PORTO SEGURO, Brazil (AP) — Germany repeated its feat from four years ago by opening the World Cup with a 4-0 victory. Now it's hoping there won't be a repeat of its second game in South Africa when it takes on Ghana on Saturday.
The Germans routed Australia to start its 2010 campaign, but then lost to Serbia 1-0 in the next game. After beating Portugal 4-0 in Brazil on Monday, Germany is wary of another letdown in Fortaleza against Ghana — the same team it beat 1-0 in its third game in South Africa to reach the knockout round.
"The second match from four years ago is a warning," Germany defender Per Mertesacker said. "We opened very well, then lost. We'll have to take it very seriously."
Ghana lost its opening match 2-1 to the United States and can't afford another loss, while Germany would all but clinch a spot in the knockout rounds with another win.
A big downside from the opening win, though, was an injury picked up by central defender Mats Hummels. Hummels did not practice with the team on Thursday and a decision on his fitness won't be made until shortly before the match.
"I hope he will be able to play, we've just started getting accustomed to playing alongside each other and to have more confidence," Mertesacker said. "It would be a little question mark if Mats can't play but we all know what we have to do."
The rematch also brings together again the Boateng half-brothers, Jerome, a Germany defender, and Kevin-Prince, a forward for Ghana, who started on the bench against the United States. Regardless of whether he starts on Saturday, the Germans are quite familiar with their opponents.
"Ghana is a very physical team, they try to outplay you, they want to shine," Mertesacker said. "They are a dangerous team and we'll have to be very clever, especially in the heat. We'll have to play good defense."
Ghana team officials have denied reports of a "player revolt" against coach Kwesi Appiah following the loss to the United States.
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