Germany vs. Sweden: Adjustments Each Team Must Make to Succeed in the World Cup

Josh AronsonCorrespondent IOctober 16, 2013

WARSAW, POLAND - JUNE 28:  (L-R) Toni Kroos, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Mesut Ozil and Marco Reus of Germany talk before taking a free-kick during the UEFA EURO 2012 semi final match between Germany and Italy at National Stadium on June 28, 2012 in Warsaw, Poland.  (Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images)
Alex Grimm/Getty Images

 

On Tuesday, Germany and Sweden faced off in a game that was played entirely for national pride.

Germany had already clinched the group, giving them an automatic bid to the World Cup while Sweden is still vying for their birth, making the game more of a formality. Germany was able to come back from being down 2-0 and win the match 5-3. In their first matchup, it was Sweden who came back; down 4-0 in the second half, the Swedes earned a 4-4 draw.

Offense has been at a premium in these matchups, and both managers know that come World Cup time, the back lines must tighten up.

Let’s take a look at some adjustments each team must make heading into next summer’s World Cup in Brazil.

 

Sweden

Sweden has played Germany very competitively in their two matches in qualifying play.

Manager Erik Hamren has to be pleased with his team’s performance, as Germany is one of the best teams in the world.

When on the attack, it is no secret that the Sweds are looking to get star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic involved as much as possible. Ibrahimovic leads the team with six goals in 10 qualifying games and has also added five assists. 

DUBLIN, IRELAND - SEPTEMBER 06:  Zlatan Ibrahimovic of Republic of Ireland battles with Marc Wilson of Sweden during the FIFA 2014 World Cup Qualifying Group C match between Republic of Ireland and Sweden at Aviva Stadium on September 6, 2013 in Dublin, I
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

Looking forward, Ibrahimovic needs to continue to play at an incredibly high level if Sweden is going to compete for the World Cup.

The defense is letting up too many goals and they are not controlling the ball enough. Look for Sweden to try and slow the game down and give Ibrahimovic as many touches as possible.

Against Germany, Sweden had possession only 26 percent of the time. This will need to improve because relying on the long ball and counterattack doesn’t work against the great teams.

 

Germany

Jun 2, 2013; Washington, DC, USA; Germany midfielder Andre Schurrle (9) takes a shot against USA during the first half at RFK Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Paul Frederiksen-USA TODAY Sports
Paul Frederiksen-USA TODAY Sport

Germany dominated their table, going 9-1-0 with a goal differential of plus-26. They are currently ranked third in the world and proved worthy of that throughout qualifying play.

The Germans can attack with a number of different weapons; against Sweden it was Andre Schurrle, who netted a hat trick.

The German attack is extremely lethal with the likes of Mesut Ozil and Bastian Schweinsteiger leading the charge. Ozil, who is only 25 years old, brings incredible finesse and improvisation to the game and anchors the German front line.

On the defensive side, goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, will be relied on heavily by the German faithful.

In 2010, Neuer was named the No. 1 keeper for Germany's semi-final match against Spain. Although the Germans lost, Neuer has the confidence that he can be the best keeper in the world. 

Manager Joachim Low will have a hard time making adjustments to a team that appears to already be playing at a first-class level heading into next summer.

Look for Germany to once again be one of the favorites and to win their first World Cup since 1990.