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Classic Klose equals Ronaldo's record when Germany needed him most

Joachim Low's side appeared to be running out of ideas before the veteran striker arrived to score a crucial leveler in Group G.

FORTALEZA, Brazil — Less than a fortnight after celebrating his 36th birthday, Miroslav Klose reached an altogether more lasting milestone when he arrived at the back post to steer home a near-post flick from a corner kick.

By leveling Germany’s second World Cup group stage match with Ghana at 2-2, the venerable striker struck his 15th all-time goal in the final stages of football’s blue ribbon tournament. The strike equaled the tournament's all-time record, set by Brazil’s Ronaldo.

It was the kind of scrappy goal that Klose has made a career from. When those around him were caught flat-footed, the Poland-born striker was alive in the six-yard box to convert what was the simplest of chances.

It was a goal of pure instinct; pure Klose.

Just as Filippo Inzaghi was able to prolong his career because of his wherewithal near the goal, Klose has done likewise. In striking Germany level he proved that there remains a place for him in the thoughts of head coach Joachim Low.

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Thomas Muller’s scoring record may have caught the headlines lately, but though his is formidable – he had, after all, scored in five successive World Cup matches heading into the clash at Castelao – he is not a thoroughbred forward in the manner of his veteran colleague.

Before introducing Klose midway through the second period as a response to Asamoah Gyan putting Ghana ahead (and thereby tying Roger Milla’s record as the record scorer from Africa), Low had run the full gambit of systems.
   Name       Goals      
Ronaldo 15
Miroslav Klose 15
Gerd Muller 14 
 Just Fontaine 13
 Pele 12 
 Sandor Kocsis 11 
 Jurgen Klinsmann 11 
 Helmut Rahn 10 
 Gary Lineker 10 
 Gabriel Batistuta 10 

Germany first tried a 4-2-3-1 but promptly switched to 4-4-2 to mirror its opponents. Having found both ineffective, at halftime there was a further reshuffle to 4-3-3, but though it was Mario Gotze who put Germany into the lead with what might kindly be called a header, it was Klose’s instinct that would prove telling at the death.

Perhaps the greatest surprise about his 22-minute cameo was that he wasted an opportunity to win the match with 60 seconds remaining.

Certainly, one of the favorites for the World Cup were pushed hard by the side which finished 2010 as a sore quarterfinal loser in South Africa.

Prior to the game, Ghana, which would be vocally backed by the vast majority of neutrals, had promised to go out to leave everything on the field, and in this regard it certainly did not disappoint, with Sulley Muntari, Andre Ayew and, in the second half, Gyan ebullient.

For Germany, struggling in its second World Cup match is nothing new, however unwelcome. Only once since the reunification of the country has it won its second game in the World Cup.

Now Germany faces the familiar task of earning a positive result in its final match against the USA, though with Klose in tow, there is always the likelihood of a goal.

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