Toni Kroos looked like he might have ended up being Germany’s scapegoat on Saturday, as a sloppy pass in the midfield led to a first half goal for Sweden. Fast forward to second half stoppage time and a world class effort by the Real Madrid midfielder sealed a 2-1 victory and, more importantly, three points for the Germans over the Swedes at the 2018 World Cup.
It was an absolutely spectacular match, and Kroos’ goal in the waning moments was a fitting end to things. The Germans earned a free kick after Timo Werner was fouled, and Kroos stood over the ball on the left edge of the box. He had the freedom to lob the ball into the box with the hopes it connected with a German head, or he could try something a little more ambitious and unleash a firecracker with the hopes of beating Swedish keeper Robin Olsen.
Kroos elected that second option, tapping the ball to Marco Reus, who set it and gave Kroos the chance to go for goal. What happened next was a moment of brilliance, one that was much-needed for the defending world champions.
It was a moment of redemption for Kroos, as a sloppy giveaway in the first half led to Sweden’s only goal. Kroos tried to slot a pass into Ilkay Gundogan. Instead, it was intercepted, Sweden went the other way, and Ola Toivonen beat Manuel Neuer with a cheeky finish.
Germany’s response didn’t come until early in the second half when Marco Reus was able to find the back of the net.
Die Mannschaft pressed for the rest of the half, and even after they went down to 10 men due to Jerome Boateng picking up a pair of yellow cards, they still did everything they could to keep the pressure on Sweden. Eventually, the window opened up for Kroos, who produced a moment of magic.
This goal was as important as it was breathtaking, as Kroos’ super strike gave the Germans three points to put them in a tie for second in the group. Mexico is sitting comfortably in first with six points, while Germany and Sweden are tied with three. In the final round of fixtures on Wednesday before the knockout round, Sweden and Mexico will face off while Germany plays South Korea, which sits in last place in the group with zero points.