Germany’s 2-1 win over Sweden was a “rollercoaster ride” but was also a triumph for calm thinking and patience, says Joachim Low.
The world champions went a goal down after 32 minutes and although Marco Reus equalised three minutes into the second half, their hopes of retaining the title were hanging by a thread until Toni Kroos scored in the 95th minute with a fine free-kick.
Low said he knew Germany would find it hard to break down the Swedish defence but told his players at half-time to keep playing their usual brand of precision football.
“I told them to keep their calm in the next 45 minutes and to not start panicking and try to work long, high balls but to continue with short passes and go vertical to the wings and try to be incisive,” Low told reporters.
“Something that I did appreciate was that we didn’t lose our nerve, we didn’t panic after going down. We kept a level head, we said we needed to keep passing and tire the Swedes out and open up spaces. And in the second half, the pressure built up more and more.
“We missed a couple of good chances but I appreciated the spirit of the team, we never lost hope of winning the match. The goal in stoppage time, there was bit of luck involved but it was also about believing in ourselves and powering on.”
Low, who led the Germans to glory in Brazil four years ago, paid particular tribute to Kroos, the midfielder whose mistake led to Sweden’s goal from Ola Toivonen.
Kroos kept plugging away and his goal provoked delirious scenes from German fans and the bench.
“I was very pleased for him,” Low said. “He was obviously involved in the mistake with the Swedes scoring the first goal. It was an unfortunate incident but what he did very well was this free kick in the dying minutes.
“Of course this was a thriller, full of emotions, a rollercoaster ride. The last couple of minutes were full of drama but those matches exist in football.
“This is something that happens time and again and that is kind of the attractiveness for football fans that you have these matches.”