• Thursday, July 18, 2024
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BusinessDay

Kroos last last-minute goal keep Germany World Cup hope alive

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Toni Kroos kept Germany World Cup hope alive at Russia 2018 with a stunning winner five minutes into stoppage time against Sweden, but the world champions may still need to beat South Korea in their final group game to reach the knockout stages of the competition.

Sweden claimed a first-half lead through Ola Toivonen that left Germany needing to score twice to maintain a realistic hope of qualifying for the round of 16.

Joachim Low’s decision to introduce Mario Gomez at half-time was rewarded with the Stuttgart forward creating space for Marco Reus to equalise on 48 minutes, but despite heavy pressure, the Germans could not break down the stubborn Swedes as they chased the crucial second.

Jerome Boateng’s dismissal for two yellow cards late in the game made life even more difficult for the Germans, but Real Madrid midfielder Kroos snatched victory with almost the last kick of the game after a lovely, curling free kick on the edge of the Sweden penalty area.

A draw would have left Germany needing Mexico to beat Sweden to have any hope of qualification, but Kroos’ goal has now put the world champions back in control of their own destiny.

But things are still not simple for Low’s team, who dropped Mesut Ozil for the first time in 26 competitive games.

If they defeat South Korea and Sweden win against Mexico, three teams will finish on six points and therefore need to be separated on goal difference.