Competition

Toni Kroos scores stunning late winner as Germany complete comeback against Sweden to keep World Cup hopes alive

Germany’s World Cup hopes were hanging by a thread until Toni Kroos stepped up in the 95th minute to score a sensational winner.

It was 1-1 heading into the final minute of stoppage time when Kroos bent the ball in at the far post to stun everyone inside the Fisht Olympic Stadium.

Germany trailed Sweden 1-0 at half-time in what was billed as a must-win World Cup Group F clash.

Ola Toivonen put the Swedes ahead in the 32nd minute. It was a brilliant finish, with a pin-point pass into the box controlled superbly by the striker, who shielded the ball and then lobbed goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.

The Swedes should really have been 2-0 up by that point but were denied what looked a clear-cut penalty earlier in the first half. Marcus Berg got in behind the defence and Jerome Boateng’s attempted tackle sent him flying. It looked like a penalty but the referee didn’t give it and, strangely, neither did VAR.

It meant the Swedes went into the break only 1-0 ahead, but at this stage the defending champions were 45 minutes away from a shock group-stage exit.

Germany, though, hit back three minutes into the second half. Timo Werner, out on the left-hand side, beat his man and crossed into the box. Somehow everyone missed the ball except Marco Reus who stuck out a knee and diverted it into the goal.

The Germans began to dominate possession and Mario Gomez should have put the ball into the back of the net in the 69th minute but missed from six yards. The linesman flagged for offside to spare his blushes.

However, they suffered a huge blow in the 81st minute when Boateng was red carded for a tackle from behind. He was already on a yellow, and initially the referee didn’t reach for his pocket, but then changed his mind. Down to 10 men, Low’s side nevertheless ploughed forward looking for a winner and nearly got it in the 92nd minute but julian Brandt’s piledriver stuck the post.

That looked to be that until Kroos prduced one of the greatest escapes.

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