Kroos keeps Germany's World Cup hopes alive with late stunner

GK Manuel Neuer

GK Manuel Neuer

Much of the build-up has centered on past winners and their failure to make it past the group stage of the World Cup with Germany on the cusp of a premature exit.

The pre-tournament talk in Germany focused on the bid to become the first team for 56 years to retain the World Cup.

Sweden jumped out to a 1-0 lead, but Germany later tied the match at one goal apiece. The debate has focused on the German lineup and the role of Marco Reus. Germany's lackluster opening performance and loss against Mexico was unexpected.

And with 10 minutes to go, Boateng received a second yellow card, reducing Germany team to 10 men and leaving them potentially without either first choice central defender for their must-win match against South Korea, with Mats Hummels suffering from a neck injury.

"I really have no say in this".

To do that, the Swedes will need to be on their "personal best" form, coach said, noting that they had done so previously to beat France at home in qualifying and to overcome Italy in a two-legged playoff. A win over Germany would likely propel the Swedes to the knockout round.

Sweden were 1-0 winners against South Korea in their first game and could make the last 16 with a victory, which coach Janne Andersson has called "extraordinary".

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Sweden took the lead in the 32nd minute when Ola Toivonen finished confidently after Kroos gave the ball away in midfield, chesting the ball down expertly before lifting it over Manuel Neuer.

The match at Fisht Stadium in Sochi will kick off at 9 p.m. local time (GMT1800). The Belgian squad was so superior that Panama admitted after the match the squad was thankful it didn't lose by more.

"It's great to have a chance to affect the result of a World Cup in this kind of game".

Now Tunisia surely needs a win to avoid eventual elimination.

Belgium is unbeaten in three previous World Cup games against African opponents, and a draw against Tunisia in 2002 was the only game it failed to win. Both teams love to keep the ball on the ground, but the tactical strictness of the Koreans with very little room for creativity (or very little ability to deploy it) could come in handy for Mexico, who stunned Germany not just by beating but by completely outplaying them.

There will be even more changes against South Korea.

We round up our coverage of today's World Cup matches with the Group F match between Germany and Sweden. "Whether we knock them out is one thing, but we can qualify on our own which is quite extraordinary". "That was not the team we know against Mexico".

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