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WORLD CUP

Sweden hit out at Germans for ‘rubbing it in’ with World Cup celebrations

Fuming Sweden coach Janne Andersson accused Germany of "rubbing it in our faces" as they celebrated the dramatic late goal from Toni Kroos that gave them a 2-1 win in their crucial World Cup clash in Sochi on Saturday.

Sweden hit out at Germans for 'rubbing it in' with World Cup celebrations
Sweden's midfielder Sebastian Larsson reacts after the final whistle of the Russia 2018 World Cup Group F football match between Germany. Photo: ADRIAN DENNIS / AFP
Germany were in real danger of a group-stage exit from the tournament, with a draw only likely to give them a temporary reprieve, until Kroos curled in a 95th-minute free-kick to take the points.
 
The World Cup holders then set off to celebrate wildly, having come from behind in the Group F encounter at Sochi's Fisht Stadium, but their behaviour provoked anger on the opposition bench.
 
“Some of Germany's leaders celebrated by running in our direction and rubbing it into our faces. That got me angry,” said Andersson. “We fought it out for 90 minutes and when the final whistle blows you shake hands and you leave so I was very angry with that.”
 
Ola Toivonen's goal had given Sweden a first-half lead, but Marco Reus equalised early in the second half.
 
Even a draw would have left Germany needing to win their final game against South Korea while hoping the Swedes lost to Mexico. But suddenly Joachim Loew's team — who had Jerome Boateng sent off late on — have their fate in their own hands again, while Sweden have it all still to do.
 
The Scandinavian side, though, were also unhappy at not being given an early penalty when Marcus Berg was fouled in the area by Boateng on the point of shooting.
 
“We played excellently and scored a beautiful goal. We won't cast any blame but we have spoken to those who say it was a penalty on Berg, and that is maybe what we needed against a team like Germany,” said Andersson, who was 
unhappy that the Video Assistant Referee did not intervene.
 
“If we have the system it's very unfortunate that (the referee) doesn't feel he can go and have a look. If that's his decision we have to live with it.”
 
He added: “The whole group is still alive so we will have to lick our wounds and come back for the last game.”

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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