Germany crusied into the quarter-finals of the World Cup with an easy 2-0 win over a disappointing Sweden team.
Two goals in the opening 12 minutes from Lukas Podolski, were enough to secure the victory for Jurgen Klinsmann’s team, while Sweden, who had Teddy Lucic sent off in the first half, were never really in the game.
Hosts Germany and Sweden made a change apiece for the first second-round match of the tournament. Defender Christoph Metzelder came in for the Germans, while Zlatan Ibrahimovic returned to Sweden’s attack.
Kilnsmann’s team had a dream start when Lukas Podolski opened the scoring after just 4 four minutes. Ballack fed Klose, who cleverly slipped between two Swedish defenders, but Isakkasson was swiftly off his line to deny the striker, only to see the ball fall to Podolski who fired in to the net off the head of Mellberg.
Henrik Larsson had a great opportunity to level the scores almost immediately, but he dragged his shot wide after coming under pressure from Ballack.
Larsson’s miss looked all the more mostly on 12 minutes, when Podolski extended Germany‘s lead. Klose drew three defendeers towards him, before delivering a lovely reverse pass to Podolski who stroked home his and Germany’s second.
Isaksson denied a long range effort from Ballack, as Sweden were being overrun in midfield. Germany, who had found scoring relatively easy in the group stages, now looked like they would score every time they went forward.
Sweden were just not at the races and Klose drew a wonderful save from Isaksson, diving at full stretch to push the shot past the post. Moments later the keeper again came to Sweden’s reescue when he tipped over a long-range Torsten Frings effort. From the resulting corner Schweinsteiger fizzed a shot inches wide.
Sweden’s woes were compounded when the referee showed a second yellow card to Lucic, meaning that Lagerback’s team would play the remaining hour with only ten men. The decision seemed harsh given that there had been minimal contact with Klose, but at this World Cup, that is all that has taken for the officials to brandish their cards. The conduct of the German players who urged the referee to issue the second yellow, left a sour taste in an otherwise fine first half display by Klinsmann’s men.
Ibrahimovic created Sweden’s best chance five minutes before the interval when he turned away from Metzelder and fired in a low shot that Lehmann did well to push wide. The Arsenal keeper then made a hash of a Larsson cross but Lahm was on hand to clear up the danger and spare his team-mate’s blushes.
Sweden were given a route back into the game when Ibrahimoviv set up Larsson who was barged to the ground by Metzelder, and the referee pointed straight to the spot. However, on what was developing into a dreadful day for Sweden, Larsson stepped up and blazed his penalty over the bar.
At the other end Ballack came close to extending Germany’s lead when he unleashed a powerful drive that Isakkson did well to tip onto the post.
The remainder of the afternoon was basically an exercise in shooting practice for the Germans. Schneider also hit the woodwork in the closing minutes, but with Sweden looking weary after playing for so long with ten men, Germany seemed content to save energy for their quarter-final encounter against the winner of the Argentina-Mexico match, and possibly, for the challenges that lie beyond that.
It was an undeniably impressive performance by Germany. They controlled the game from the off and had it not been for an outstanding display by the Swedish keeper Isaksson, the scoreline would have given a fairer reflection of their superiority.
On this form they looked genuine contenders, although it may be that this comprehensive victory has merely highlighted the weakness of the group from which Sweden emerged.
Germany: Lehmann, Friedrich, Metzelder, Mertesacker, Lahm, Schweinsteiger, Frings, Ballack, Schneider, Podolski, Klose.
Subs used: Borowski 72 (for Schweinsteiger), Neuville 74 (for Podolski), Kehl 85 (for Frings).
Bookings: Frings 27
Sweden: Isaksson, Alexandersson, Mellberg, Lucic, Edman, Ljungberg, Linderoth, Kallstrom, Jonson, Ibrahimovic, Larsson.
Subs used: Hansson 39 (for Kallstrom), Wilhelmsson 52 (for Jonson), Allback 72 (for Ibrahimovic).
Bookings: Lucic 28, Jonson 48, Allback 78
Sent-off: Lucic 35
Referee: Carlos Eugenio Simon (Brazil).
Germany: Podolski 4, 12