Mon | Dec 10, 2018

Kroos' late winner rescues Germany

Published:Sunday | June 24, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Germany's Toni Kroos (left) scores his side's winning goal against Sweden at the 2018 World Cup yesterday. At right is Marco Reus.

MOSCOW (AP):

Germany midfielder Toni Kroos scored a dramatic late winner to come from behind and beat Sweden 2-1 on Day 10 of the World Cup after the defending champions were reduced to 10 men.

The Germans were at risk of being eliminated after Sweden scored first. The result sets up an exciting Group F finale, with Mexico leading the pack with six points after a 2-1 win over South Korea, and Germany and Sweden both with three points. The Koreans have zero.

Belgium cruised to a 5-2 victory over Tunisia in yesterday's early match with a pair of doubles from Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku to put the Red Devils at the top of Group G.

The desperate world champions Germany were seconds from losing control of their World Cup fate when Toni Kroos whispered to Marco Reus just outside Sweden's penalty area.

With the score tied in the fifth minute of stoppage time, Kroos seemed to remind Reus of a trick play from training that will live in World Cup lore.

The Germans, down to 10 men after Jerome Boateng was given a second yellow card, rallied for their victory, and their title defence was suddenly revived.

Kroos lined up for a free kick as if he was going for goal but just tapped the ball to Reus, who held it with his toe as the defenders paused. Kroos smashed it, curling the ball past a spinning Sebastian Larsson and over the outreached hand of diving goalkeeper Robin Olsen.

The Swedes watched the ball go in with mouth-open disbelief.

The Germans ran to Kroos and erupted in emotional relief.

Coming off an opening loss to Mexico, Germany fell behind again when Kroos' early mistake led to Ola Toivonen's goal in the 32nd minute. Reus equalised in the 48th.

Mexico lead Group F with six points, and Germany and Sweden both have three. Mexico face Sweden and Germany take on winless South Korea in the final group matches.

For 90-plus minutes, Germany looked as if they would enter the final match facing the same possible fate as Spain and Italy and potentially become the third straight defending champion to fail to reach the knockout stage. They played the final 10 minutes without Boateng.

 

Today's games:

 

- Group G: 7 a.m: England vs Panama

- Group H: 10 a.m: Japan vs Senegal

- Group H: 1 p.m: Poland vs Colombia