In what will go down as one of the more cynical of officiating displays at any World Cup, FIFA Polish referee Szymon Marciniak gifted Germany a win over Sweden by disallowing an obvious penalty in favor of Sweden and then adding five minutes of outrageously generous extra time to facilitate the current champions’ come from behind win in World Cup 2018.
In a match that saw the Germans control 76% of possession and 18 shots at goal to Sweden’s 7, it was the Swedes who had the more effective game plan. The all-out German attack was blunted by a stalwart Swedish defense that morphed into a deadly counterattacking force with Ola Toivonen and Marcus Berg as the two-man strike force.
At the 16th minute mark a deadly counter saw Berg bearing down on goal in the box with only Jerome Boateng and Manuel Neuer to beat. Boateng, unable to catch up to the Swede, kicked Berg’s legs out from under him. A clear penalty the referee did not even deign to consult about.
Where was the famous FIFA VAR?! What is the point of VAR if the ref on the field does not have to use it on important plays?!
At the 32nd minute mark a quick counter saw Toivonen chip Neuer for the go-ahead goal, Sweden 1, Germany 0.
For the remainder of the half and into extra time, Germans and Swedes traded big-time fouls and great chances that went missing or resulted in incredible saves by Neuer, particularly at the very end of the half, or Robin Olsen throughout the match.
At the 48th minute Marco Reuss scored a goal off his knee that trickled into the Swedish net for the tying goal. The Germans then attacked all out with the energy the goal provided and yet managed to produce twice as many fouls, to stop the counter, as the Swedes did to stop their opponent’s attacks. Only the official stats, by game’s end, had it 12 fouls called against Germany to 13 against Sweden. Could it be possible than in a game with three yellows and a red between two fierce rivals who had each other bloodied by half time there were barely more fouls called on either team than the 10 officially called fouls against Neymar alone committed by Switzerland?
Despite all of this the Swedes held on. And then, at the 90th minute we all learned the Germans had not been given enough officiating largess and so another five plus minutes were added. And Toni Kroos scored a beauty to win it 2—1, in overly generous, specially provided, extra, extra, added time. Should Germany progress, let alone repeat as champions, the entire footballing world will have some serious soul searching to do!