Toni Kroos rescue German with the last minute win against Sweden

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Toni Kroos is not one for big words or gestures. The first ever German to win the UEFA Champions League four times tends to shy away from the spotlight, much preferring to spend time with his family.

And yet when his free-kick found the back of the net to give the defending champions every chance of progressing out of the group stages of the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018™, his emotions certainly came to the fore. He raced over to the corner flag near to where the German fans were massed in the stadium in Sochi, raised a triumphant fist, opened his arms out wide and gave full voice to his joy and relief on a hot, muggy summer’s evening on the banks of the Black Sea.

The headlines decrying both Kroos and the German team were ready to be published. The reigning champions had again let in a goal on the break to go 1-0 down, this time with a ball from Kroos going astray – Kroos, the man reputed as one of the best passers in the German squad.

Indeed, he is known around the world for his accuracy and reliability with the ball, so for him to produce an error of this calibre seemed to be symptomatic of a German team that was staring down the barrel of elimination. “If you make 400 passes then one or two of them are always going to go astray,” the No8 said to journalists after the final whistle. “You then need guts to come out and play like we did in the second half. But no-one sees that. We were really good but couldn’t score when we were on top. I think we earned that late goal though.”

The statistics certainly prove him right. At the break, his passing accuracy was at 95 per cent, but that one lost ball had turned the match on its head.

 

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