A stoppage-time goal from Alexander Esswein helped Germany to a 2-1 win over Ghana and a third place finish at the FIFA U-17 World Cup Korea 2007.
Blue skies and an appreciative crowd greeted both teams as they came on to the field with third place at the FIFA U-17 World Cup the target for Ghana and Germany. After losing in the semi-finals to Spain and Nigeria respectively, it seemed that both side were determined not to taste defeat in this match. Understandably, the opening was a little cagey, with clear cut chances at a premium in the opening 15 minutes.
Sascha Bigalke planted his free header safely into the arms of
Joseph Addo from 12 yards, while Ransford Osei fired into the side
netting after some good approach play. With 15 minutes gone,
Germany could have taken the lead when Bigalke's lofted pass
into the box found the outstretched boot of Richard Sukuta-Pasu,
but the ball spun wide.
The goal was not too long in coming, and when it did, it was of the highest quality.
Following a foul 25 yards from goal, which earned Philip Boampong a booking, Germany captain Toni Kroos stepped up to take the a free-kick. With a four man wall blocking sight of the goal, the Bayern Munich midfielder curled around the wall and inside the post for his fifth goal of the tournament. It was a free-kick of the highest quality and it merely served to underline the potential he has shown at this tournament.
Heiko Herrlich's side had further opportunities to score as the half came to a close. Jonas Strifler's rasping drive from distance was just off target, while Kevin Wolze dragged a shot off-target when well placed. For Ghana, chances were at a premium and Enoch Adu's tame effort from the edge of the area, which Wollath claimed comfortably was only time they really threatened the target.
With Germany defending a little deeper, the Africans found it difficult to create chances in the opening stages of the second half with only Ishamel Yartey and substitute Abdul Naza Alhassan going close, despite plenty of possession. Yet Sellas Tetteh's side received their just desserts when Ransford Osei heading home Abeiku Quansah's cross with 23 minutes remaining.
Kroos forced Joseph Addo into two saves, as Germany stepped up their efforts for a winner and it came in added time. The playmaker was given too much space in the centre of the pitch and ran at the Ghana defence before slipping the ball to substitute Esswein who clipped the ball into the net. Esswein was shown the red card for two bookable offences, but it took no tarnish off Germany's late, late victory.