Cigars and congratulations from the prime minister for Sweden, but 'life lessons' for Germany after incredible 4-4 draw


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The Independent Football

Much of the focus last night was on the farcical scenes in Warsaw but in neighbouring Germany not only was some actual football taking place, but what will probably be the most incredible game during this long qualification process for the 2014 World Cup.

A first half display by Germany in which they demonstrated the fluid, powerful and skilful style they've become synonymous with saw them 3-0 up in Berlin. A fourth from Mesut Ozil in the 55th minute added to the earlier strikes by Miroslav Klose, who scored twice, and the Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker.

But Sweden captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic was to lead a fightback which began in the 62nd minute and ended with an equaliser in the 92nd. It was a match that saw Germany's 13-games winning streak in Euro and World Cup qualifiers come to an end.

Ibrahimovic scored the first for the visitors with a wonderful header before two minutes later Mikael Lustig added another.

Johan Elmander cut Germany's lead to 4-3 in the 76th minute and Rasmus Elm grabbed an unlikely equaliser just before the final whistle to earn the visitors the most unlikely of draws.

After the match, Sweden coach Erik Hamren celebrated the result with a cigar and told reporters: "I didn't want the night to end." He also revealed that the Swedish prime minister John Fredrik Reinfeldt made a visit to the dressing room to thank the players for their performance.

"He probably didn't feel that great at 4-0, but it was a lot more fun at 4-4. He went around and thanked all the players. It was appreciated," Hamren said.

Speaking to the press this morning, Hamren expressed his sympathy for his German counterpart Joachim Loew.

"I felt sorry for him (Loew) when he came into the corridor on the way in to the press conference," he said.

"I wouldn't like to be in his shoes. I imagine that he's getting the criticism today that I would have gotten had we lost - maybe even more."

Loew, who had overseen three straight wins in Germany's qualification campaign before last night, said he was "in a state of shock".

"For us this should be a life lesson. A lesson in how one should finish off a game. I simply have no explanation for what happened."

The Germany manager, who was criticised after his team exited Euro 2012 at the semi-final stage despite a promising start to the tournament, says his side must learn lessons from the match.

"I never expected to see my team thrown off rhythm like that," said Loew. "It was something that had to do with their head and we are all bitterly disappointed.

"But we will not be thrown off track. This may be a game where you can learn something for life."

The unlikely draw kept Sweden in second place in Group C on seven points, three behind Germany and one ahead of Republic of Ireland, who they meet in their next qualifier in Stockholm in March.

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