Kroos' late winner keeps Germany alive
|(Marco Reus 48,
Toni Kroos 90+5)
|(Ola Toivonen 32)|
A dramatic stoppage-time goal from Toni Kroos gave holders Germany a 2-1 win over Sweden on Sunday morning (June 24, Singapore time) to keep alive their hopes of qualifying for the World Cup last 16.
Kroos curled in a superb strike from an indirect free-kick to grab the three points for the four-time world champions who are now level with Sweden in Group F on three points and behind Mexico who have six.
Sweden took the lead in the 32nd minute when Ola Toivonen finished confidently after Kroos gave the ball away in midfield.
Desperately trying to avoid an early exit, Germany coach Joachim Loew threw on veteran striker Mario Gomez in the second half and the bold move paid off when Marco Reus equalised in the 48th minute, meeting a low cross from Timo Werner.
Despite having Jerome Boateng sent off in the 82nd minute, Germany kept going and never relinquished their grip on the game. Substitute Julian Brandt came close when he hit the post with a long-range effort, before Kroos' winner.
The Swedes played with fire as the Germans racked up the chances in the opening minutes, but having weathered that storm, they gradually began to threaten on the break, and Marcus Berg was denied a good shout for a penalty when he appeared to be bundled over by Boateng.
With Germany getting in behind Sweden’s fullbacks at will and fizzing passes across the box, it looked like it might be only a matter of time before they scored, but Toivonen’s goal gave Sweden breathing space.
Germany goalkeeper and captain Manuel Neuer saved the Germans from being 2-0 down at half-time, diving acrobatically to deflect Berg’s header from Sebastian Larsson’s stoppage-time free kick.
Reus got Germany back in the game early in the second half as the Germans launched a massive offensive and when Boateng was sent off for his second yellow card eight minutes from time, the Germans continued to push on.
Werner missed from point-blank range and the Swedes looked like hanging on for the draw, but Kroos struck five minutes into stoppage time to give Germany victory.
Germany next meet South Korea, while Mexico take on Sweden. – REUTERS