Germany’s World Cup hopes are still alive after they completed a spectacular comeback against Sweden to win 2-1 on Saturday evening.
Ola Toivonen’s first half strike gave the Swede’s the lead before Marco Reus levelled things for the reigning champions. Germany looked to be stuttering to a draw until Toni Kroos won the match with an unbelievable strike in the last minute of added time.
Germany started brightly and were almost ahead after just two minutes. Thomas Muller and Julian Draxler both came close to opening the scoring and the reigning champions clearly wanted to make an early impact.
Despite the growing pressure, it was Sweden who almost found themselves ahead after 12 minutes. A misplaced pass in midfield meant that Germany were left exposed and Marcus Berg was through one on one with Manuel Neuer. The Bayern custodian stayed big to block Berg’s effort whilst the striker was simultaneously wiped out by Jerome Boateng, sparking protests from the Swedish contingent, which were subsequently ignored.
This was a warning which Germany did not heed. After half an hour Sweden took the lead with a delicious finish from Ola Toivonen. A pin-point cross from Viktor Claesson found Toivonin in the box and the big striker kept his cool to bring the ball down and dink it over the top of the onrushing Neuer.
The reigning champions began to mount some pressure on the Swedish goal and they came close to equalising after Olsen produced a magnificent save from a deflected Ilkay Gundogan shot. His opposite number Neuer then had to be at his best to keep out Berg in the last action of the first half.
Germany sprang out of the traps and immediately found themselves level thanks to Marco Reus. Werner whipped in a dangerous cross from the left flank and after a small deflection the Dortmund man was there to pounce, bundling it in with his knee.
Die Mannschaft smelled blood and were straight on the offensive from the restart. Kroos and Muller both saw efforts drift wide of the goal and the momentum of the game had clearly shifted since the equaliser. Jonas Hector was the next to come close, but his close range effort was kept out well by Olsen.
A second Germany goal seemed an inevitability and goalscorer Reus was inches away from doubling his tally on the hour mark when he failed to connect with a low cross, opting to attempt an elaborate back-heel rather than a more conventional strike on goal.
Just when Germany looked as though they might be on the brink of taking the lead, they were given a gut punch after Jerome Boateng was deservedly sent off after picking up a second yellow with a poorly timed tackle ten minutes from the end of time. Germany responded by throwing the kitchen sink at Sweden and Olsen was called into action once again, saving brilliantly from Mario Gomez.
Nothing seemed to be coming off for Germany and in added time Julian Brandt smashed a strike against the post. The ball rebounded to Werner who spooned an effort over the bar but his blushes were partly spared by the offside flag. It mattered not as Toni Kroos came to Germany’s rescue with an incredible strike to win the match in the last minute of added time, capping off an exhilarating match.