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Holger Badstuber is in many ways an excellent defender. He reads the game well, has an uncanny ability to ward off danger before it develops, and is excellent with the ball at his feet. However, for all his strengths, the Bayern Munich man has some extremely glaring—and rather easily exploitable—flaws.
At 1.89 meters, Badstuber is not exactly short, but he is not particularly tall for his position. At 78 kg, however, he may as well be a fullback. Badstuber may have intelligence and instincts, but he lacks the musculature of most other top central defenders. He's slow and unable to jump very high, and when a cross comes into the penalty box, he is often outmuscled. Sweden took full advantage of Badstuber's physical deficiencies, sending cross after cross in his area. And although their goals were not always the most attractive, they counted just the same as any other.
Badstuber seems to have a fragile ego: If he makes one mistake, he'll often make several more. On Tuesday, he was slow to react for Sweden's first and third goals, and had the ball chipped over his head for the second. This is not the type of character Loew will want in a major tournament, when it's vital for players to stay focused and rebound if given the chance. Badstuber never looked comfortable at Euro 2012. It's an unnecessary gamble to assume he'll change before the World Cup.
Loew has other options available, and one is Per Mertesacker. Although very lanky, the Arsenal man is taller, and the length of his limbs makes up for his sleight stature. He is far more dependable in the air, and he is having an excellent season for club and country thus far. Mertesacker has an abundance of experience and is a proven quantity in major tournaments. After losing his starting role due to an ankle injury, he's definitely earned another chance.