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You don't Kroos the Germans! Midfielder's injury-time strike gives 2-1 win

The Germans won despite being a man down. This win also gives them the chance to control their own destiny of advancing to the next round. Sweden started well, but it's how you end that counts, no?

BS Web Team 

Kroos wins it for Germany
Kroos wins it for Germany

Holders Germany beat Sweden in order to avoid an early exit from the FIFA World Cup. An extra-time strike from Toni curls into the back of the net defeating Sweden at Fisht Stadium in Sochi on Saturday.

Full-time match report: "Are you not entertained?", that's what Toni must have asked the almost 48,000 people at the Fisht stadium who watched him whip in a curling free-kick at the very last minute to win Germany the match against Sweden, the strike that also saves the reigning world champions an embarrassment of an early exit. The Germans won and they won in style. As they always do. Despite being off-colour, despite being down to 10-man, despite the Swedish fans cheering their team on, the Germans won. Because that's what they do. Because that's what the German resilience is all about.

Germany were under a huge pressure coming into this must-win game. A loss here would mean an exit from the group stage in World Cup. They made heavy-weight changes in the line-up from their last match. was out, so was Khedira. Injury-prone but brilliant Marco was included into the starting line-up.

The Germans started the game positively. They dominated possession, spent most of their time in the Sweden half and controlled the game. The Swedes got foot-hold in the game only after the 15th minute when all of a sudden the famed German defence started looking shaky and Manuel Neuer had to make a few extraordinary saves. But, in the 32nd-minute things escalated. Sweden's Toivonen received a cross inside the box, warded off the challenge from two defenders before chipping the ball delightfully over the onrushing Neuer. They were ahead in the game by 1-0. The entire complexion of the game suddenly changed with the Germans looking nervous. The ever delightful Thomas Muller yelling at his team-mates. The Germans seemed all over the place and Neuer made a few more extraordinary saves before the referee blew for half-time. All of a sudden, Germany's early elimination not only became possible but a possibility.

The Germans came out in the second half with a change in personnel. Veteran Mario Gomez came in for Julain Draxler. Within three minutes of the restart, Werner put a cross from the left byline into the box. Mario Gomez tried to connect with it, and maybe had a slight touch too, but beside him came an onrushing who kneed the delivery past Sweden goalkeeper Olsen to score his team's first goal. He had vindicated his coach's trust and given hope to millions of Germans.

From then on, Germany kept on probing, asking questions from the Swedish defence, looking for that elusive second goal that would seal the deal for them. In the 60th minute, Kimmich put out a wonderful pass in the box for who looked to apply a Kanu finish, but instead missed the ball. Gomez passed up a few chances, Werner failed to keep his shot down. The Germans were running out of time. A frustrated Jerome Boateng, who had already seen a yellow card, chopped down Berg in the middle of Germany's half. The referee took his time but flashed the second yellow at Boateng. With nine minutes of regular time remaining and scores level, Germany were a man down.

Gomez drew an absolutely stunning save from Olsen in the 87th minute. Four minutes later, Brandt let out a flyer from outside the box. The goalkeeper had no chance of catching that but it instead hit the post. Luck wasn't on the Germans'side. But who needs luck when you are German?

With one minute of play remaining, Germany got a free-kick at the very edge of the box on the right side. Toni Kross stood over it, looked at the goal, ran up to the ball, passed it short to Reus, got it back, struck the ball and watched it curl into the right-hand top corner beyond the grasp of a flailing Olsen. And the Fisht stadium erupted. The Swedish players buried their head in their heads and Kross, with his arms outstretched, was the king.

Gary Lineker says a lot of things, most of them accurate. But commentating on his show tonight, he must be proud of his words: "Football is a simple game. Twenty-two men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans always win." It's that simple. The Swedish know this now the hard way.

The win gives the Germans a chance to control their own destiny and a win against South Korea should be enough for them to advance to the next round. But despite the performance being spirited, it was nonetheless of a low-quality from the holders who don't seem to have found their footing yet. If they do advance, which they most probably will, Joachim Low's men must play like champions, and not just fight like ones.

Here are the live updates:

Kroos wins it for Germany

Minute 90+4 (GOAL!!)-- Germany get a free-kick at the very edge of the box on the right side in the final minute. Toni Kross takes it and it's an absolute stunner. A curler directly into the right-hand top corner.

Minute 90+1 -- WOW!!!!! Brandt absolutely lets out a flyer from outside the box. The goalkeeper has no chance of catching that but... IT HITS THE POST!! Absolute bonkers!

Minute 89 -- Substitution for Sweden. Berg out, Thelin in.

Minute 87 -- Gomez heads an absolute stunner but it's tipped over by Olsen.

Boateng red cardMinute 81 (RED CARD) -- Boateng sees red! The central defender gets his second yellow card for chopping down Berg in the middle of Germany's half. Drama! The refree took forever to make the decision though.

Minute 80 -- Timo Werner gets a pass inside the box. He is unmarked and the pass is perfect but the young striker puts his strike over the bar.

Minute 77 -- Substitution. Sweden make a change. Sweden's goal-scorer Toivonen makes way for Guidetti.

Minute 73 -- Sweden make a substitution: Claesson in for Durmaz

Minute 71 -- Sweden survive. Once again. Timo Werner runs down the left flank, reaches byline and turns the ball into the box. Olsen saves the ball which was heading for an own goal after contact with a Swedish defender.

Minute 70 -- Jerome Boateng is shown the yellow card for a foul on Forsberg.

Minute 66 -- Germany keep knocking at the door looking for their second goal of the night. In the latest development, Kimmich puts in a cross into the middle. Gomez touches it on and Olsen parries it out. Moments later, Gomez again gets a chance to stab the ball home from almost point blank, but he puts it over the bar. Although, the linesman raises the flag.

Minute 60 -- Reus nearly doubles the tally. Kimmich puts out a wonderful pass in the box for onrushing Reus who looks to apply a Kanu finish, but instead misses the ball. Germany turning it on here.

Marco Reus equalisesMinute 48 (GOAL!!)-- Reus levels the scores!! Werner puts out a cross from the left byline into the box. Reus charges in ahead of Augustinsson and knees it past Olsen to score his team's first goal.

Substitution -- Gomez (in) comes off the bench to replace Draxler (out) (Germany)

The second half begins.

Half-time report:
Germany started the match in their own way by controlling the maximum possession as Sweden looked for counter-attacking chances. The game was happening in Sweden's half with a few loose balls leading to counter-attacks by Berg & Co. The game changed slowly after the initial 15 minutes with Sweden getting a foot-hold in the midfield. Germany's defence looked vulnerable from the very start. Boateng had to tackle from behind to stop an advancing Berg and every time Sweden got a chance to counter-attack, Germany seemed to be in real trouble. Manuel Neuer made some good saves while Germany missed some golden opportunities. The game got interrupted when Germany was forced to bring in Ilkay Gundogan for Rudy who was sidelined with a bleeding nose.

Sweden took the opportunity. Germany sloppily conceded possession and Claesson lifted a ball over the top to Toivonen who received it beautifully with his chest before clipping over the top of Neuer.

The Swedish fans started jumping directly after the goal was scored, and kept it up for a good four minutes!

Toivonen's goal for Sweden was their first from open play at a World Cup since Freddie Ljungberg's goal against Paraguay in 2006.

Berg made a superb header minutes after the opening goal but it was saved by Neuer who is having a busy time under the bar.

Going forward, Germany have a mountainous task ahead of them in order to nullify Sweden's one-goal lead, a team who have not beaten Germany in 40 years is on the verge of eliminating the defending champions from the group stage.

Sweden, on the other hand, will certainly have to cope with an onslaught of dangerous attacks in the second half but if they manage to keep the lead, they will seal their place in the last 16.

While the defending champions will be on their way to Berlin.

Minute 45+2 -- Uff!! Sweden are cruising here. They get a free-kick on the right. Larsson whips in the cross and Berg directs the ball with his head towards the far corner. It's bound to find the back of the net but Neuer does magnificently to turn it aside!

Minute 43 -- Sweden carve out another opportunity for themselves with a long-ball down the left. Forsberg is at it and he puts in a bending cross to Toivonen who fails to receive it. The ball runs out to Claesson on the right who tries to cut inside and is dispossessed.

Minute 39 -- Gundogan takes his change from 25 yards. The shot is deflected but Olsen manages to parry the ball out. Muller latches on to the rebound but Olsen puts the ball wide for a corner.

Germany will be eliminated if Sweden manage to hold the lead!

Sweden gets a lead against GermanyMinute 32 (GOAL!!) -- Toivonen opens scoring for Sweden. He receives the cross inside the box, wards off the challenge from two defenders before chipping the ball delightfully over the onrushing Neuer.

Minute 30 (Substitution)-- Rudy can't come in after that injury. Germany played with 10 men for quite some time before deciding to bring in Gundogan to replace Rudy.

Minute 24-- Toivonen's boot accidentally catches Sebastian Rudy who goes down clutching his head. He is bleeding. The German goes out of the play, changes shirt after getting some medical treatment on the field itself.

Minute 16: Another counter-attack from the Swedes blocked by Boateng. The defence looks really vulnerable. the Germans are dearly Mats Hummels.

Minute 14--Sweden are furious as it was a clear foul from Boateng as he tried to stop Berg from behind!

Minute 12-- What a chance for Sweden against the flow of the game, Berg gets a through ball and runs towards the Germany goal with Boateng behind him. Boateng tackles from behind and the ball is guarded by an advancing Neuer. Germany's defence look vulnerable!

Minute 9-- Reus makes a superb run down the right and cuts the ball into the middle towards Werner but Lindelof gets there first and puts the ball out for corner.

Minute 7--Germany creates another chance with a Draxler shot going dangerously across the face of the Swedish goal.

Minute 1-- Kickoff! Germany is attacking from the very start. Great early opportunity for the defending champions, with only some desperate defending on the line keep the Sweden goal unbreached!

Line-ups out:

Germany vs Sweden

Germany vs Sweden

The lineup for Sweden: Victor Lindelof who missed the last match due to illness is back in the squad, leaving Pontus Jansson on the bench and that's the only change from the last match against Korea Republic, as they again opt for a 4-4-2 formation. However, the Swede's are expected to play a bit more defensively tonight than they did in Nizhny Novgorod.

Trivia:

---- The last time Germany won a World Cup game in which they conceded the first goal was back in 1998 against Mexico, drawing one and losing six since. (Source: OptaJoe)

-- Marco Reus' equaliser was Germany's first goal of the 2018 World Cup, with what was their 34th shot in this year's tournament. (Source: OptaJoe)

The lineup for Germany: Rudiger takes over as centre-back from Hummels, who is out with injury. Hector replaces Plattenhardt in his regular left-back spot after returning from illness.

Khedira is replaced in central midfield by Rudy, a defensive minded holding midfielder, probably tasked with breaking up counter-attacks. Ozil did not make the cut this time, but Werner once more gets the nod ahead of Gomez up front. also starts the match against Sweden.



Blessed with a strong squad brimming with talented players, Germany were hot contenders to become the first team in 56 years to retain the World Cup.

But after a shock 0-1 defeat to Mexico, the jolted four-time winners will have their task cut out against Sweden. A reversal will all but end their campaign.

"Everyone is aware that this is our first 'final', it's annoying that it comes so early, but it's self-inflicted," team director was quoted as saying.

Germany were all over the place in the first half against Mexico and their heroics in Brazil four years ago seemed distant.

After the defeat, there have been catcalls to drop under-performing players like and

Sweden, meanwhile, will believe they can cause another upset after their confidence lifting 1-0 win over Korea Republic. This was their first win in the competition since hosting the tournament in 1958.

The Swedes are no strangers to upsetting the odds, beating France during qualification and getting past Italy in the play-offs, so an under-performing German side will hold no fears for Janne Anderson's men.

The Swedes are no strangers to upsetting the odds, beating France during qualification and getting past Italy in the play-offs, so an under-performing German side will hold no fears for Janne Anderson's men.

Germany vs Sweden: When and Where to watch

Time: 11:30 PM (IST)

In today's Group F match, match will take place in Sochi on Saturday, June 23, 2018, at 8:30 PM (IST).

match will be broadcast on Sony Ten 2, Sony Ten 2 HD, Sony ESPN, Sony ESPN HD in English Commentary and Sony Ten 3 and Sony 3 HD in Hindi Commentary.

match will be available for live streaming on Sony Liv also. And Both Airtel and Jio would broadcast the matches for free to their respective subscribers.

Germany vs Sweden: Watch out for

Emil Forsberg: The main creative threat in Janne Andersson's principally solid, unspectacular side lies in the shape of Emil Forsberg, one of the most talented wide attackers in Europe.

The 26-year-old has come to Russia on the back of two outstanding seasons in the Bundesliga with RB Leipzig, and on Saturday evening, at the Fisht Stadium by the Black Sea, he will come up against a German side featuring his club colleague Timo Werner.

Mesut Ozil: Germany is desperately looking towards for the much needed creative flair in attack. Ozil had quiet games by his high standards against Mexico and will have to do better if Germany is to come away with the vital three points.

First Published: Sat, June 23 2018. 21:12 IST