Sweden frustrate Germany
17 October 2012
BERLIN/MILAN/MADRID/SANTIAGO/LA PAZ, 17 OCT: Sweden neutralised a 4-0 lead by Germany within 30 minutes to flabbergast the hosts at the Olympia Stadium here in Group C of the World Cup qualifiers. Germany staged a faultless performance over 60 minutes to score four goals, but the Swedish comeback destroyed all hopes of a victory Tuesday at the last qualifier of 2012, reports Xinhua.The hosts started furiously into the match as Germany's top scorer Miroslav Klose opened the scoring with eight minutes into the match. Klose netted a diagonal pass by Marco Reus to slot home into the roof of the net.
Germany added a second goal to the lead as Klose and Reus finished a terrific build up seven minutes later. Marco Reus again had set up for Klose with two consecutive one-two combinations. Sweden were unable to hold the pace with fleet-footed Germans who lurked for more goals. Six minutes before break, Per Mertesacker tripled the lead for Germany when he utilised a header by Thomas Mueller to volley home from seven metres. After the break, Germany started where they left off as Mesut Oezil marked the fourth goal of the evening.
It looked like a comfortable win for the Germans but it turned out to be otherwise.
Sweden's star Zlatan Ibrahimovic introduced the goal spree when his header found the back of the net against the run of the game in the 62nd minute. Two minutes later Mikael Lustig reduced Germany's lead to 4-2 following a nutmeg against Manuel Neuer.
The Germans remained absolutely stunned and Sweden's Johan Elmander slotted home into far corner to reduce Germany further 4-3 on the scoreboards in the 76th minute. It became even worse for the Germans as Sweden's Rasmus Elm snatched the 4-4 equaliser three minutes into injury time. "I cannot understand how we shared points today. We staged terrific and dominant football over 60 minutes. That will take some explaining how we could gave away a four-goal lead. We are really disappointed," Germany coach Joachim Loew said after the match. Nonetheless, Germany stays on top of the standings with 10 points in Group C, followed by Sweden, Ireland, Austria, Kazakhstan and Faroe Islands.
France hold champions
Spain's coach Vicente del Bosque was forced to admit that justice was done following Oliver Giroud's 94th minute goal which gave France a dramatic 1-1 draw in the World Cup qualifying game here. Spain had been on track for their third consecutive win in their group when Sergio Ramos headed them into a first half lead but a defensive error from Spain full back Juanfran Torres, who had come into the game as a second half substitute, allowed Frank Ribery to set Giroud for a late late headed goal Tuesday, reports Xinhua. The result leaves both sides with seven points from three games but France have a slight advantage given that Spain have to play them in Paris next year.
"The game was very open and we were always vulnerable to being hit on the break," del Bosque admitted after the final whistle.
"They (France) pressured us a lot in the second half and we didn't defend well as we were too open at the back but you can't take merit away from France," said the Spanish coach, who admitted his players could have been tired following their 4-0 win in Belarus Friday.
"We looked a bit heavy and looked to defend at 1-0, but what can you do."
Goal-scorer Ramos admitted that the lateness of the French goal, which came in the last action of the game was deeply frustrating.
"You end up feeling bad after all the work you have done, with the time over, they have drawn and you end up looking stupid. The goal was an error but you can't blame anyone, we had chances and didn't take them: that is football," said a frustrated Ramos.
"I am happy for the goal, but it's not worth anything when you don't win," he concluded.
Balotelli inspires Italy
Inspiring Mario Balotteli scored one and set up another goal as a 10-man Italy beat Denmark 3-1 at home here.
Italy seemed to have the win secured after they scored two goals in a space of five first-half minutes from Riccardo Montolivo and Daniele De Rossi Tuesday. Although, Denmark got a goal back in first-half injury time through William Kvist Jorgensen, reports Xinhua.
But things looked tricky with just 18 seconds into the second half, as Italy's Pablo Osvaldo was shown the red card for violent conduct after an incident involving Denmark's Nicolai Stokholm.
However, Cesare Prandelli's team, largely unimpressive in their World Cup qualifying campaign so far, did not let that throw them off their stride as Balotelli - making his first appearance for Italy since Euro 2012 - fired in a third in the 54th minute.
"I hoped to win this match. Denmark scored just before the break and things got rather complicated, but it was good to score tonight," Balotelli said.
"Both with Italy and Manchester City, I have always put the effort in and am improving in terms of my work rate. I have had this humility for a while and can continue to have it without problems," he added.
Lionel Messi and Gonzalo Higuain each scored as Argentina beat Chile 2-1 on Tuesday to remain atop the South American World Cup qualifying standings. Messi scored in the 28th and Higuain added another in the 31st. Felipe Gutierrez scored for Chile in second-half injury time. Argentina has 20 points from nine games. Chile stayed on 12 points, and the loss will put more pressure on under-fire coach Claudio Borghi.
It was Messi's 31st goal for Argentina as he closes in on 33 by Diego Maradona, who is third on the country's all-time list. Gabriel Batistuta leads with 54.
Bolivia defeated Uruguay 4-1 at the Hernando Siles Stadium here in the South American qualification series for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Xabier Azkargorta's team had a better performance than the previous 1-1 draw with Peru four days ago, which lowered its possibilities to qualify for the World Cup, reports Xinhua.
Playing with a very solid defence and better order in the middle sector, Bolivia scored through forward Carlos Saucedo in the 5th, 50th and 55th, and by Gualberto Mojica in the 27th minute.
Uruguayan star Luis Suarez scored in the 80th minute.
This is Uruguay's third consecutive defeat in away matches, who now have 12 points and are ready to try their chance of directly qualifying for Brazil 2014.
Bolivia achieved eight points after the win and will visit Colombia next in March 2013, when Uruguay host Paraguay.