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Women’s EURO 2013: Sweden v Germany Review

This semi final was the game that everybody wanted to see because it was the fast paced Swedes against the team that has dominated the competition for two decades. We knew that at the end of the game, one of the favourites would be eliminated.

Sweden went into the game with a 14 game unbeaten run but if one team could beat them it was Germany. Germany didn’t play well in the quarter-final or their final group game and they knew they had to be on top of their game to progress. Sweden had scored in every game of the competition and Germany had only conceded once in the whole competition. That turned out to be an interesting fact before kick off and at the final whistle.

Yet again, it was a fast paced starts from the Swedes. Their first chance came in the first couple of minutes from a free kick taken by Thunebro. Thunebro whipped it in from an awkward angle, and it just went wide of the far post. It turned out to be half cross, half shot.

However, Germany had their fair share of early chances and their best one came when Mittag slided a pass for Laudehr. Laudehr crossed it for Marozsan who couldn’t direct her header. It was an open game and full of counter attacks, it started with plenty of pace with both teams.

Sweden’s star Lotta Schelin had her first sniff of goal early on as well when she accelerated past the defence to fire a shot that flew past the post. Another great chance for the hosts came from a counter attack which was led by the winger Oqvist. She raced down the right hand side, she had plenty of support in the box, but she decided to go alone only to shoot into the side netting. Oqvist has been criticised this tournament because she doesn’t have enough quality for the final product, but she does put a lot of effort into her game.

Germany used the combination of the numbers 9, 10 and 11 to attack, whereas Sweden had the combination of Asllani and Schelin to terrorise the opposition. There was plenty of shots at goal but no team could find the net until just after the half hour mark.

Germany took the lead through Marozsan. Mittag’s flick found the number 10 who held of Rohlin to poke a shot into the corner to stun the crowd. Mittag was causing all sorts of problems and looked as if she was the main threat.

In Gothenburg, there was the usual atmosphere to support their team which most teams feared, but Germany were unfazed by the noise. Whereas, I think without the crowd behind Sweden they would have been 1-0 down in the first 20 minutes.

I think that Sweden were playing too narrow in the first half, they didn’t involve their wingers in enough of their attacking play. Oqvist and Goransson didn’t see much of the ball, it was mainly Asslani and Schelin. However, once they were 1-0 down that all changed and they further increased the tempo.

It was a good response from Sweden but Germany were also searching for a second and nearly got it from a corner. Marozsan took the corner to find Cramer who forced a save from Hammarstrom who palmed it onto the post. This caused problems in the box, but Sweden just about scrambled it away. Sweden were in trouble and were lucky to only be 1-0 down going into the break.

In the first half, there was plenty of chances for both teams but the champions deserved to be in the lead because they had more of the chances.

At the start of the second half, Sweden carried on from where they left off and put instant pressure on the Germans. Schelin was involved in the play yet again and had and early chance but her shot was blocked. Germany looked to have been taken by surprise but they quickly grew into the second period.

The champions continued to find the second goal to give them a cushion but with the crowd behind them it was surely only a matter of time before Sweden scored. All of their players gave an extra 10% and the midfielders got more of the ball to dictate the play a lot more. However, Germany were refusing to sit back, defend and invite pressure.

Mittag continued to be her country’s main threat because she created chances and she had plenty of shots at goal as well.

Germany’s passes were precise and there was a purpose to every single one, whereas Sweden played it directly to their number 8 and captain.

It looked as if Sweden’s direct passing worked when Schelin found the back of the net which made the crowd go even more crazy. However, just before celebrations were in full swing the ref ruled the goal out for a foul on Krahn.

With the goal being ruled out, it would have either crushed Sweden or made them even more determined to get an equaliser. It turned out to be the latter, I don’t think that the crowd would have let their team get worked up over the disallowed goal. Sweden gone up a gear while Germany started to get penned back in their own half.

The hosts came close the levelling with just over 20 minutes to go. Oqvist darted forward and looked as if she was trying to find a team mate with her low cross from inside the are, but it turned out to be a shot which hit off the woodwork.

Another chance came after a great piece of team play which included Schelin, Seger and Hammarstrom. Schelin tried to chip it over Angerer but it somehow fell to Asllani who couldn’t get the right connection on the ball. It just wouldn’t go in, but they were getting closer.

After that chance, Pia Sundhage made a sub which saw Oqvist making way for their number 10 Jakobsson. She brought on Jakobsson to see if they could tire out the defence so they would open up easily to give Sweden a few more chances to get an all important goal.

Whenever, the Swedes had a set piece, the crowd just roared and started to wave their flags. It was an unbelievable atmosphere. Germany were hanging on and trying to hit their opponents on the counter in the last 20 minutes. Mittag was involved in every singled counter attack, and she looked to expose the holes that Sweden were leaving in their defence.

Sundhage’s last roll of the dice was when she took of the right back Samuelsson for the midfielder Dahlkvist.

Caroline Seger had a great chance late on to level the scoreline when Hammarstrom found Seger in acres of space, but she couldn’t position her feet correctly and she skewed it wide.

Inside stoppage time a German break nearly sealed the deal but their best player Mittag shot over the bar. It looked less and less likely that another goal would be found in the game and so it proved. Germany held on and just about survived some late pressure to break Swedish hearts.

I think that Germany deserved to win because they had that extra bit of quality and they knew how to get the job done. You have to give credit to Sweden because they were never out of the game but they just couldn’t find the goal and I thought they were unlucky. I wanted Sweden to come out as winners but I always thought that Germany would find a way to get to the final and whoever their opponent is, I think they will win it for an eighth time.

My woman of the match was Anja Mittag because she was involved in all of her team’s attacks and I felt that she deserved a goal. She got herself an assist and had a few chances to score herself. She caused all sorts of problems especially for Fischer along with Laudehr, Goessling, Lotzen and Marozsan. I think that she will be one of their key players in the final.

What was delight for Germany, turned out to be despair for Sweden who bowed out of their own tournament and although they were favourites going into the game it was always going to be an uphill task. You could tell how much it meant to the players at halftime, you can’t help but feel sorry for Sweden but in the end the best team won.

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