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September 26, 2017

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Football: Klose equals record, Argentina advance

FORTALEZA, Brazil - Miroslav Klose hit a World Cup record-equalling 15th goal as Germany fought back to claim a 2-2 draw with Ghana on Saturday.

In other matches, a moment of individual brilliance from Argentina captain Lionel Messi steered his team into the last 16 in a victory over Iran, while Bosnia were knocked out after a controversial 1-0 loss to Nigeria.

Klose had only been on the pitch as a substitute for two minutes in Fortaleza when he jabbed home Germany's equaliser and joined Brazilian great Ronaldo on top of the all-time scoring charts.

The 36-year-old Lazio struck in the 71st minute of a thrilling Group G game at the Castelao Stadium after goals from Andre Ayew and Asamoah Gyan had fired Ghana into a 2-1 lead.

Mario Gotze had given Germany the lead, heading in off his own knee on 51 minutes after a goalless first half.

But Ghana struck back brilliantly, levelling through Ayew's 54th minute header before Asamoah fired the Black Stars into the lead.

The result left the Germans, who beat Portugal 4-0 in their opening match, on top of Group G with four points.

Ghana, beaten by the United States in their first game, have one point heading into their final match with Portugal next week.

Earlier, Messi scored a brilliant injury time winner as Argentina overcame Iran 1-0 in Belo Horizonte to squeeze into the second round.

Four-time world player of the year Messi curled in a sublime shot from just outside the area in the first minute of stoppage time to break Iranian hearts in the Group F battle.

The Argentina captain had been largely anonymous for much of the match as Iran frustrated the South American giants at the Mineirao Stadium.

Romero saves Argentina

The Asian minnows might even have snatched victory only to be denied by Argentina keeper Sergio Romero, who pulled off fine second-half saves from England-based duo Ashkan Dejagah and Reza Ghoochannejad.

But with the clock ticking down, Messi picked up the ball on the edge of the area and after being granted time to pick his spot, curled in his second goal of the tournament.

The result leaves Argentina assured of a place in the last 16, joining Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica and Holland in the second round.

"We are not showing what we can do, but with a run of games I think we will get there," Messi said of Argentina's form.

"We are the first ones to know we have not reached the level we would like."

Iran's former Portugal coach Carlos Queiroz was fuming however over Serbian referee Milorad Mazic's failure to award his side a penalty.

"Messi was fantastic, but the referee wasn't," Queiroz said.

"I don't understand it, he had to have seen it was a penalty. He was five metres away, there is no way he couldn't have seen it."

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