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Jun 21, 2014

Five Aside: Match Day 10

2014 FIFA World Cup Group G: Germany 2-2 Ghana

Miroslav Klose tied Ronaldo for the most goals in World Cup history with his 15th tally coming in the 71st minute against Ghana. Germany was able to salvage a crucial point, but it was only the 12th time they had failed to win when scoring first in their World Cup history (50-5-7).

Lionel Messi and Argentina set the tone for second-half craziness with a stoppage-time winner against Iran.

Here are the five biggest stories coming from the two early games on matchday 10.

*While Klose has a storied history of World Cup success, it was his first World Cup goal as a substitute. Germany remained undefeated in the 49 games Klose has scored in his international career.

Not only did Klose join Ronaldo atop the all-time World Cup scoring list, both players scored their 15th World Cup goals against Ghana.

Klose also became the third player to score in four different World Cups, joining Pele and Uwe Seeler.

*Germany extended their streak of earning at least a point when striking first at the World Cup. The Germans have not lost when scoring first in the World Cup since the 1994 quarterfinal against Bulgaria.

With two goals against Ghana, Germany has scored nine goals in their past seven games against African teams at the World Cup. All nine have come after halftime.

*For Ghana, Andre Ayew and Asamoah Gyan nearly gave the Black Stars a massive three points. Klose's equaliser dropped Ghana to 0-4-2 when conceding the first goal in the World Cup.

- Five Aside blog

Ayew, the near hero for Ghana against the United States, offered the quick answer to Germany's opening goal. Ayew scored in consecutive international matches for the first time in his career (51 games).

Gyan netted his fifth World Cup goal in the 63rd minute. Gyan's five goals tied Cameroon's Roger Milla for most by an African player in the World Cup. Gyan also became the first African player to score at three different World Cups.

For the United States, the objective is now simple: They advance to the knockout round with a win tomorrow against Portugal.

*To kick off the day, Lionel Messi found the back of the net late to lead Argentina onto the knockout stage. Messi scored his second game-winning goal this World Cup, and his longest goal (at 33 yards) of 2014 for club and country.

Messi also created three chances while completing 91 percent of his passes (41-of-45).

*While Messi's goal marked the latest in regulation for Argentina in their World Cup history, Argentina dominated in attack throughout the match.

Argentina finished with a tournament-high 241 touches in the attacking third, nearly 200 more than Iran's 45. Angel Di Maria alone had 53. Argentina's plus-196 disparity in attacking-third touches is the most this World Cup.

Iran were held to 113 completed passes, the fewest in the World Cup in the past 50 years (as far back as ESPN Stats & Info's data set goes).

Iran dropped to 1-7-3 all-time at the World Cup. Its only win came against the United States 16 years ago today (June 21, 1998).