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WORLD CUP 2014

ALGERIA

Algeria look to settle old score with Germany

Underdogs Algeria have the chance to settle a 32-year-old World Cup score and create a major upset by knocking out Germany in Monday's last 16 clash.

Algeria look to settle old score with Germany
Coach Joachim Löw with Bastian Schweinsteiger. Photo: DPA

The sides meet at Porto Alegre's Beira-Rio Stadium, but the 1982 World Cup in Spain remains a sore point in Algeria, three decades after 'the shame of Gijon'.

Despite beating West Germany 2-1 in their group games, Algeria were eliminated after the Germans played out a mutually beneficial 1-0 win over Austria in Gijon.
   
Coach Joachim Löw has played down any talk of Algerian revenge being a factor as the Germans chase a first win against the north Africans at the third attempt.
   
"Most of the players weren't even born then and something which took place over 30 years ago is not really a relevant subject," said Löw on Sunday.
   
But his opposite number Vahid Halilhodzic said the team have "not forgotten" and spoken at length about the 1982 factor since reaching the knock-out stages.
   
"No one has forgotten what happened in 1982, the players will be motivated to get their revenge, but the Germans will also be going everything to get to the quarter-finals," said Halilhodzic.
 

   
Algeria defender Rafik Halliche says the north Africans are equally interested in claiming a major scalp.
   
"That happened in 1982, now we're in 2014, this is a chance to get into the quarter-finals, this will be a tough game, but we're highly concentrated," said the 27-year-old.
   
And Löw has warned his side against complacency or looking beyond Algeria to a possible quarter-final against France or Nigeria in Rio de Janeiro next Friday.
   
"France is not in our heads, we have said anyone who underestimates a last 16 opponent is wrong," insisted the 54-year-old.
   
"It is extremely important at this stage to take it a round by round and not look further ahead."
 
'Deliver or go home'
 
Germany captain Philipp Lahm echoed Löw's sentiments.
   
"We're in the knock-out phase – either you deliver or you go home," said the 30-year-old.
   
This is the second match running where the Germans have had to deal with spectres from their past.
   
Their 1-0 victory over USA silenced any suggestions Löw had struck a pre-match deal with Stars and Stripes coach Jürgen Klinsmann to agree on a draw which would have guaranteed safe passage to the last 16.
   
More pressingly, Löw is under pressure to end the Germans 24-year wait for another World Cup title after Italy 1990.
   
Thomas Müller's second-half thunderbolt gave Germany a 1-0 win over the USA in their final group match, but Thursday's victory in Recife came at a price.
   
Arsenal forward Lukas Podolski sits out the Algeria match after a scan on Saturday revealed he has a small tear in his thigh muscle.
   
As well as naming Podolski's replacement, Löw must also decide whether Sami Khedira or Bastian Schweinsteiger partners captain Philipp Lahm in the defensive midfield.
   
Löw insists his side are "on fire", but Germany failed to dazzle in either their 2-2 draw with Ghana or win over the USA having hammered Portugal 4-0 in their opening match.
   
Müller is their stand-out performer here and joint top-scorer at Brazil 2014 as his four goals matches those of Brazil's Neymar and Argentina's Lionel Messi.
 

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FOOTBALL

Sweden into World Cup semis after ending German hoodoo

Stina Blackstenius scored the winner as Sweden came from behind to stun old rivals Germany on Saturday and set up a women's World Cup semi-final against the Netherlands.

Sweden into World Cup semis after ending German hoodoo
Photo: AP Photo/David Vincent/TT

Sweden had not beaten Germany at a major women's tournament since the 1995 World Cup, failing to win any of their subsequent meetings at World Cups, European Championships and Olympics in almost quarter of a century.

That run included defeats in the 2003 World Cup final and the gold medal match at the 2016 Rio Olympics, but they gained revenge in Rennes, coming from behind to win their quarter-final 2-1.

Lina Magull had given Germany a 16th-minute lead with a fine finish from a Sara Däbritz assist, but the excellent Sofia Jakobsson equalised soon after on a hot evening in Brittany.

The winner arrived three minutes after half-time, with Blackstenius prodding home the rebound after Almuth Schult had saved a Fridolina Rolfö header.

Despite bringing on star player Dszenifer Marozsan, who had missed the
previous three games with a broken toe, Germany remained blunt as the clock
ticked down.

Blackstenius had scored Sweden's winner against Canada in the last round and also netted against the Germans in that Olympic final defeat in 2016.

“We have talked about the possibilities here for us to go far and win every game,” said a bullish Sweden coach Peter Gerhardsson.

“There's not a single mitochondria in us that's content. We're going to go for it.”

The Germans will now be deprived of the chance to defend their Olympic title, with defeat here meaning they fail to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Games. Sweden will join the Netherlands and Great Britain — who have qualified thanks to England's World Cup run — at the Games instead.

“We are now qualified for the Olympics. That is one thing that has been hanging over our heads for a while,” said Gerhardsson.

Germany coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg told ARD: “The defeat hurts, but we are in a process. We will grow from this experience.”

Sweden go on to a semi-final encounter with the Dutch in Lyon on Wednesday, and they will have a score to settle there too, having lost to the Netherlands at Euro 2017.

The 'Oranje' went on to win that tournament and have coped well in France with their status as reigning European champions.

The tournament now switches for the closing stages to Lyon — home to Europe's top women's club side — with holders the United States and England facing off in the first semi-final on Tuesday.

Megan Rapinoe's double strike gave the USA a 2-1 win over France on Friday, ending the hosts' dream of winning the trophy on home soil.

England reached their second successive World Cup semi-final with a straightforward 3-0 win over Norway on Thursday.

READ ALSO: Italy lose out to Dutch in bid to reach World Cup semi-finals

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