Goals galore, but frail defence troubles Loew

15 October 2013 10:46

Joachim Loew has admitted having defensive problems to solve ahead of the Brazil World Cup after Germany finished their qualifying campaign with a thrilling 5-3 win over Sweden.

Chelsea's Andre Schuerrle claimed a second-half hat trick as the Germans came from two goals down to claim their ninth victory in 10 qualification matches.

Having already qualified for Brazil 2014 as Group C winners, Germany finished with an eight-point lead while Sweden, as runners-up, now face a two-legged play-off next month.

Pride was still at stake at Stockholm's Friends Arena with Germany smarting from their 4-4 draw in Berlin last October after throwing away a 4-0 lead.

But the guests threatened to fall to a shock defeat as even without suspended superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Sweden raced into a first-half lead with goals by Tobias Hysen and Alexander Kacaniklic.

"We fell behind due to two particular situations, even though we had had a huge amount of ball possession," said Germany coach Loew.

"We know that we must not make mistakes like that, but it doesn't always work out for us."

"In the second-half we were much more consistent in front of goal, but the defence has to improve."

Germany are now set to test their credentials amongst the favourites for Brazil with friendlies against Italy in Milan on November 15 and a planned encounter with England four days later.

Having last lost a qualifier in the European Championships or World Cup back in October 2007, Germany were heading for a rare defeat until scoring four second-half goals.

"It's annoying to concede three goals, but we have once again shown what power we have when we are going forward," beamed man-of-the-match Schuerrle clutching the match ball.

"That would make it hard for any team in the world."

Loew's Germany extended their unbeaten run to 32 qualification matches, but captain Philipp Lahm was not impressed.

"We have a bit of work to do, not only in defence, but also in attack," said the Bayern Munich star.

Vice-captain Bastian Schweinsteiger, who celebrated his 100th international appearance, admitted it had been a strange game.

"It's always nice when there are a few goals, but the first half was really odd," said the 29-year-old.

"We had the chances, but Sweden scored the goals.

"In the second-half, we turned our chances into goals and I think we have had a good qualifying campaign, even though 5-3 isn't really a good result."

After Arsenal's Mesut Ozil celebrated his 25th birthday by making it 2-1 before the break, Bayern Munich's Mario Goetze came on to equalise before Schuerrle's hat-trick, while Hysen pulled one back for the Swedes.

Germany qualify with a national record of 36 goals from ten qualification matches, conceding only ten, but seven of those came in the two matches against Swedes.

Source: AFP

World Cup Group G

Belgium 1 0 0 3 3
England 1 0 0 1 3
Tunisa 0 0 1 -1 0
Panama 0 0 1 -3 0
Last updated : 08:44