which was an Atsu stinger around the quarter hour mark.
After the promising first half, the 22-year-old Chelsea loanee faded a little bit more than a tiny bit in the second half and was withdrawn in favor of Mubarak Wakaso, whose biggest contribution was being offside on Ghana's final, and most promising counter of the game. Still, Christian Atsu continues to be and continues to be recognized as arguably Ghana's best player at the World Cup.
N.B. Miroslav Klose's equalizer gives him 15 World Cup goals, which ties him for most all-time with Ronaldo (the one and only). Amazing.