FORTALEZA, Brazil — Ghana and Germany shared the spoils at Estadio Castelao on Saturday by playing to an enthralling 2-2 draw.
A scoreless opening period gave way to an entertaining second half as Mario Gotze opened the scoring for the Germans in the 51st minute.
Ghana leveled the score three minutes later through Andre Ayew and battled back to gain the lead through Asamoah Gyan’s 63rd-minute strike, but Miroslav Klose struck in the 71st minute to help Germany salvage a point.
The result keeps Group G wide open as all four teams have a realistic chance of advancing to the knockout round.
Germany remains atop the group on four points and is trailed by the United States on three points, Ghana on one point and Portugal on zero points. The Americans, however, can book a spot in the next round with a victory over Portugal at the Arena Amazonia on Sunday.
The Germans regrouped at halftime and wasted little time in breaking the deadlock upon their return to the pitch as Gotze notched the opener in the 51st minute. The 22-year-old got on the end of Muller’s cross and nodded the delivery off his own knee and into the back of the net.
But the lead was short-lived as Ghana leveled the score three minutes later. Andre Ayew again did the honors, following up his equalizer against the United States on Monday by heading home Harrison Afful’s free kick in the 54th minute.
Ghana grabbed the go-ahead goal nine minutes later when Gyan latched on to Muntari’s through ball and slotted a shot just past the outstretched arm of Neuer, becoming the first African player to score at three World Cup tournaments.
Desperate for a tying goal, Low threw Klose into the match in the 69th minute and the 36-year-old striker delivered almost immediately, bringing Germany back on equal terms two minutes later.
Toni Kroos delivered a corner kick into the danger area that was flicked on by Benedikt Howedes and turned in by Klose for his 15th World Cup goal, bringing him level with Ronaldo for the most all-time.
Argentina 1, Iran 0
Lionel Messi staged some late heroics at the Estadio Mineirao on Saturday, scoring in the first minute of stoppage time to rescue Argentina in a 1-0 defeat of Iran.
Iran put up a valiant effort and came close to taking a shock lead on several occasions, but Messi’s individual moment of brilliance late in the contest proved to be the difference between the two nations.
Argentina, which opened the tournament with a 2-1 defeat of Bosnia- Herzegovina, improves to six points top remain atop Group F and book a spot in the knockout round for the third straight World Cup.
Iran made a bright start to the second half and asked a big question of Romero in the 53rd minute when Reza Ghoochannejhad put a powerful header on frame, but the Monaco ‘keeper was equal to the task, blocking the attempt to prevent Argentina from falling behind.
Iran was ultimately left to rue its missed chances as Messi popped up with a vital winner in the first minute of stoppage time.
The Barcelona man took a square pass from Ezequiel Lavezzi and eluded a defender before curling an inch-perfect shot with his left foot that nestled just inside Haghighi’s far post.
Nigeria 1, Bosnia-Herzegovina 0
Bosnia-Herzegovina was eliminated from the World Cup on Saturday after suffering a 1-0 loss to Nigeria at the Arena Pantanal.
The defeat did not come without controversy as Bosnia saw a legitimate goal pulled back halfway through the opening period due to an incorrect offside decision.
It proved to be a pivotal moment in the match as Peter Odemwingie gave Nigeria the lead in the 29th minute. The African side never looked back from that point on, closing out the match behind a few key saves from Vincent Enyeama to improve to four points in Group F.
The result gives Nigeria a tremendous chance of getting to the knockout round as it needs just a point from its finale against Argentina on Wednesday to be sure of a spot in the round of 16. The African nation will advance if Iran fails to defeat Bosnia-Herzegovina at the Arena Fonte Nova, also on Wednesday.
Bosnia-Herzegovina thought it had taken the lead in the 21st minute of Saturday’s clash when a well-worked move around the box culminated with Edin Dzeko getting through on goal and slotting a shot past Enyeama, but the strike was disallowed with the Manchester City man judged to have been in an offside position when the through ball was played, a harsh decision as television replays showed that Dzeko was a foot onside at the time of the delivery.