Kroos's scorcher destroys Sweden

Germany back from the dead, just in time, to rekindle Cup campaign

By Agencies
  • Published 24.06.18
WINNING STRIKE: Toni Kroos’s winner off a free-kick beats Sweden goalkeeper Robin Olsen in Sochi on Saturday. Germany won 2-1. (Reuters)

Sochi: A dramatic stoppage-time goal from Toni Kroos gave holders Germany a 2-1 win over Sweden on Saturday 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 Germany's Toni Kroos gave the ball away in midfield.

Marco Reus equalised in the 48th minute, meeting a low cross from Timo Werner, and despite having Jerome Boateng sent off in the 82nd minute, Germany kept going and Kroos earned them a famous win.

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 full backs 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.

Manuel Neuer saved the Germans from being 0-2 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.

Timo 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.

Earlier, Germany coach Joachim Loew dropped Mesut Ozil and Sami Khedira from the side that desperately needed a victory.

The Germans, defending world champions, came in for harsh criticism after their opening 0-1 loss to Mexico, with Ozil and Khedira singled out.

They were relegated to the bench in favour of Reus and Sebastian Rudy, while Jonas Hector came in for the injured Mats Hummels and Antonio Rudiger replaced Marvin Plattenhardt.