Allianz Arena (Fußball-Arena), München, 24.06.2006
Podolski 4., 12. / Larsson pen 53.
Germany’s clean sweep of their three phase matches would take them back to München for their second round match, and a meeting with Group B runners-up Sweden. After the confident first-phase performance that did much to dispel the pre-tournament doubters, the Mannschaft were now on a roll. All of Germany would now be caught up in World Cup fever, and from the cities to smallest Dorf flags would be seen flying from houses, shops and cars. The Swedes were a well-drilled side that were not to be underestimated, but everyone expected a home victory.
Lars Lagerbäck’s team had made it through the first phase unbeaten – solid and dependable as usual, without being overly spectacular. The Blågult had started their campaign with a disappointing goalless draw against newcomers Trinidad and Tobago, but had followed this with a workmanlike single-goal victory over Paraguay and an encouraging 2-2 draw with group winners England courtesy of a last-minute equaliser from star man Henrik Larsson. Sweden had few massive stars, but as with Swedish teams of the past they were clearly more than the sum of their parts.
Germany – then as West Germany – had met the Swedes during their last World Cup on home soil in 1974 – a second-phase group encounter that had seen the Nationalmannschaft triumph 4-2 in Düsseldorf. It would surely be an omen: a victory over Sweden en route to yet another home victory. The stadium in München would be filled to capacity, and apart from a small crowd of yellow and blue-clad Swedish fans it would be a sea of black and white festooned with thousands of black, red and gold flags.
Nationaltrainer Jürgen Klinsmann would be able to select a first-choice starting eleven, with central defender Christoph Metzelder returning to the side in place of Robert Huth. The coach would stick with his successful 4-4-2 formation, with the attack led by youngster Lukas Podolski and the tournament’s leading scorer Miroslav Klose. On what was yet another pleasant afternoon in Bavaria, Brazilian referee Carlos Simon would get things under way, with the home side in their usual Schwarz und Weiß and their Swedish opponents in their familiar yellow and blue strip.
Youngster Lukas Podolski sweeps in his second goal, Germany are two up inside fifteen minutes in München
After a stunning start where they had effectively killed things off in the opening quarter of an hour, this would be a relatively easy game for Klinsmann’s side, Sweden’s purple patch in the second half notwithstanding. Despite being reduced to ten men the Swedes were able to put up a decent showing, but after failing to gain a significant foothold following Larsson’s penalty miss they simply faded as the Mannschaft walked their way into the quarter-finals.
Germany’s opponents in the last eight would be old foes Argentina, who had to come from behind to beat a feisty Mexican side 2-1 in extra time. The Albiceleste had started the tournament impressively, and even on German soil would have the slight edge for many pundits: not that this mattered much to the growing Schwarz-Rot-Gold army, who would look forward to this next chapter in Germany’s Sommermärchen.
Germany: Lehmann – Friedrich, Mertesacker, Metzelder, Lahm – Schneider, Frings (85. Kehl), Ballack (c), Schweinsteiger (72. Borowski) – Klose, Podolski (74. Neuville)
Sweden: Isaksson – Edman, Lučić, Mellberg, Alexandersson – Jonson (52. Wilhelmsson), Källström (39. Hansson), Linderoth, Ljungberg – Ibrahimović (72. Allbäck), Larsson
Referee: Carlos Simon (Brazil)
Assistants: Aristeu Tavares (Brazil), Ednílson Corona (Brazil)
Fourth Official: Shamsul Maidin (Singapore)
Fifth Official: Prachya Permpanich (Thailand)
Yellow Cards: Frings / Lucic, Jonson, Allbäck
Red Cards: – / Lucic 35.