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FIFA

Talking Points: Did the absence of Ozil help Germany?

Written by: Rohan Philip

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The defending champions now have one more chance to make it to the knockout stages.

The second round of games in Group F of the FIFA World Cup came to a very dramatic end, with the defending champions, Germany coming from behind to beat Sweden 2-1. The Swedes took the lead in the first half before Marco Reus pulled one back and Toni Kroos buried a brilliantly worked set-piece to give the Germans the win.

Here are the takeaways from the fixture.

5. Robin Olsen is Sweden's prized possession

The 28-year-old goalkeeper who plies his trade for FC Copenhagen domestically was in spectacular form for his nation against Germany. Olsen made key saves throughout the game, particularly one from close range against Mario Gomez, commanding his defence to keep a marauding German attacking line at bay for a majority of the game, in the process. It took a spectacular set piece to undo the Swedish defence.    

4. One more chance for Germany to advance to the Round of 16

If Germany had failed to win the game, they would have found themselves depending on the other teams in the group to send them through to the knockout stages of the tournament. However, as it stands, if Germany are victorious against South Korea, they will be expected to go through to the round of 16. Sweden’s hopes of going through now depend on their result against Mexico as well as Germany’s against South Korea.

3. Dropping Ozil paid off

Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil was accused of having the body language of a “dead frog” by Mario Basler following his showing against Mexico, a performance that prompted manager Joachim Low to replace him with Reus, for the game against Sweden. The Borussia Dortmund man harried the Swedish defence all night and was rewarded with a goal for his efforts.




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2. Sweden will rue their missed chances

It was a game of what-ifs for the Swedes who could have been even further in front in the first half, if it were not for their wastefulness in front of goal and their lack of sharpness in the final third.

Germany would have found it very hard to come back into the game had even one of the chances gone in.

1) Germany need to work on their defense

Jerome Boateng’s dismissal came almost as a blessing in disguise for the Germans who looked far more solid with 10 men. The Bayern Munich man looked lacklustre all match and almost gave away a penalty after a lapse in concentration. Low will have to find his best group of defenders soon if Germany are to put their streak of just one clean-sheet in their last 10 games behind them.

Germany scraped through the match giving them hope of progression going into their last group game against South Korea.   

Published: Sun Jun 24, 2018 11:37 AM IST

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