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United States
vs. Ghana
Result: 2-1 win
vs. Portugal
Result: 2-2 draw
vs. Germany
When: Noon Thursday
Where: Recife
TV: ESPN

US, Germany not dealing for draw

Will play it out, though tie means both advance

– There won’t be friendly phone calls, there won’t be any dirty deals. That’s the promise from both sides ahead of Germany’s final Group G match against the United States.

A draw on Thursday in Recife would see both teams advance to the knockout stage at the expense of Portugal and Ghana, who play at the same time in Brasilia.

Both sides have been answering questions about a possible conspiracy, or as the Germans call it, a “nonaggression pact,” and both have sharply rejected any suggestions of a deal.

No wonder the questions are being asked, since the Germans were jointly responsible for one of the more shameful episodes in World Cup history. Germany scored after 10 minutes against Austria at the 1982 World Cup in Gijon, Spain, and the two teams just knocked the ball around for the next 80 minutes since the outcome guaranteed a slot in the next round for both. It also eliminated Algeria, which had stunned Germany 2-1 in its opener.

After that match, FIFA made sure that final group matches are played simultaneously to reduce the possibility of a “gentlemen’s agreement.”

Germany and the United States are linked in many ways. Five players on the U.S. team have American fathers and German mothers, with four of them playing in the Bundesliga.

U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann was a star of the Germany team that won the last of its three World Cup titles in 1990. He also scored when the two teams last met at a World Cup, a 2-0 victory for Germany at the 1998 tournament in France.

In 2006 at home, Klinsmann guided Germany to a third-place finish as coach, with assistant Joachim Loew, who is now Germany’s coach. Berti Vogts, one of Klinsmann’s staff, was the coach of Germany when it won its last title, the 1996 European Championship.

Loew and Klinsmann remain good friends, but Loew has said he would not be talking to Klinsmann during the tournament.

Klinsmann, too, has dismissed any collusion.

“You’re talking about a game (in Gijon) that is decades away that is only part of the Germany history and not the United States,” Klinsmann said. “The United States is known to give everything they have in every single game. … We have that fighting spirit. We have that energy and that determination to do well in every single game.”

The German camp was equally indignant about any suggestions of a fix.

“It would be highly unsportsmanlike and unfair to other teams if anyone on the pitch had such thoughts,” defender Mats Hummels said.

Germany and the United States each has four points, while Ghana and Portugal have one each. Both Germany and the U.S. could even afford to lose and still advance, depending on the outcome of the other match. Germany has an edge because of its superior goal difference (+4) over the Americans (+1).

Altidore out

Jozy Altidore will miss the United States’ World Cup game against Germany because of his strained left hamstring. The forward was injured in the Americans’ opening 2-1 win against Ghana on June 16 and didn’t play in Sunday’s 2-2 draw against Portugal.

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