By Chux Odoh
Defending champions Germany went into the second round of games in Group F on the brink of exiting the tournament in the group stage after they lost their opening game to Mexico.
Following their defeat in the hands of the North Americans, there had been talks of dressing room divisions, crisis talks with the German stars embroiled in political controversies. Admitting that there were a lot of mistakes against Mexico, German coach, Coach Joachim Low of needed to make some changes to his first team choice. Mesut Ozil and Sammie Khedira were rested from the starting line up and Marco Reus was drafted into the squad.
The game on Saturday evening started with Germany hitting the ground running, putting pressure and trying to cause troubles for the Swedish defence as they looked for their first goal of the tournament.
However, it was Sweden who took the lead in the 32nd minute against the run of play when Marcus Berg capitalized on an error by Toni Kroos and found Viktor Claesson who released Ola Toivonen who controlled with his chest before masterfully lobbing the ball over the German keeper Neuer. The first half finished with Sweden in front and the future of the Germans hanging in the balance.
The Germans came out for the second pressing hard for the equalizer and were rewarded with substitute Mario Gomez with his first touch in the game providing the assist for Marco Reus to drive home for the goal in the 48th minute.
The Germans continued to push forward but were hit with a Red card for Jerome Boateng who bagged his second booking in the game on 82 minutes which rules him out for the last group game for the Germans against South Korea.
The game moved into injury time and 4 minutes on, Germany was awarded a freekick. Real Madrid star Toni Kroos rose the highest to nod in the cross by Reus to clinch a deserved win for Germany who had 72 percent of the ball possession on the night. The Swedes were exhausted, having chased the ball for the entire second half.
Commenting after the game, Coach Low saluted the level-headed german team saying: ‘We didn’t lose our nerve, we didn’t break out in panic. We kept level heads. We needed quick passing, make them tire and the pressure built up. We missed some obvious chances but I appreciate the spirit of the team.’
Germany must now win South Korea in Kazan on Wednesday and even then may have to rely on goal difference. If Sweden beat Mexico on the same day in Ekaterinburg there will be three teams in Group F on six points.