RECIFE, Brazil — Germany’s Thomas Mueller stayed on track to retain his Golden Boot title at the World Cup by scoring his fourth goal of the tournament in the 1-0 victory over the United States.
U.S. coach Juergen Klinsmann wasn’t too upset. His team also qualified for the knockout stage after Portugal beat Ghana 2-1 in the other final match in Group G, which saw both teams eliminated.
Mueller scored five times in South Africa in 2010 and scored his fourth on Friday in a rain-soaked Recife.
With two wins and a draw, Germany topped the group with seven points, while the U.S. progressed with four. Portugal also finished with four points but the U.S. had a better goal difference.
“We controlled the match and did not allow any chances until late in the match,” Germany coach Joachim Loew said. “We failed to score a second goal that would have settled the issue earlier.”
Mueller scored in the 55th minute with a side-footed shot from the edge of the area as tropical downpours drenched the Arena Pernambuco. He now has nine goals in nine World Cup games.
“We clearly dominated the match and we played not a bad game against a top-fit American team,” Mueller said. “I finally scored a pretty goal. I manage it every now and then. We still have big targets ahead of us.”
Germany, a three-time champion, now travels to Porto Alegre to play the runner-up in Group H on June 30.
Both teams knew before kickoff that a draw would see them through, but neither held back. The game pitted Loew against his good friend and predecessor Juergen Klinsmann, now in charge of the U.S. team.
The two coaches smiled as they shook hands and patted each other on the shoulder after the match. Klinsmann warmly embraced the German players.