Germany surrendered a 4 goal lead to resilient Sweden in the World Cup qualifying match at Olympiastadion in Berlin on Oct. 16. Germany were leading Sweden by 4 goals untill the last half-hour before the Swedes managed to put 4 past a hapless German defence to level the score at 4-4 and earn a memorable point on German soil.

Miroslav Klose started for Germany as Mario Gomez was injured. But two well taken goals by the German hitman reaffirmed his pedigree and he would fancy his chances to start irrespective of Gomez's fitness. Two goals in this match brought Klose closer to Gerd Mullers's record of 68 goals for Germany. Per Mertesacker added another goal before Mesut Ozil expertly finished to put the Germans 4 goals up against Sweden. The Germans went into half-time at 3-0 and no one would have bet the Swedes to score anything but a consolation goal. What happened in the second half was truly unexpected and breathtaking.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic bagged a goal in the 62nd minute, to be followed by goals from Mikael Lustig and Jonathan Elmander. The Germans were rattled. The Swedes belied their insipid first-hald display and were going for it. Anything seemed possible and Rasmus Elm scored the equaliser two minutes into the stoppage time and the Swedes celebrated as if they had won the World Cup. It was a match that could grace an occasion as grand as the World Cup, thats for sure.

Germany lead Group C in Europe, with 10 points in 4 games. Sweden are second with 7 points in 3 games. But this game was as much about the result as about the failure of Germany to protect their goal in front of their fans. It was also about the Swedish team, comprising of less 'gifted' talent taking the game to Germany in the second half and securing a valuable point. The Swedish captain, Ibrahimovic commented on the game, "We played in a completely different way. I don't know how to describe it. We were too scared and had too much respect in the first half. After my first goal I felt they were backing off more and more". The result vindicated his assessment of the game. Joachim Low has to ponder over the state of German defence and probably over how mentally strong their team should have be. He admitted that the game was lost on the mental front, rather than on the physical side. No matter what the reason for the rare German slip-up is, Low would need the German team to respond in the appropriate way. As for now, the Swedes have the bragging rights, and for good reason.

 

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