Sweden coach Erik Hamrén spoke for millions of Swedes after seeing his side recover a 4-0 deficit to draw against Germany in Berlin's Olympiastadion on Tuesday night: "I feel very, very proud. And very, very strange."
It is normal for visiting teams to come under pressure against Germany – especially away. It is also normal to be trailing by a few goals. However, it is unheard of for a side playing the three-time world champions to come back from four goals down, keeping Sweden unbeaten in FIFA World Cup qualifying Group C.
Hamrén said: "I've been a coach for 30 years and never recovered from being 4-0 down. Now we've done it against one of the best teams in the world."
After being outplayed from the start, the half-time whistle came as a relief to Sweden with the hosts leading 3-0. "I said at the break that we wouldn't be able to win the match, but that we could win something else," Hamrén explained. "We could win morale, the chance to be able to look ourselves in the mirror after the game."
Hamrén also made two substitutions after the first 45 minutes, and both winger Alexander Kacaniklic and midfielder Kim Källström were instrumental in the unlikely turnaround. "During the first half I saw what some of our problems were," said Källström. "We had difficulties holding the ball. I had an idea [of what needed to be done], but that we could turn it around was beyond anyone's dreams."
As it transpired, Källström's left foot set up Zlatan Ibrahimović, Johan Elmander and Mikael Lustig to get it back to 4-3 by the 76th minute, before the coup de grace of Rasmus Elm's 93rd-minute equaliser. "We showed attitude and quality," Källström said. "Just having the belief is not enough – you have to have the quality in your boots to back it up."
Ibrahimović added: "Anyone who watched the match could see how we went to get the ball from the net after each goal we scored. After making it 4-1, I went. Then Johan, then Lustig. We believed we would be able to get back into it."
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