Sunday, June 25, 2006

Germany In To The Last 8

Podolski Double Fires Germany Into The Last 8

Allianz Arena

Germany 2 - 0 Sweden

GER - L. Podolski (4min, 12min);
SWE - H. Larsson (pen MISS 53min);

When everyone thought that the Germans and the Swedes will make it tough for each other in this match, where there is no second chance and a mistake will cause your team a place in the last 8, the Germans finished the tie within the first 20 minutes with under-fire striker, Lukas Podolski finishing the Swedish off clinically and from then on, it seemed there was no way back for the Swedes.

Both the goals are down to defensive errors from the Swedish defence, as they were dragged all over the place by the in-form Miroslav Klose. He found a way past Erik Edman and took a shot, which was well saved by Andreas Isaksson, but the rebound found its way to the lurking Lukas Podolski, who smashed the ball into an empty net.

Another terrible mistake by the Swedish defence means that they're made to pay by the Germans, who're so clinical and always seemed to strike at the right place and right time. Miroslav Klose got the ball just inside the penalty box, dragged 3 defenders along with him, before releasing the perfectly positioned Podolski and the striker slam home from 10 yards out.

Things started to get worst for the Swedish as they are struggling to find a stranglehold in the game and defender, Teddy Lucic was sent off rather harshly but the Brazillian referee, who was spotted with a wild smug on his face as he reaches the red card from his pocket. To me the second foul by Lucic doesn't seemed to warrant a yellow card as he just tugged the shirt of Klose. But the referee doesn't think so and Sweden, chasing the game, are down to 10 men.

Then Germany started their long-shot barrage on the Swedish goal and Isaksson needs to be on his toes to keep out a couple of shots and he should really be the man of the match as he made saves after saves to keep the Germans at bay and the scoreline respectable. Michael Ballack is guilty of doing a 'Frank Lampard' by blasting shots after shots into the stands but he did came close to scoring, if not for Isaksson's heroics.

After the half time break, the Swedish seemed to be more organised and managed to shut out the Germans well for the opening period of the match. They did have a chance to pull one back when Larsson himself was adjudged to be fouled by Borussia Dortmund defender, Christoph Metzelder and it was he himself who stepped up to take the penalty. It's Jens Lehmann vs Henrik Larsson. Arsenal vs Barcelona once again and this time, the Swedish striker struck the ball with too much power and it went over the bar and what a terrible miss from a striker that have been so reliable over the years. His goal record speaks for itself but this time, he succumbed to the pressure and that has to be the turning point of the game.

Towards the end of the game, it became less eventful and the Germans are just passing the ball around and I must comment on their playing style. I for one, have been turned into an admirer of the German way of playing after watching their last few games. They're SO clinical when it comes to finishing the chances and when they had to hold the ball to starve the opponents off the possesion, they could pass the ball around so well that the Swedish looks like schoolkids sometimes.

A deserved victory for the Germans and once again, they showed their class, fluidity in their play and the ability to finish the game off under pressure. I would LOVE to see them play Argentina in the next round and it's gonna be ONE HELL OF A CRACKING MATCH! Game on!

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