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 summersault.
“It was complete, 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.
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. He celebrated with his trademark summersault.
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 provided again.
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.”
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.
However, the Group F match had nearly been a disaster for Argentina. Besides defending, Iran also took the match to Argentina in the second half, creating several chances to win it and cause a tournament sensation.
Iran was punished, however, for those missed chances. Messi, getting a rare touch, quickly moved the ball toward his dangerous left foot and fired a curling shot from 20 yards (meters) just beyond the reach of the diving goalkeeper and into the left corner of the net.
“In the first half, we had four or five clear chances to score a goal and in the second half, they complicated things for us with counterattacks,” Sabella said. “But having Messi resolved everything.”
CUIABA, Brazil — Nigeria eliminated Bosnia-Herzegovina from World Cup contention with a win over the tournament newcomers on Saturday, with Peter Odemwingie’s first-half goal putting the African champions close 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.
Bosnia 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. Dzeko had a shot deflected onto the post in the last seconds of the match.