For much of Germany’s game against Sweden at the World Cup on Saturday night, it looked like Die Mannschaft could be in big trouble. However, there was always a sense that the world champions would pull a result out the bag, and as it transpired, they did.
Deep into stoppage-time with ten men, Germany won a free-kick right on the edge of the area. Real Madrid playmaker Tony Kroos stepped up and curled home to make it 2-1 to the Germans and leave their destiny in their hands.
Sweden had a golden opportunity
When Germany went down to ten men Sweden had a golden opportunity to go for the German’s throat. A chance to ensure they made it into the knockout stages. However, despite creating a plethora of chances in the first half against a vulnerable German defence, when the Swedes were up against ten men they showed very little ambition.
At one point Germany were playing with just two defenders, as they desperately searched for a much-needed equaliser. A better team would have finished the Germans off.
However, Sweden just do not have it in their make up to exploit such a position. They just stayed solid and looked happy with the draw. Unfortunately, for the Scandinavians the fact they dropped so deep meant they suffered defeat instead.
Germany just do not give up
Germany’s status as world champions has come under massive threat in Russia so far. However, Die Mannschaft are notorious for being a team that never gives up in the big international tournaments.
They do sometimes have luck on their side as well, but sometimes you make your own luck too by bravery and sheer determination to win a football match.
Germany boss Joachim Low was brave with his substitute at 1-1. Despite being down to ten men after Jerome Boateng’s 82nd-minute sending-off, Low took off one of his remaining defenders in Jonas Hector and threw on stacking midfielder Julian Brandt.
In hindsight, it was probably an easy decision to make considering the Swedish lack of ambition in the second half. The move was the last throw of the dice for Low, who has come in for criticism of late.
Could just scrape through
In terms of qualification for the knockout stages, the win was vital. Die Mannschaft could still fail to qualify, even with a victory against South Korea. However, that would only happen if the industrial Swedes manage to beat Mexico in their final game and end the campaign with a better goal difference.
Germany could still make it through to the last 16 of the World Cup. Low’s side could win the competition. However, judging by their performances so far at Russia 2018 they are a shadow of the team that lifted the trophy four years ago in Brazil.
People may criticise the world champions for their displays in their two group games. One thing is for sure though, they are unlikely to give up and will fight to the final whistle of their last game against South Korea on Wednesday to maintain their participation at Russia 2018.
Can Germany still win World Cup 2018?