Germany vs Sweden Match Analysis and Player Ratings

Germany jubilant as Kroos' brilliant strike in stoppage time restores Germany's World Cup hopes (Image from Sports Illustrated)

Germany clinched a last-minute victory in dramatic fashion against Sweden, keeping hopes alive for them to qualify for the knockout stages. 

After a dire performance against Mexico, Joachim Low made several changes to the starting 11. Hector came in for Plattenhardt after he was out through illness, Ozil was dropped for Marco Reus, Rudy came in for Khedira and perhaps the most surprisingly, the usually reliable Mats Hummels lost his place to Antonio Rudiger. Low’s changes in Germany’s approach to the game seemed to have paid off as the match started off with Germany on the front foot, constantly getting balls into the box, creating good chances. Draxler had a key chance which he should have put away, but his shot was blocked well by Sebastian Larsson.

Toivonen scores the opener (Image from the New York Times)
But their defensive frailties became apparent once again, as Sweden threatened on the counter. Germany were lucky not to concede a penalty, as Jerome Boateng fouled Marcus Berg who was in on goal but fortunately for Die Mannschaft, the referee thought nothing of it. Sweden showed determination - and it paid off, as Ola Toivonen dinked the ball over Neuer to give them a shock lead.

Germany were in deep trouble and they finished the first half with the knowledge that if the result stayed the same, they would be sent crashing out of the tournament. However, again they started the second half well and this time their efforts paid off, with Marco Reus grabbing the equaliser a few minutes after the restart. Germany controlled the game but time was running out for them to get a winner. A draw for Germany would have meant that they would have had to beat South Korea, as well as relying on an already-qualified Mexico to beat Sweden. Things took a turn for the worse, as centre-back Jerome Boateng picked up a second yellow, leaving Germany with 10 men. Nevertheless, they continued to attack with Julian Brandt’s strike smashing the post. In the last minute of stoppage time, the Germans were awarded a free-kick on the edge of the box, in a position perfect for whipping it in from the left. But instead, Toni Kroos curled it into the top corner perfectly, clutching the three points for Germany. It may not have been Germany’s best performance, but on this occasion, the result is what matters for them. Sweden were well organised at the back for most parts, but they will be heartbroken by the last gasp goal. It would have been a memorable result for them, yet now they face a much more difficult task to progress from the group stages.

Germany Player Ratings

Manuel Neuer (7) – Made some key saves and as always was dependable in goal. But perhaps shouldn’t have come out too far for Sweden’s goal.

Joshua Kimmich (6) – Sweden found it hard to defend the flanks so he exploited it was a good threat going forward. But again didn’t really track back.

Jerome Boateng (3) – Poor performance, found himself out of position too many times. Could have easily given away a penalty and the red card sums up his performance.

Antonio Rudiger (5) – Stayed back in defence, but often didn’t show composure on the ball.

Jonathan Hector (6) – Good going forward, had a very good chance in the box which he wasted.

Toni Kroos (8) – Controlled the midfield going forward and scored the all-important goal.

Sebastian Rudy (6) – Didn’t really have time to impact the game as he was taken off due to injury.

Marco Reus (7) – Impressed for Germany going forward and got the equaliser. Should keep his place in the team.

Julian Draxler (5) – Didn’t really see him at his full potential and was subbed off at half time.

Thomas Muller (6) – Not his best game, could have offered more going forward.

Timo Werner (6) – A decent performance but couldn’t show his ability to finish.

Sweden player ratings

Robin Olsen (7) – Made some important saves and couldn’t do too much about the goals.

Mikael Lustig (6) – Did his role as part of a strong defence.

Victor Lindelöf (7)- Showed a good physical presence in the box on his return from injury.

Andreas Granqvist (7) – Led his defence well, as Germany constantly tried to get past.

Ludwig Augustinsson (6) – A decent performance from him, but at times struggled against Kimmich on his flank.

Emil Forsberg (6) – Showed good attacking potential early on.

Albin Ekdal (7.5) – Strong performance from him defensively making good use of his physicality.

Sebastian Larsson (7) – Made an important block early on and put in a brilliant ball into the box at the end of the first half, which couldn’t be finished off.

Viktor Claesson (7) – Did well to assist Toivonen for the opener.

Marcus Berg (6) – Was a threat going forward, but couldn’t put away two key chances which he should have scored.

Ola Toivonen (7) – Took his goal well and was dangerous up front.

Kroos' curling effort wins the game for Germany (Image from The New York Times)

Man of the match: Toni Kroos – As always distributed the ball well and dictated play. His superb strike at the death of the match summed up a top game for him.


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