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Sweden and Germany share stalemate

Germany coach Joachim Low fielded a young side with an average age of 23 while, still smarting from a 4-1 drubbing at the hands of the Dutch last month, Sweden started with a five-man midfield to try and smother the visitors' short-passing game.

Despite Sweden's numerical advantage in midfield, it was the experienced German pairing of Bastian Schweinsteiger and Sami Khedira who held the upper hand in the first half on a chilly evening.

It took until the 36th minute to register the first shot on target for either side when Sweden keeper Andreas Isaksson parried Schweinsteiger's drive from distance.

Sweden's only chance of the half came when Christian Wilhelmsson pulled the ball back in the box only for Ola Toivonen to miscue his shot from seven metres.

"It was difficult, the weather was extreme and the pitch was not very good, so it was difficult for us to create chances," Germany striker Mario Gomez told Sweden's TV10.

With both Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Johan Elmander given the night off by coach Erik Hamren, it fell to Toivonen to lead the Swedish line alone. But all too often the PSV Eindhoven player came deep to collect the ball, adding an extra body to an already overcrowded midfield.

Real Madrid's Khedira almost gave the Germans the lead on the stroke of half-time as he latched on to a looping ball only to stick his lob over the crossbar.

Low's decision to substitute his central midfield pairing on the hour mark allowed the Swedes a little more room to get forward and Lyon's Kim Kallstrom fired a volley wide in the 64th minute.

Germany substitute Toni Kroos forced another fine save from Isaksson as he hit a rising drive from distance.

Hamren handed a debut to Helsingborg's Alexander Gerndt, but the top scorer in the Swedish league had little time to make an impression.

The Swedesh coach was happy to see his side come away with a draw.

"Defensively we looked very good, offensively we had a few problems but in general I think we played a very good game," he said.