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Argentina, Germany escape in second World Cup matches

The 2014 World Cup has already seen mixed results from favorites like Spain and Brazil. Yet Germany had one of the most impressive opening games of the World Cup by blowing out Portugal, while Argentina performed as expected in its first win over Bosnia-Herzegovina. But Argentina and Germany's second statements were far less impressive on June 21, as the Germans escaped with one point against Ghana and the Argentinians needed last-second heroics from Lionel Messi to get three points against Iran.

Messi's stoppage time goal salvages win over Iran
Messi's stoppage time goal salvages win over Iran
Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Although Argentina dominated Iran much of the way, as expected, it got no goals out of it. Heading into stoppage time, it looked like the Argentinians would have to settle for a 0-0 tie that would raise a lot of questions. However, Messi answered a few of them with one big kick in the 91'st minute, breaking Iran's heart by giving it a 1-0 loss after all.

While Iran gave Argentina a lot of fits, it barely threatened to actually beat the favorites. Germany was in far more trouble against Ghana, as it was lucky to stay scoreless at halftime, took the lead in the 51'st minute and then fell behind by 2-1 just 13 minutes later. Despite utterly destroying the far more highly ranked Portuguese in their opener, the Germans were in danger of giving it all back.

Ghana opened the tournament by letting American substitute John Brooks break a tie in the 86'th minute, costing it at least one point. This time around, German substitute Miroslav Klose -- a sub that now has a record tying 15 World Cup goals -- scored in the 71'st minute and wound up costing Ghana at least two extra points.

Ghana and Germany's lack of a loss was the USA's gain, as the Americans will advance and leap into first place in Group G if they beat Portugal on June 22. If the Portuguese win, however, the Germans will keep first place by one point over them and the USA. As for Ghana, various missed chances in this World Cup have all but doomed it, as it must beat Portugal in its final match and get a fair amount of help.

Argentina has already clinched a spot in the second round, and can win Group E by beating Nigeria in its final first round match. After the wake up call against Iran, a more decisive win will be even more necessary.