It was a tale of two halves for Germany against Sweden. The first half was one Germany would love to forget as they trailed 1-0 and were out of the World Cup. Germany held possession, but found themselves committing the same mistakes they did against Mexico.
Kroos would love to forget that first half, certainly he has now, because it was a bad pass that led to Ola Toivonen’s incredible chip goal. It deflected off of Antonio Rudiger’s leg, up and over Neuer.
Uh oh, Germany...— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 23, 2018
Sweden take the 1-0 lead! pic.twitter.com/9QgclmDa8Y
Further blows hit Germany as they were forced to make an early sub for Sebastian Rudy, who was kicked hard in the face and bleeding. It could be argued Sweden would have left the first half with a 2-0 lead on a clear penalty in the box and potential red card for Jerome Boateng that the referee did not call.
With Germany in need of a goal, they found one just three minutes into the half. Marco Reus used his knee to deflect it in, a sequence started by Kroos.
Marco Reus gets the equalizer for Germany!— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 23, 2018
Game on. pic.twitter.com/ToG82iXd4A
Reus’ goal clearly put Sweden on their heels as most of the chances came Germany’s way in the second half and Sweden elected to defend. Chance after chance, Germany just could not convert.
To make matters worse, Boateng was sent off due to a second yellow on a bad tackle. This didn’t stop the Germans as they kept attacking the Swedish goal. In the very last seconds of a five-minute stoppage time, Kroos would redeem his poor pass from earlier.
A terrible tackle by Sweden’s Jimmy Durmaz which allowed the set-piece, Kroos made it count. The goal that ensured Germany 3 points and a goal that may lead to Germany moving on from Group F.
Kroos was poor in the first half, like most of the German squad was. He played much better in the second half and was instrumental in Germany’s consistent attack. And, of course, he scored that beautiful free kick.
The pressure is all on Sweden now to defeat Mexico if they hope to advance. They also must put in a performance as they did in the first half. Boateng was abysmal and with him now suspended, Sule and Hummels (if healthy) should start. They can’t keep allowing teams to counter-attack as freely as they do, especially if they wish to get far. They were very lucky to have Kroos score on that free kick.
Kroos and Germany will be back in action next Wednesday against South Korea, a must-win match.