Germany’s hopes of defending the World Cup was reignited after they came from behind to beat Sweden 2-1 in Sochi on Saturday – despite being down to 10 men.
Germany 2 Sweden 1
Toivonen (32’) chips Neuer to score
Reus (48’) equalises for Germany
Boateng sent off in 82nd minute
Kroos scores added time winner
Sweden took a surprise first-half lead through Ola Toivonen but Marco Reus equalised to bring Germany back into the contest. In the second-half, Die Mannschaft went a man down when Jerome Boateng was dismissed for a second bookable offence before Toni Kroos scored a dramatic last minute winner.
Germany had a chance to take the lead inside two minutes when Timo Werner was picked out by Joshua Kimmich on the edge of the box. Werner then did well to square the ball on to Julian Draxler whose first time shot was brilliantly saved by Robin Olsen with his feet.
Germany controlled possession in the opening exchanges but a quick counter-attack by Sweden almost caught out the defending champions in the 12th minute.
Viktor Claesson pounced on Antonio Rudiger’s sloppy pass and sent through a defence splitting ball to Marcus Berg. The striker raced towards goal and was just about to pull the trigger before Boateng stepped in with a last ditch tackle to quell the danger. It looked like a foul but referee Szymon Marciniak waved play on, refusing to consult VAR.
Joachim Low’s side were patient in their build up play but again a poor pass in midfield gave the Swede’s an opportunity to open them up just past the half-hour mark. This time they paid the ultimate price as Kroos gave the ball away in midfield to Berg who released Claesson down the wing.
His cross picked out Toivonen in the box who chested the ball down and chipped it over an onrushing Manel Neuer to score.
Just a few minutes later a stunned German team took the game to Sweden. Ilkay Gundogan fired in a shot from just outside the box but Olsen got down well to push it wide.
Every time Germany threatened, Sweden found a way to hit back at the other end. With the half-time whistle just seconds away, Larsen delivered a dangerous free-kick which was headed on by Berg but Neuer produced an athletic finger-tip save to limit the damage.
There must have been some harsh words said at the break as Germany came out fighting from the restart. They got their reward just three minutes in when Werner’s cross from the left was bundled in by Reus.
Werner was causing the Swede’s all sorts of problem down the left, and his cross moments later almost set up a second goal. Jonas Hector latched on to his square ball but his shot was saved by Olsen who got down well to his left.
In the 80th minute, Germany were reduced to 10 men. Boateng’s ill-timed tackle on Berg saw him pick up a second yellow and was subsequently sent off.
Sweden threatened with the resulting free-kick. Neuer initially punched out Larsen’s ball in but Ludwig Augustinsson sent it straight back into the danger area. Andreas Granqvist rose high and won the first ball but just as substitute, John Guidetti was about to steer the ball home, Neuer intercepted it brilliantly.
In the 90th minute a Kroos cross was powered goalwards off the head of Mario Gomez but Olsen acrobatically tipped it over the bar.
Kroos then made amends for his first-half gaffe with a stunning winner in the fifth minute of added time. He lashed in a free-kick from an acute angle to break Swedish hearts and win the game for Die Mannschaft.