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

Sami Khedira

Germany's Kroos emerged as the world champions' natural leader on Saturday, stepping up to guide them to the last-gasp 2-1 victory.

Germany pressed hard for the victor but it looked like Sweden had held out until Kroos curled in a free kick from a right angle to spark scenes of huge relief among the Germans.

Germany's midfielder Mesut Ozil wrote on his Twitter account after the match "What! A!" A win over South Korea would see them through to the next round.

"We should not start doubting our style of play", Loew said.

Supporters watching on big screens at the Brandenburg Gate huddled nervously under grey clouds and drizzle, before throwing their umbrellas away as Toni Kroos' late victor saved Germany.

"Of course, the first goal (by Sweden) was my fault".

Meanwhile in Group G, Belgium underlined their status as dark horses for the title as they overwhelmed Tunisia with a flowing performance to win 5-2, Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard each scoring twice each at Spartak Stadium in Moscow. The level of play is still not at a top level at this World Cup.

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Loew praised Sweden's "cohesiveness" and "strong mentality" but said Germany could overcome the challenge if it stuck to its winning formula from recent years. If Sweden and Germany both win by 3 (not super likely, but bear with me), then Mexico manages to go home in the group stage after beating the defending cup holders and standing atop their group from day 1.

Tottenham Hotspur forward Son Heung Min curled in for South Korea three minutes into stoppage time but it was too late to mount a fightback.

"Whether we knock out Germany is one thing, but we have a chance to qualify and that is extraordinary". Under that scenario Sweden would be the group champion and Mexico the group runner-up.

Prediction: Mexico win again and book a place in the round of 16. Mexico, which has been among the more impressive teams in the tournament with two wins, could be eliminated if it doesn't get at least a draw against Sweden.

The Red Devils were rampant at times and rested both forwards in the second half for tougher tests ahead.

Croatia has secured a trip to the second round and tops the group with six points.

In first-half stoppage time, after a rapid Swedish counter-attack, Viktor Claesson opted to cut inside rather than shoot first time and a presentable opening for a second goal was lost.

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