Arsenal's Mesut Ozil Dropped From Germany's Starting Line-Up For World Cup Clash With Sweden

Arsenal's Mesut Ozil Dropped From Germany's Starting Line-Up For World Cup Clash With Sweden
17:50, 23 Jun 2018

Arsenal's Mesut Ozil has been dropped from Germany's starting line-up for tonight's massive World Cup clash with Sweden at the Fisht Olympic Stadium.

Joachim Low will be demanding a response from his team after they lost 1-0 to Mexico in their opening match of the tournament. The defeat leaves the reigning world champions in danger of an early exit and Low has decided to make changes to his team.

Ozil has been criticised for his efforts in Germany's first match and he has been left out of the starting XI tonight, as has the much maligned Sami Khedira. Sebastian Rudy replaces Khedira and will partner Toni Kroos in midfield, while Marco Reus is recalled from the bench and replaces Ozil. Defender Mats Hummels misses out after suffering a neck injury in training earlier this week, with Antonio Rudiger replacing him at the heart of defence.

Manchester United's defender Victor Lindelof returns to the Sweden starting line-up. Lindelof missed Sweden's 1-0 win over South Korea last week due to illness and was replaced in the starting XI by Leeds United's Pontus Jansson, although the United star returns in place of the unfortunate Jansson, who didn't do a lot wrong in the opening Group F match.

Victory for Sweden would take them through to the knockout stages of a World Cup for the first time since 2006.

Germany must avoid defeat to avoid the ignominy of being eliminated from the group stages for the first time since 1938, although they can take heart from the fact that they are unbeaten in their last seven meetings with the Swedes - won five, drawn two. 

The concern for Low and his men will be that they have won just one of seven games since qualifying for this World Cup in Russia and they are under huge pressure going into tonight's game in Sochi.

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