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Schuerrle hat-trick helps Germany win goal fest

By Philip O'Connor

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Andre Schuerrle grabbed a second half hat-trick as Germany fought back from 2-0 down to sink Sweden 5-3 in a thrilling World Cup Group C goalfest on Tuesday.

Nothing much was on the game because group leaders Germany had already secured automatic qualification for the 2014 finals in Brazil and second-placed Sweden were certain to progress to next month's playoffs.

The hosts, without suspended captain Zlatan Ibrahimovic, took the lead when Tobias Hysen calmly slotted Sebastian Larsson's inch-perfect pass through the legs of keeper Manuel Neuer after six minutes.

Alexander Kacaniklic latched on to Kim Kallstrom's ball over the top to put the home team 2-0 up before Mesut Ozil pulled one back for Germany before the break.

Halftime substitute Mario Goetze leveled eight minutes into the second period before Chelsea winger Schuerrle twice punished defensive errors by the Swedes.

Hysen reduced the deficit with a first-time shot following Larsson's quick free kick but the night belonged to Schuerrle who curled in his third goal with 14 minutes left.

"We had a lot of chances and a lot of possession in the first half without supplying the finishing touch," Germany coach Joachim Loew told ZDF.

"At halftime we said we can turn this around because the Swedes will get tired if we increase the pace."

(Editing by Tony Jimenez)

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