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Soccer-Loew upbeat as Germany survive Ghana epic

Reuters

By Elzio Barreto

FORTALEZA, Brazil, June 21 (Reuters) - Germany coach Joachim Loew was confident they remained in a good position to progress at the World Cup after Saturday's pulsating 2-2 Group G draw with Ghana that he likened to a boxing epic.

"The first half was a well organised match. In the second half, suddenly you saw a terrific pace by both teams. It was an open exchange of punches as it were. Ghana had possibilities, we had possibilities," Loew told reporters on Saturday.

Germany, who are top of the group with four points, after hammering Portugal 4-0 in their opening fixture, face the United States in their final group match in Recife on Thursday, while Ghana, with one point, play Portugal in Brasilia.

In an end-to-end thriller, Ghana had Germany on the ropes at 2-1 before striker Miroslav Klose came off the bench to score a record-equalling 15th World Cup goal and salvage a draw.

"For the spectators it must have been terribly fascinating seeing such an intense and fast game, having two teams just running. An unconditional drive for the victory," Loew said.

"For a coach it's just the same, up and down, the seesaw just as it is for the spectators.

VERY STRONG

"When you have an African team in front of you, you know they're very strong and very fast, admirably fast with this temperature," he added.

"The U.S. and South Americans have delivered an excellent tournament so far, and perhaps that is because they cope with the heat a bit better than we do. However, the weather here or in Salvador, we showed we can cope with it and I'm not worried."

Despite letting a 1-0 lead slip in the game, Loew said the draw left his Germany side, who are one of the tournament favourites, in a decent position to progress to the last 16.

"The situation for us hasn't changed decisively. I believe for the last match we have a good position. One further point and we will make it to the next round," he said.

Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer told the media the draw was a sobering one after the show-stopping defeat of Portugal.

"We let Ghana back into the game through mistakes. We gifted them goals. You can't allow that in the World Cup. The result against Portugal was too beautiful, we've got our feet back on the ground now." (Writing by Neil Maidment; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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