Germany Blows Four-Goal Lead in World Cup Qualifier, Spain Ties

Germany lost a four-goal lead for the first time to tie 4-4 with Sweden in European qualifying for soccer’s 2014 World Cup, while Spain drew 1-1 with France after surrendering a stoppage-time goal.

Rasmus Elm’s goal capped a Swedish comeback last night in Berlin. It was the only time in its 868 international matches that three-time world champion Germany blew a four-goal advantage, according to the German soccer federation.

“I can’t explain this at this moment,” Germany coach Joachim Loew said in comments on the federation’s website. “We had everything under control for 60 minutes and dominated the game. The dressing room is deathly still. Everyone is speechless.”

Olivier Giroud’s goal gave France a 1-1 draw with world champion Spain. The Netherlands won 4-1 in Romania and Russia beat Azerbaijan 1-0 to remain as the only two European teams with perfect qualifying records. England’s match in Poland was postponed because of rain.

The winners of each of the nine European groups qualify for the World Cup in Brazil, with the best eight runners-up playing off for the remaining four slots.

Spain looked ready to make it three straight wins after Sergio Ramos’s 25th-minute goal in Madrid. Cesc Fabregas had a penalty kick stopped by Hugo Lloris later in the first half.

Giroud then struck in the fourth added minute to leave the teams even at the top of Group I with seven points. Belarus beat Georgia 2-0 in the other group match.

Germany Stunned

Sweden rallied from a 4-0 deficit with 28 minutes remaining to stun Germany in a Group C game.

Miroslav Klose scored twice to move within one of Gerd Muller’s national record of 68 goals and Per Mertesacker and Mesut Ozil added one each to give the Germans a 4-0 lead after 56 minutes.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Mikael Lustig and Johan Elmander scored in a 14-minute span for the Swedes and Elm got the tying goal in the third minute of stoppage time.

“I have never experienced anything like it,” said Germany midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger. “We only managed to take a single point after leading 4-0. That should never happen.”

Germany, which won its first three games, tops the group with 10 points, three more than Sweden. Ireland beat Faroe Islands 4-1 and Austria routed Kazakhstan 4-0 to go third and fourth, respectively.

Maximum Points

Jeremain Lens, Bruno Martins Indi, Rafael van der Vaart and Robin van Persie scored a goal each as the Netherlands beat Romania in a matchup of unbeaten teams in Group D. The Dutch have the maximum 12 points from four matches, with Romania third on goal difference behind Hungary, with each on nine points. Hungary beat Turkey 3-1 and Estonia defeated Andorra 1-0 in the other Group D matches.

Roman Shirokov scored with a penalty kick in the 84th minute to give Russia the win in Moscow. The Russians lead Group F with 12 points, five more than Israel, which beat Luxembourg 3-0, and Portugal, which came from behind to tie 1-1 with Northern Ireland on Helder Postiga’s goal in Porto.

England’s match in Warsaw was called off after rain left standing water all over the field at the National Stadium, which has a retractable roof that was open. The match was rescheduled for today at 5 p.m. local time, 4 p.m. U.K.

“We’re disappointed,” England manager Roy Hodgson said in an interview with ITV. “We prepared well for this tonight and now we’ll have to do it all over again.”

Montenegro moved into a tie with England at the top of Group H on seven points by winning 1-0 at Ukraine, while Moldova won 2-0 at San Marino.

Italy Clear

Belgium beat Scotland 2-0 and Croatia defeated Wales by the same score to leave the victors tied atop Group A with 10 points. Macedonia won its first game, 1-0 over Serbia.

Riccardo Montolivo, Daniele De Rossi and Mario Balotelli all scored as Italy beat Denmark 3-1 to go four points ahead in Group B over Bulgaria, which drew 0-0 in the Czech Republic. Switzerland won 2-0 in Iceland to stay three points clear in Group E ahead of Norway, which defeated Cyprus 3-1. Albania beat Slovenia 1-0.

Bosnia-Herzegovina and Greece won to stay tied atop Group G with 10 points. Bosnia-Herzegovina defeated Lithuania 3-0 and Greece won 1-0 in Slovakia. Latvia beat Liechtenstein 2-0 in the other group game.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal. LEARN MORE