The Germans started off dominating the ball early in the first half — spending a lot of time in the Czech Republic’s end. It paid off quickly. Just four minutes in, Mesut Ozil played a little flick to Timo Werner who would slot it home and put the Germans up 1-0.
It was after that, that the Czech’s realized they didn’t want to get steamrolled by a German machine, and by the half hour mark, the teams were almost even in possession. The Czechs were starting to look dangerous, and during that run, they would force Marc-André ter Stegen to make a couple of saves — but not really making him work too hard.
Kroos would get a shot on goal in the 29th minute but it would be saved.
That’s how the first half would end — with the Germans up 1-0.
The second half would be more of a wide open affair as things got stretched, which facilitated end-to-end action. It was in the second half that the Czech Republic looked like they were in it to win it. They looked particularly dangerous on the counter attack, catching the Germans on the back foot.
Vladimir Darida of the Czech Republic would put his stamp on the match by scoring with an absolute rocket from distance. There isn’t a goalkeeper on the planet that could have stopped that shot. That goal tied the game at 1-1.
One thing you never want to do, though, is count the Germans out. It would only take ten minutes for them to respond. Mats Hummels would score a beautiful header from a Toni Kroos set-piece to seal the victory.
Next up for the Germans is Norway.
He would start the game as a defensive midfielder with Lars Stindl in a 4-2-3-1. While it would look like a double pivot at the outset, it wouldn’t last long. Kroos would end up dropping back deeper, allowing Stindl to get forward. From the outset Kroos was there to do Kroos things — like keeping a hold of the tempo, acting like a metronome.
In the second half he assisted that Mats Hummels game-winner. From that spot on the pitch, most players would just go for goal. Kroos decided to be unselfish and pick Hummels head out like the sniper he is.
Here take a look.
Player Rating: 8.0
Toni Kroos did Toni Kroos things all night. Germany, as default, would cycle the ball back to Kroos and let him reset things if needed.
I went back and forth on the rating. While he didn’t have a spectacular night, he had a solid one.
He also had the game-winning assist (I’m making that a thing, if it isn’t already) on that Hummels header. I’ve watched that video over and over again and the way he lays the ball into the box is just perfect. He did have a couple unforced errors, but was able to recover nicely. Tonight is what we’ve come expect from Toni Kroos — cool, calm and collected at all times.