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Mesut Ozil tweeted after being an unused substitute in Germany 2-1 Sweden

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We came very close to losing Germany at the group stages of the 2018 World Cup.

Joachim Low's men snatched a 2-1 victory over Sweden in the 95th minute courtesy of Toni Kroos' superb shot from the edge of the box.

Die Mannschaft haven't failed to make the knockout stages since 1938.

Jerome Boateng's red card had made things all the more difficult for them as they fought to come from behind via Marco Reus after being stunned by Ola Toivonen.

Low had done his best to change things up in the wake of Germany's 1-0 defeat to Mexico in the opening round.

The most notable change to his starting XI was the exclusion of Mesut Ozil, who has never previously missed a game at a major tournament since making his international debut in 2009.

At half-time, Julian Draxler was replaced by Mario Gomez, a substitution which made Germany much more of a threat in attack.

However, to many's surprise, Ozil did not get on. Had Kroos not delivered, Low might have faced more questions about that decision, but as it turned out, his tactics paid off.

Ozil's tweet 

And the Arsenal playmaker showed there were no hard feelings after the game, at least ostensibly, with a classy tweet:

"What! A! Fight!" he wrote.

"We are one team - on and off the pitch. No matter what they say."

A nice touch from Ozil, though you have to wonder how he reacted in private to being dropped.

The 29-year-old had a difficult build-up to the tournament, coming in for heavy criticism alongside Ilkay Gundogan for posing with a photo with controversial Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan.

Germany v Sweden: Group F - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

Germany have been somewhat lacklustre for the last few months and the former Real Madrid man has played his part in that.

It was still a bold call to leave him out, but it will be interesting to see whether he comes back into the fore for the crucial final group game against South Korea on Wednesday.

You can never, ever write Germany off.

Were Germany right to drop Ozil? Have your say in the comments. 

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Topics:
Football
Marco Reus
Toni Kroos
Mesut Özil
Germany Football
World Cup
Arsenal

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