GELSENKIRCHEN -- Ghana midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng has tipped Germany to struggle at the 2014 World Cup.
German-born Boateng, the brother of Germany international Jerome, opted to play for Ghana only months before the 2010 World Cup in South Africa but featured in every game and helped the Black Stars to the quarterfinals where they were controversially eliminated by Uruguay.
After a three-year hiatus, Boateng has now returned to the Ghana team and is confident in their chances against Germany, Portugal and the U.S. in Brazil.
"It's a strong group and I think that Germany and Ghana will commit mistakes. Those mistakes will be punished," Boateng in an interview with ESPN FC at Schalke's Veltins Arena.
"When Cristiano Ronaldo is fit, it will be very difficult to beat Portugal. Germany, Ghana and the U.S. will take the points off each other. "I don't think both Boatengs will make it out of the group. In the end we'll see who that will be."
Many have tipped Germany to top the group, but Boateng believes that Germany lack the characters to make the difference.
"The German team has world class players in every position, and that is their main problem," he said. "They have so many good players, and need to win the World Cup or at least make it to the final.
"You need characters when you go into a tournament with so much pressure. I don't see anyone who could handle this and might be able to carry the team along. The German team has an outstanding quality, they have players who can decide a game, but I think, really, you only need to be wary of Marco Reus.
"I see an outstanding team, but whenever something is at stake they do not make the final step. They just lack this one guy."
Boateng ultimately decided to switch allegiances when he was excluded from the Germany under-21 squad in the summer of 2009 on disciplinary grounds.
His exclusion game only days before the team, which included Mesut Ozil, Manuel Neuer, Sami Khedira and Mats Hummels, travelled to Sweden to win the European Championships.
"A lot of people tell me that I could be that guy," Boateng said. "But I don't have the time to think about that. I really like watching the German team, they play outstanding football. But would I fit in there? Who knows?
"From a sporting perspective, absolutely. But as a character, who knows?"
Germany had hoped that Bastian Schweinsteiger would turn out to be that leader, but the Bayern Munich midfielder has struggled with injuries in recent seasons. Boateng has questioned his ability to become a senior figure in the national side.
"It is said that he is a leader, but I don't know if he has taken on this role. I believe that Schweini would just like to play his football," Boateng said. "He was that strong, because he had his peace and was able to play his game."