The first of 8 second round matches kicks of in a couple of hours as Germany take on Sweden at Munich – scene of the first match of Germany 2006 and a stage set for Germany to progress and setup a mouth-watering quarter-final clash with Argentina.
Germany have had a relatively easy group to progress from and despite conceding two goals in the first game they are defensively strong and sharp in attack – a hallmark of the strong Germany teams of old. Klose is in fine goal-scoring form (he leads the 2006 World Cup goalscoring charts) and Podolski also found the net against Ecuador, giving Germany the confidence that goals will not be a problem. This is an easy game for the Germans and they will already be looking to the first quarter-final at Berlin on the 30th – most likely against Argentina.
Sweden, on the other hand, have everything to play for. Ibrahimovic has return to training and will be itching to be a part of the match against Germany – most likely it will be an appearance off the subs bench in the second half as Sweden chase a Germany lead. Ljunberg, Kallstrom and Larsson are their main attacking threats but with Frings and Lahm in excellent form and Metzelder returning to the German back four the Swedes will have to conjure up something magical to score.
Expect a few goals, as neither Germany nor Sweden are the best defensive sides in the World Cup (and both have shown a tendency to manufacture goals when necessary). However, Klinsmann’s tactical acumen combined with the talent of the German side will be too much for the Swedes, and you can look forward to a tough, but eventually convincing, victory for the Germans.
Score: Germany 3, Sweden 1
See my second round predictions for a quick overview of who I think will win the second round matches[tags]Germany, Sweden, World Cup 2006, Second Round[/tags]