Kroos missile secures last-gasp Germany win

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RUSSIA

A stoppage-time goal from Toni Kroos gave holders Germany a dramatic 2-1 win over Sweden yesterday to reignite their hopes of qualifying for the World Cup last 16.

Having lost their opening game to Mexico, the Germans looked to be heading for a draw until Kroos curled in a superb strike from wide on the left to secure victory for the four-times world champions.

They are now level with Sweden in Group F on three points, behind leaders 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, chesting the ball down expertly before lifting it over Manuel Neuer.

Marco Reus equalized in the 48th minute and despite having Jerome Boateng sent off in the 82nd minute, Germany kept going and Kroos’s shot five minutes into stoppage time earned them a famous win.

“We did not take our chances. We should have taken the lead in the opening minutes and we failed to do that (but) there is joy now,” Kroos told reporters.

“I know a lot of people would have been happy for us to be eliminated but we will not make it that easy for them … now we must recover, we don’t have too much time, and we must beat South Korea.”

Sweden’s Isaac Kiese Thelin looks dejected after the match. Image: Reuters

It was a cruel blow for the Swedes, who gave their all but came up just short.

“It’s probably the worst end of a game I’ve experienced in my career, that we didn’t get a draw, but the whole group is still alive, so we’ll have to lick our wounds and come back for the next one,” Sweden coach Janne Andersson said

Defending deep and looking to counter, the Swedes started shakily but took the lead when they punished Kroos for giving the ball away by quickly finding Toivonen, who lifted the ball deftly over Neuer.

With Germany getting in behind Sweden’s full backs at will and fizzing passes across the box, it looked like a matter of time before they scored, but Toivonen’s goal gave Sweden breathing space.

Neuer saved the Germans from being 2-0 down at halftime, diving acrobatically to deflect Berg’s header from Sebastian Larsson’s stoppage-time free kick.

With Germany getting in behind Sweden’s full backs at will and fizzing passes across the box, it looked like a matter of time before they scored, but Toivonen’s goal gave Sweden breathing space.

Neuer saved the Germans from being 2-0 down at halftime, diving acrobatically to deflect Berg’s header from Sebastian Larsson’s stoppage-time free kick.

Reuters