Thursday's Group 'G' match between Germany and the United States will mark an emotional reunion for the two head coaches, Joachim Loew and Jurgen Klinsmann.
After all, they joined hands at a crucial stage for German football in the summer of 2004. Klinsmann was appointed head coach following the debacle of the national team at the Euro. Germany had hit rock-bottom but Klinsmann, who roped in Loew as his assistant, was a breath of fresh air and changed many things. He had to cop a lot of criticism along the way and, indeed, it had seemed like his mission had met a premature end when Germany suffered a crushing 1-4 loss to Italy in Florence months before the 2006 World Cup which they were set to host.
When the tournament began, though, the side won over the critics with their attractive football and fell agonisingly short of reaching the final. Klinsmann, as we know, resigned after the tournament, thereby handing over the reins to Loew. It was a logical choice considering Loew's influential role in Germany's resurgence as a football powerhouse, and he's continued to build on the foundations he helped lay with his predecessor.
As you'd expect, both managers have unanimously stated that their friendship will have to be put aside for this game. Klinsmann can consider it an advantage to have knowledge of several German players he worked with during his time on the bench. And anything he doesn't know, he will turn to his own former coach Berti Vogts, whom he appointed as a special advisor to the US team in March.
This tie will surely attract the world's attention while possibly being a distraction for Portugal and Ghana, who play at the same time. A draw between Germany and the US will send both sides through, rendering the Portugal-Ghana game meaningless. It doesn't spell good news for Portugal and Ghana, but it's best if they put the Germany-US match at the back of their minds and focus on getting the result they need. Conspiracy theorists, too, would do well to remember that it is very possible for the game to end in a draw.
Miroslav Klose could also steal the headlines if he gets that one goal to replace Ronaldo as the highest goal-scorer in World Cup history. Against Ghana, Klose again demonstrated something we've known for years, just how good he is at knowing where the goal is. He sure is the joker in Loew's pack and his entry, coupled with that of Bastian Schweinsteiger, really shook things up for Germany.