Germany vs Sweden preview, betting tips and prediction
Germany to Win @ 4/9 with Coral
Perhaps it was a result that we should have been half-anticipating. World Cup holders haven’t exactly thrived in recent years. Spain went out at the group stage in 2014, the same stage that Italy crashed out at in 2010. Will Germany crash out at the first hurdle in Russia? The odds are against them after losing their opening game against Mexico. It was a deserved loss too. The champions lacked invention and could barely cope with Mexico’s dynamic counter-attacks.
The post-mortem following the defeat has concerned individuals in a tired team. National team legend Lothar Matthaus has called for Mesut Ozil to retire from Germany duty after the tournament, citing a lack of passion and love for the jersey. This accusation comes in the wake of Ozil, and Ilkay Gundogan, posing for a picture with Turkey president Erdogan, calling him ‘their’ president. It was a political faux-pas that had garnered criticism from the media and public. The poor performance against Mexico could suggest tension within the camp too.
Sweden got their campaign off to the perfect start with a 1-0 win over South Korea. It was the first time since 1958 that the Swedes had started a World Cup campaign with a win.
Ozil wasn’t the only player to receive criticism following the Mexico defeat. Fellow squad stalwarts Sami Khedira and Thomas Muller were also singled out by Matthaus and other members of the German media. Was it an uninspired performance or is this simply a jaded team that has run out of gas after more than a decade of latter-stage tournament appearances?
Sweden have pulled some big performances out of the bag for games against Germany in recent years, the most notable being the 4-4 in Berlin in 2012. With Zlatan Ibrahimovic starting their comeback, they overturned a four goal deficit in a historic fixture.
Marco Reus revealed that Joachim Loew didn’t start him against Mexico because he was ‘saving him for the important games’. He’ll probably start this one so.
Seb Larsson limped off the pitch in the win against South Korea but is expected to be fit for the game against Germany.