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Despite taking the lead in their quarterfinal against Sweden, Germany's World Cup tournament came to an end. Sweden executed a brilliant matchplan to expose Germany's weaknesses.
Germany 1-2 Sweden
(Magull 15' - Jakobsson 22', Blackstenius 48')
After 24 years of not beating Germany in big tournaments, Sweden finally overcame their poor run of form to seal a deserved win. Germany are the first team to score first and not progress at this tournament.
It all started so well for Germany, when Lina Magull scored a superb scissor kick after a brilliant assist by Sara Däbritz.
That goal seemed to wake Sweden up though, and not long afterwards Marina Hegering misjudged a long ball, Sofia Jakobsson latched onto it and fired past Almuth Schult.
"We are in process, but it's not stable yet. We have to defend better," Martina Voss-Tecklenburg said afterwards.
From that point on, Germany looked rattled and despite cooling breaks and halftime, they couldn't settle. Three minutes after the restart, Schult's great save wasn't enough to prevent Sweden from scoring as Stina Blackstenius stabbed home the rebound. Germany felt somewhat aggrieved that a tackle on Magull in the build up to the goal wasn't seen as a foul by referee Stephanie Frappart.
Martina Voss-Tecklenburg had brought on Dzsenifer Marozsan at the break, in the hope of seeing an increase in creative play but the Germany star was kept relatively quiet.
With time running out, 17-year-old talent Lena Oberdorf was thrown on and she instantly gave Germany more dynamism. Alexandra Popp got to a header but was called offside. The decision was a close one, and needed VAR to confirm. Had Popp not been offside, it seemed Germany were due a penalty as Popp was also clattered by Swedish keeper Hedvig Lindahl.
"We lacked a bit of fortune, and that hurts. We lacked attacking penetration. In some passages, we weren't clinical or brave enough. We will grow," Voss-Tecklenburg said afterwards.
In added time, Germany had two more chances. First Oberdorf headed wide with the goal at her mercy, and then Hegering couldn't keep her header down. It was too little, too late from this Germany team who exit the tournament having learned lessons that should see a young squad come back stronger in the future.
Lindahl's foul on Popp would have seen Germany get a penalty were it not for Popp's being very narrowly offside.
As it happened:
GERMANY ARE OUT OF THE WORLD CUP AFTER LOSING TO SWEDEN!
90+5' ...Oberdorf is called for a foul when it looks like a show of strength. That is surely that.
90+3' CHANCE! Marozsan hangs up a cross for Hegering at the back post and she gets to it but Glas does enough to make sure her header goes up rather than down. If she had kept that down, Germany would be level. Three minutes left...
90+1' Oberdorf is making all the difference. Drives forward, sets up Däbritz, who has a low shot that Lindahl saves. Then Marozsan gets a cross in, but Lindahl saves again. Germany desperate now. Sweden have weathered the storm well.
88' CHANCE! ...the ball goes over Lindahl and Popp and lands with Oberdorf. The goal is gaping but Oberdorf doesn't lean into the header, instead lets the ball come to her and she heads it wide. Huge chance. Another look at that offside line on Popp by the way and it is very, very, very close. The conversation will start again.
85' Ilestedt clatters into Popp. Free kick chance. There was a VAR check on that by the way, which took a while, but because Popp was offside it couldn't be a penalty. Had she not been, it seems like that would have been a spot kick. Attacking foul against Popp from the free kick. Terrible call. A slip from the Swedish defender. Time running out...
82' CHANCE! Marozsan, who hasn't been in the game, dinks a great ball in and Popp gets to the header and gets clattered by Lindahl. The flag goes up, and if it hadn't that's a penalty I think. Lindahl is nowhere near the ball there.
78' CHANCE! Sweden look more like scoring. Jakobsson shifts to the right to beat the defender, fires a shot away but Schult parries. Doorsoun calmly heads it into the arms of her keeper. Safe. Germany need something here. They already look beaten.
74' Oberdorf makes a strong challenge. Looks fair enough, but the referee awards the foul for the amount of contact. Popp isn't happy. Then the cooling break is called. Last chance for Germany to regroup.
71' CHANCE! Sweden break, which will likely happen more often now, and Blackstenius powers forward but Hegering gets back and does really well to time the block. Just stopped a goal there, which probably would have been the game.
70' Voss-Tecklenburg stays on brand with her subs, bringing on 17-year-old Lena Oberdorf for Lea Schüller. The teenage midfielder is on to do the hard work in midfield, and now Popp moves up front. Another reshuffle. Can Germany's youngsters get them through here? Just 20 minutes to go now.
66' Is this a turning point? Nilla Fischer can't continue. Potsdam's Amanda Ilestedt comes on. Big moment. No doubt Ilestedt is talented, but the loss of Fischer's leadership in a game like this is huge for Sweden.
64' Germany are trying to spread it but the runners aren't there. It's difficult in the heat, but without the width Germany are going to struggle to find a way past a Swedish back line that looks resolute.
57' Great defending by Gwinn. She wins the ball back and prevents the corner. Germany get it down the other end, Lindahl comes out and doesn't get the clearance right but the attempt from range goes wide. I have a feeling this game is beyond Germany. I know it's early, but I just have a feeling. I think Sweden are going to finally end their run of 24 years without a win against Germany when it matters.
53' That was a nightmare start for Germany, who now need Marozsan more than ever. They have time on their side, but the ease in which Sweden were first able to get the cross in, win the header and then get to the rebound is concerning. All far too easy. Time to find a response.
48' GOAL! 2-1 Sweden (Blackstenius) Well, this was unexpected. Rolfö heads across goal, but Schult makes a great save to tip it clear. Sadly for Germany though, the rebound falls to Stina Blackstenius and she smashes it into the roof of the net. This Sweden team have exploited Germany's defense superbly today. A real challenge for Marozsan and co. now.
46' Voss-Tecklenburg rolls the dice! Dallmann comes off for Dzsenifer Marozsan! Broken toe or not, it seems Germany feel they need her. Can she change the game here? Time to find out!
This is tense. Germany took the lead with an outstanding scissor-kick from Lina Magull, and it looked like the game was theirs to lose at that point. But Sweden struck back quickly after a long ball caught the Germany defense out. The long ball problem continued for Germany and Sweden ended the first half looking the better of the two. An exciting second half to come!
44' Another tactical twist from Voss-Tecklenburg. Simon cannot continue, but it's not Schweers who comes on but Leonie Maier. The new Arsenal signing drops to right back, which sees the versatile Gwinn move to left back. Maier hasn't played a single minute at this tournament yet. Talk about pressure situation...
41' Magull tries to win a corner after dancing into the box, but Fischer's clearance comes back off Magull. Goal kick. Simon is back on. Long balls continue to be an issue for Germany. Another one lands in behind an uneven backline. Hegering is a bit further forward, but Doorsoun's pace is enough to save the day. Then Germany take their time clearing a corner. All a bit messy.
39' Some sloppy passing coming into play now. First Simon pushes a five yard pass wide of Magull and then Sweden hurry a counterattack. Simon hobbles off, with her knee the source of the pain. Doesn't look good. Is Verena Schweers about to come on?
36' Drinks are over with, play continues and Sweden come out up for it! Blackstenius gets the better of Doorsoun and it takes a good save from Schult to deny the striker. This game is wide open.
31' Popp's deep-lying playmaker qualities come to the fore. She pings another ball out wide as Germany continually look to spread the play, but can't find the pass in the final third all of a sudden. Then Blackstenius is put through but who-else-but Popp pops (had to, sorry) up to defend the situation expertly. That'll be drinks, and if this was cricket I'd say that Germany were 40-1 but Sweden were getting the ball into the corridor of uncertainty.
29' The heat seems to have caught up with both sides all of a sudden, which is totally understandable considering the temperatures. Perhaps it's just the case of the game evening out a bit too. Germany had the opening stages, but Sweden have battled back since. The ball is more in midfield now.
22' GOAL! 1-1 Sweden (Jakobsson) A long ball over the top that Hegering misjudges allows Sofia Jakobsson to steal in and she arrows a shot into the far corner past Schult. That is the first goal Germany have conceded at this tournament, and it is an entirely preventable one. Jakobsson almost seemed to expect Hegering to miss it, and this isn't the first time that has happened this tournament. Game on!
19' CHANCE! Germany are in control now. After Schult makes a good save from a low cross, Germany head down the other end. Schüller gets to the cross, but Lindahl is there. The decision to drop Popp deeper is looking a good one so far.
16' GOAL! 1-0 Germany (Magull) It has been coming. A defensive error invites Germany. Sara Däbritz takes the pass from the Swedish defender, drives forward and then dinks a perfect ball through to Lina Magull. The Bayern midfielder's touch sees the ball get up on her, but she acrobatically throws herself at it to hammer home superbly. What a goal. Truly fantastic football.
14' CHANCE! Schult makes a good save with her feet to deny Jakobsson. A great run by Jakobsson too, and the ball was timed to perfection too. The corner is also dealt with. Sweden need a few chances like that to give them the confidence they need.
12' Interesting tactical observation. Popp is sitting deep in midfield, with Schüller in the center of attack. Smart moves, as it gives more pace to Germany when the outlet pass comes.
9' Germany have certainly found their rhythm quickly here. Passing well, moving sharply. Sweden need to find their feet a bit. Germany haven't conceded in eight hours now, just so you know.
5' CHANCE! Lovely interplay from Germany ends in Fischer blocking off Dallmann. Magull curls the free kick towards goal from the edge of the box. Again, Lindahl is there and makes a comfortable save. Germany have started with intent here though.
3' The usual exchange of possession starts the game. Then Simon puts Dallmann in on the left-hand side of the box, but Sweden can clear. The corner leads to a Popp header but Lindahl is there to save it.
1' Germany get us underway!
Popp, Huth and Magull are all one booking away from suspension. Almost go time here in Rennes, where it's 31 degrees Celsius (87 Fahrenheit).
Germany have not yet conceded at this World Cup. That's right, you read that right. They have faced just six shots on target, with three coming from open play. A solid defensive unit right there. Will that zero still be in place come the end of this quarterfinal? It would be astounding if so.
Good luck message from Kerber!
Schüller ready to write history
Lea Schüller has a fantastic record for Germany with nine goals in 16 games and will hoping to add to the record against the Swedes. "I can understand that Sweden talk the way they do, every team wants to write history," said Germany forward Lea Schüller. "But it is our goal as well to write history. We know very well that we have not reached 100 per cent yet, but it is our goal to do so in the next games."
Better safe than sorry with Marozsan
After all the pre-match hype about her return, Marozsan is forced to settle for a place on the bench, but remains an enviable option to bring on in the later stages of the game should Germany need to. The Olympique Lyon midfielder has made 91 appearances for Germany scoring 32 goals in the process.
Martina Voss-Tecklenburg makes a big call. Lea Schüller is going to start this one. Simon is also in for Schweers and Dallmann is preferred in midfield to Leupolz. Sweden are unchanged from their 1-0 win over Canada.
Germany XI: Schult - Simon, Hegering, Doorsoun, Gwinn - Däbirtz, Magull, Dallmann, Huth - Schüller, Popp
Sweden XI: Lindahl - Eriksson, Sembrant, Fischer, Glas - Rubensson, Asllani, Seger - Jakobsson, Blackstenius, Rolfö
Netherlands into the final four
The Dutch have headed their way into their first ever World Cup semifinal. Vivianne Miedema and Stephanie van der Gragt guided brilliant headers into the net to overcome Italy in sweltering heat in Valenciennes. That's 11 consecutive games without defeat now in major tournaments. Wow. Germany, if they overcome Sweden, will face them in the semifinals.
Marozsan provides timely boost
After breaking a toe in Germany's opening game in Group B against China, Dzsenifer Marozsan is set to return against Sweden despite not being fully recovered.
"The toe is broken and it will stay broken. Dzseni has the desire to play. That's what sets her apart," Voss-Tecklenburg.
More on the line than just a semifinal spot
Not to forget, Germany and Sweden aren't just competing for a place in the final four in France, but a trip to Tokyo for the Olympics in 2020. The three best-placed European teams at the World Cup automatically book their ticket to the Summer Games. England have stamped theirs already, but there are two spots up for grabs today.
Possible line-up: Germany
It remains to be seen whether Dzsenifer Marozsan, still nursing a broken toe, will feature from the off or be brought on from the bench, but we will see Germany's chief playmaker in action one way or another.
Schult - Gwinn, Hegering, Doorsoun, Simon - Magull, Leupolz - Huth, Marozsan, Däbritz - Popp
Possible line-up: Sweden
Sweden are expected to name the same side that beat Canada in the Round of 16 after Stina Blackstenius scored the only goal of the game to book a date with Germany.
Lindahl - Glas, Fischer, Sembrant, Eriksson - Rubensson, Asllani, Seger - Jakobsson, Blackstenius, Rolfö
Welcome one and all!
Germany have their sights set on a place in the final four of the Women's World Cup as they look to preserve their unblemished record in the competition against Sweden in tonight's quarterfinal in Rennes. Can Martin Voss-Tecklenburg's side make it five wins out five in France? Stay with us for live coverage.