Ghana can't compete with Germany
Footballing legend Franz Beckenbauer is confident that Germany will be a force to be reckoned with at the World Cup and will be able to come out of a group that includes Portugal, the US and four-time African champions Ghana.

Speaking at the annual award gala of the German Sports Aid Foundation (Stiftung Deutsche Sporthilfe), at which Olympic champion sailor Jochen Schuemann received the highest individual award for German athletes, the Golden Sports Pyramid (Goldenen Sportpyramide), Beckenbauer said he expected great things from the German team at the June 12 – July 13 World Cup.

„The biggest threat to get out of the group phase will come from Portugal,“ said Beckenbauer, who is the only person to captain a World Cup-winning side, coach a winning side and act as head of the organisation committee of the World Cup finals.

Beckenbauer, who received the Joachim-Deckarm-Preis for his commitment towards the foundation of the former German international handball player Joachim Deckarm who is mentally and physically disabled after a tragic sporting accident during a game in 1979, was one of the keynote speakers at the glittering gala dinner in the Adlon Hotel in Berlin, which was attended by the who's who of German sport.

Germany has never beaten Italy in a competitive match and Beckenbauer said that he was confident that the streak would be ended soon. „I believe that the draw is such that Germany and Italy will only meet in the final if both win their respective groups.

„The final is a good place to bring an end to the run.“

The sporting icon, who himself is a previous winner of the Goldenen Sportpyramide, said he thought that Germany group G was neither particularly easy, nor particularly difficult. „The US has a team with strong players. They always produce good players. But I do not think that they will be strong enough.

„And the African teams at the World Cup will not be able to prevent Germany from advancing. African football has improved, but I do not think that Ghana will be the team that can prevent Germany from reaching the knock-out phase.

“Portugal will be a challenge, but they have a weakness in that they rely too much on Cristiano Ronaldo. The team is not strong enough as a team and if their opponents can cut out Ronaldo, then Portugal can be beaten. I am confident that Germany will take the group.“

UPDATE: Der Kaiser was correct about Ghana, unfortunately. He was not right about the US though, as the team did really well and advanced to the knock-out stage.
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