Sweden hurts Germany where it hurts most
BERLIN, Germany ● Spain’s 24-game winning streak in qualifiers ended Tuesday night when Olivier Giroud scored in the fourth minute of second-half stoppage time, giving France a 1-1 tie in qualifying for the 2014 World Cup.
The German media tore into the national football team after Tuesday’s shock 4-4 draw against Sweden.
The usually popular coach Joachim Löw had guided the team to a 4:0 advantage in the first 60 minutes. But in the half hour that followed, Sweden managed to sink four goals and even the score – seen as a victory by the Scandinavians. Germany’s 30 minute fall from grace was the talking point of the national press on Wednesday morning.
Der Spiegel news magazine kicked off the criticism with the headline “60 minutes of heaven, 30 minutes of hell.” It was not often, the article said, that Löw was left lost for words and could not explain what went on in the last half hour to allow Sweden four goals.
Populist daily Bild covered its front page with a direct attack on the captain, “Jogi that was moronic,” it said. In the sports section, the headline screamed “Stupidity record.” The article continued to say that Germany “had never squandered away a 4:0 lead before.”
In keeping with the feeling that the draw was actually a defeat, the Süddeutsche Zeitung daily ran the headline “a victory grotesquely given away.” It was a rare occurrence, it said, that Germany let a game it is clearly dominating, slip out of its hands.
The Berliner Zeitung regional paper echoed this thought with “4:4 defeat”. It paired this with a painful online photo gallery. Another of the capital’s papers the Tagesspiegel called the match a “return to the times of ragged football.”
In Die Welt daily, reporting got personal with the headline “the ugly face of the national team.” News magazine Stern’s website weighed in with “horror show in the capital.”
Regardless of how dismayed the draw left Germany’s viewing public, state broadcaster ARD likely rejoiced after 13.61 million people tuned in to watch the match.
On a busy day of international soccer, Germany wasted a four-goal lead at home in a 4-4 tie against Sweden, and the United States advanced to next year’s regional finals by rallying for a 3-1 win over Guatemala as Clint Dempsey scored twice and Carlos Bocanegra got a goal.
Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Honduras and Jamaica joined the U.S. in next year’s finals of the North and Central American region, which will produce three qualifiers for the 2014 tournament in Brazil.
Jamaica advanced with a 4-1 victory over Antigua and Barbuda as Dane Richards scored two late goals and the Reggae Boyz overtook Guatemala for second place on goal difference. Canada, which hasn’t qualified since 1986, was eliminated with an 8-1 rout at Honduras. Costa Rica advanced with a 7-0 win over Guyana. Mexico, which clinched last month, won 2-0 at home over El Salvador on goals by Oribe Peralta in the 64th and Javier Hernandez in the 85th.
Australia revived its qualifying campaign with a 2-1 win at Iraq as Tim Cahill of the New York Red Bulls scored on a header, his first competitive international goal since January 2011.
At Madrid, Sergio Ramos scored on a 25th-minute header for Spain, the defending World and European champion. Cesc Fabregas failed to convert a 43rd-minute penalty kick at Madrid, and Giroud scored off a cross from Franck Ribery after second-half substitute Juanfran Torres turned the ball over in midfield. Spain is ahead of France on goal difference in Group I.
At Berlin, the hosts surged ahead as Miroslav Klose scored in the eighth and 15th minutes, and Per Mertesacker (39th) and Mesut Oezil (55th) added goals.
Germany’s 13-game winning streak in qualifying ended as Sweden got goals from Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the 62nd minute, Mikael Lustig in the 64th, Johan Elmander in the 76th and Rasmus Elm in the third minute of stoppage time.
“I don’t know how to explain it,” Germany coach Joachim Loew said, whose team leads Sweden by three points in Group C. “Normally, we would not waste a four-goal lead. The problem seems to have been mental after 60 minutes. We became sloppy and lost our discipline.”
Canada dropped out of the top two in its group in North and Central America and the Caribbean with its loss to Honduras in San Pedro Sula. Honduras. which led 4-0 after 25 minutes, got goals three goals each from Jerry Bengston and Carlo Costly, and two from Mario Martinez. Honduras advanced from Group C along with Panama, which tied 1-1 at Cuba.
It was also a frustrating night for Cristiano Ronaldo, whose 100th appearance for Portugal ended in a 1-1 tie at home against Northern Ireland.
England’s qualifier against Poland was postponed until Wednesday because of heavy rain in Warsaw.
Italy beat Denmark 3-1 despite playing a man short following Pablo Osvaldo’s ejection 16 seconds into the second half for a reckless elbow into Nicolai Stokholm’s face. Riccardo Montolivo put the Azzurri ahead in the 33rd minute off a flick from Mario Balotelli, and Daniele De Rossi doubled the lead four minutes later with his third goal in four games. William Kvist scored for the visitors in first-half stoppage time, and Balotelli restored a two-goal lead in the 54th,
The Netherlands maintained its perfect qualifying start with a 4-1 victory at Romania. Jeremaine Lens, Bruno Martins, Rafael Van der Vaart and Robin Van Persie scored for the Oranje, who have a three-point lead in Group D over Romania and Hungary.
In South America, Lionel Messi and Gonzalo Higuain scored as first-place Argentina (6-1-2) won 2-1 at Chile. Bolivia took advantage of the thin air in La Paz and defeated Uruguay 4-1 as Carlos Saucedo scored a hat trick and Gualberto Mujica added a goal. Luis Suarez scored in the 81st for Uruguay.
In Asia, Iran won 1-0 at home against South Korea 1-0 to move even on points in Group A. Uzbekistan and Oman also earned much-needed victories. Uzbekistan downed 2022 World Cup host Qatar 1-0 and Oman beat Jordan 2-1.