Germany vs. Sweden: 4 Players Who Will Determine World Cup Qualifier

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistOctober 16, 2012

GDANSK, POLAND - JUNE 19: Per Mertesacker controls the ball during a Germany training session ahead of their UEFA EURO 2012 quarter-final match against Greece, at their UEFA EURO 2012 training ground on June 19, 2012 in Gdansk, Poland.  (Photo by Joern Pollex/Getty Images)
Joern Pollex/Getty Images

Sweden will need everything in their arsenal to down Germany in 2014 World Cup qualification.

Although the Germans had a rather lackluster Euro 2012, they appear to be a lock to go to Brazil in two years, as their 6-1 demolition of Ireland can attest.

The Swiss on the other hand, have a much steeper climb ahead. They only managed to beat the Faroe Islands 2-1 on Saturday.

Both sides come into the match having picked up the maximum amount of points, six for Sweden and nine for Germany.

This is the premier match for Group C. If Sweden wants to qualify outright, they'll have to go through the Germans. For Germany, their toughest test of qualification will come from the Swedes.

No matter the result, this should be a fun match to watch.

Here's four players who will have the biggest influence on the game:


Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Ibrahimovic is without a question Sweden's best player.

This can be a double-edged sword, though, since the team's play can often rely on whatever his temperament is on that day.

On his best day, Ibra is unplayable for opposition defenses. On his worst, he is also unplayable, but in this case for his manager.

For Sweden to pick up any sort of result, Ibrahimovic will have to duplicate his performance against the Faroe Islands, when he recorded an assist and a goal.


Andreas Isaksson

Sweden doesn't have the quality in defense to be able to prevent Germany from getting plenty of shots on goal, so Isaksson will really be tested.

It is extremely doubtful that he'll be able to keep a clean sheet.

He's been a rock for the Swedish national team, amassing over a hundred caps. A player doesn't get to that kind of number by being inconsistent.

Consistent won't cut it against Germany, though. Isaksson will have to be extraordinary.


Toni Kroos

Kroos is one of the more underrated members of the German squad. Aside from Spain, he could walk into the starting 11 of any other country in the world.

He came on as a sub at the start of the second half in the match against Ireland and scored twice.

The problem with Germany at Euro 2012 was that both Sami Khedira and Bastian Schweinsteiger were moving higher up the pitch, leaving the back four exposed.

Although those two have immense quality, playing Kroos in central midfield will give the team more balance. Schweinsteiger or Khedira will be the cover for the defense, and Kroos can be the deep-lying playmaker.


Per Mertesacker

Mertesacker has come a long way from last year, when he was labelled as too slow for the Premier League.

With some time to settle down, he has become one of Arsenal's best defenders. This will come as no surprise to those who have been following Mertesacker with the German national team and Werder Bremen.

In all likelihood, he will be marking Ibrahimovic. It will be a very interesting matchup as both players are very tall and not exactly the most athletic.

If Mertesacker renders Ibra ineffective, then Sweden has no chance.