Sweden vs. Germany: Final score 3-5, Schurrle hat trick sinks Swedes

Lars Baron

Sweden and Germany had nothing to play for, so didn't bother to do too much defending as the goals flowed freely in a German victory in Stockholm, with Chelsea's Andre Schurrle bagging a hat trick in the process.

There was nothing at stake when Germany arrived in Sweden for the last game in their group, both teams having secured first and playoff places, respectively, and although neither team were at their most determined as a result, it seemed to affect defenders more than attackers, leading to a strange and high-scoring game in Stockholm.

Germany began the game in a highly lethargic state, and with the hosts were in no mood to let complacency go unpunished, Sweden didn't take long to register their first goal of the night. Some extremely lax defending from Germany allowed Tobias Hysen to race clear of a ponderous backline, and finished smartly with a low effort that went just beneath Manuel Neuer.

Germany looked to gain an equalizer, but the crisp passing and sharp movement that usually typifies their play appeared to be absent, with the team adopting an unusual strategy of getting down the flanks and firing in crosses at speed rather than attempting to play along the floor.

Germany's inability to find the target was perhaps best exemplified by Andre Schurrle being booked for a dive in the penalty area. There was undoubtedly contact with the Chelsea forward, but his fall was certainly theatrical.

As the second half drew to a close, Sweden punished Germany further with a goal that was almost a carbon copy of the first, Alexander Kacaniklic running free to slot the ball under Neuer and give the hosts a shock 2-0 lead.

Sweden couldn't quite hang on until halftime with their two-goal lead intact, however, with German pressure building to allow Mesut Ozil to execute a smart finish and put the hosts in a far more precarious position as halftime dawned.

It had been a high-scoring game, but not a hugely entertaining one, and the second half continued in much the same fashion. Germany leveled the scores shortly afterwards with their best play of the night leading to a cutback finding Mario Gotze, who curled the ball expertly into the top corner in his stride.

Schurrle had been struggling to get into the game at that point, but defensive errors in the Swedish defense would help the night be a memorable one for him. First a terrible giveaway from some sloppy passing in defense allowed the former Leverkusen man to burst clear and put away a trademark curling finish into the far post. Events then repeated themselves as some hilarious defending from Sweden once again led to chaos in the backline, which Gotze exploited to stab through a short through-ball for Schurrle, who once again pulled off the same finish to double his tally.

Sweden were then able to pull one back through Hysen once again, who took advantage of slack marking to charge onto a hopefully high cross to the back post, which he met with a fine volley which Neuer was unable to keep out.

Yet as Sweden began to look for an equalizer, Germany restored their dominance with a superb goal from Schurrle to round off his hat trick and make up for the fortunate nature of his first two, smashing a brilliant effort into the top corner from 25 yards out.

The last significant moment of the game will be a slight cause for concern for Arsenal fans, as Mesut Ozil limped off to be replaced by Julian Draxler, heading straight to the dressing room in the process. But with neither team desperate for more goals, both sides settled for entertainment in an enjoyable, if utterly meaningless game.

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