It was the fifth minute of stoppage time when Toni Kroos, Germany’s playmaker and four-time Champions League winner with Bayern Munich and Real Madrid, stepped up to take a freekick from just outside the penalty box at an angle that suggested crossing the ball would be the only feasible option. Kroos thought otherwise and, in a moment of World Cup magic, put the ball into the top corner of the goal to keep Germany’s World Cup dreams alive.
It was the deserved climax of a thrilling game that had seen Sweden take the lead halfway through the first half, pushing the reigning world champions very close to a historic group stage exit. Fighting for a chance to live another day, Germany had equalized in the 48th minute but failed to capitalize on a number of chances until late in stoppage time. One last desperate attack saw Timo Werner brought down at the edge of the box, giving Toni Kroos the chance to score what will be remembered as one of the World Cup’s most stunning goals.
Interestingly, Kroos’ freekick hasn’t been the only important last-minute goal so far at the FIFA World Cup in Russia. Through the first two rounds of group matches, a total of 10 goals have been scored in injury time, with Germany, Brazil and England among the prominent teams to capitalize from a goal in the dying minutes of the game.
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