Last-minute win keeps Germany's last 16 hopes alive

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Unbelievable! With virtually the last kick of the game, ex-Bayern man Toni Kroos put Germany back on course for the last 16 of the World Cup as his goal in the fifth minute of added time secured a much-needed 2-1 win over Sweden. It means that Die Mannschaft are level with Sweden on three points in Group F ahead of their final group game against bottom side South Korea. Mexico top the group with six points.

Coach Joachim Löw included five Bayern players in his starting line-up in Sochi, with Manuel Neuer, Thomas Müller, Jérôme Boateng and Joshua Kimmich keeping their places in the side and Sebastian Rudy brought in. Mats Hummels missed out due to a neck injury, while Niklas Süle didn’t feature. The world champions started strongly but as the game went on, defensive frailties began to appear once again.

Reus and Kroos with all-important goals

Manuel Neuer had to rescue his side twice in the first half but he could do nothing to prevent Ola Toivonen’s opening goal in the 32nd minute. Shortly before that, Rudy had been forced off with a heavy nosebleed after being struck in the face by a Swedish foot. Minutes into the second half, though, Marco Reus scored a deserved equaliser.

Germany created several good chances after that but could not force the ball in, with Julian Brandt hitting the post in injury time. A draw would’ve left the team’s qualification hopes hanging by a thread. However, in the fifth and final minute of added time they were awarded a free-kick, from which Kroos whipped a fantastic shot into the far corner of the net, sparking wild celebrations.

Centre-back Boateng will miss Wednesday’s encounter with South Korea after being shown a second yellow card in the 82nd minute for persistent foul play.