Toni Kroos scores stunning last-gasp winner to keep Germany's World Cup hopes alive after Jerome Boateng red

James Ducker
Toni Kroos celebrates scoring Germany's late, late winner - getty images

There were just 18 seconds between Germany’s fate at this World Cup being taken out of their hands and Toni Kroos scoring from a dramatic free-kick to complete an extraordinary comeback and turn the group on its head.

Just 18 seconds between Germany facing the very real prospect of exiting a World Cup at the first hurdle for the first time in 80 years and dealing the cruelest of blows to an impressive Sweden side who were left to nurse a sense of injustice on a spellbinding night in Sochi.

Just 18 seconds between Joachim Low fearing the curse of recent world champions might soon extend to his side and the German bench sparking fury among their Swedish counterparts by celebrating wildly on the touchline.

As if defeat was not bad enough for Janne Andersson, the Sweden coach, the sight of Low’s staff milking the moment was as hard to take as the stonewall penalty his team had been denied in the first half. “Some of the German bench celebrated by running in our direction and rubbing it into our faces by making gestures and that really got me annoyed,” Andersson said. “We fight it out for 95 minutes and then you shake it out and leave so I was very angry about that. This is probably the most crushing end to a game I have experienced in my career.”

Wild celebrations were sparked by Toni Kroos' winning goal Credit: REUTERS

The clock read 94.42 when Sweden’s players dropped to their knees after watching Kroos, who had been at fault for the opening goal, bend a breath-taking shot into the top corner after exchanging a short free-kick with Marco Reus. A draw would have left Germany’s fate in the hands of Sweden and Mexico in the final round of fixtures. Instead, they can guarantee their progress to the last 16 when they face South Korea in Kazan on Wednesday by bettering Sweden's result against Mexico. For 45 minutes, Germany had been desperate, second best to a Sweden team who were sharper, faster and hungrier.

Only ref Szymon Marciniak and the video assistant referee will know why Jerome Boateng, sent off eight minutes from time for a second booking, was not penalised for bundling over Marcus Berg in the 12th minute but, even discounting that misfortune, Sweden carved enough good chances to have scored three by half-time. Yet there was always the feeling that those misses, and the penalty controversy, could come back to haunt the Swedes and so it would prove.

Reus needed just three minutes of the second half to cancel out Ola Toivonen’s sublime opener and German pressure would become more and more pronounced. Reus should have scored a second from Joshua Kimmich’s cross on the hour then Robin Olsen tipped Mario Gomez’s bullet header over the bar before Julian Brandt crashed a shot against a post in stoppage time.

Most inside the stadium must have thought Germany’s chance had gone there and then but there is a good  reason why the country have reached at least the semi-final stage of 21 of the past 27 World Cups and European Championships. They simply never know when they are beaten.

“Something that I did appreciate was that we didn’t lose our nerve, didn’t break out in panic after going behind,” said Low, who tried to play down the provocative celebrations. “I appreciated the spirit of the team, we never lost hope. I didn’t witness any gestures  because after the final whistle we were really involved and we fell into each other’s arms elated rally.”

Ola Toivonen scores for Sweden Credit: reuters

It was a riveting game. Breathless, controversial, dramatic. The first half alone would be worthy of a study on how to perfectly execute a counter- attacking game plan against opponents who seek to monopolise possession. Defensive strategists the world over will have marvelled at the way Sweden soaked up German pressure and then pounced on their mistakes with rapid raids on the transition. They were as controlled and compact as those spaces left by Germany were alarming.

Germany may have won it but South Korea will watch this, and the Mexico game, and know the world champions can be got at. Similarly, if Low’s team do advance they are unlikely to induce the fear they once did among opponents. There are clear weaknesses to exploit, not least their sluggishness dealing with sides who transition so quickly when they win the ball.

Mesut Ozil was one of four casualties from the Mexico game and the most  notable but whatever Low was trying to achieve with the changes failed  initially. Germany – who lost Sebastian Rudy after half an hour with a broken nose – were mightily lucky not to  concede a penalty when Boateng brought down Berg through a combination of push and trip. The referee let alone the VAR should have spotted the foul.

Jerome Boateng sends Marcus Berg tumbling in the box Credit: getty images

“My team said it was a clear penalty,” Andersson bristled.

After only 15 minutes Sweden had made 19 passes to the world champions’ 169 but the only statistic that mattered in the opening period was the one that read Sweden 1 Germany 0. And what a goal it was. From the tireless Berg intercepting a pass from Kroos to the probing Viktor Claesson stroking a clever cross into Toivonen to the Toulouse forward cushioning the ball on his chest and holding off Antonio Rudiger to delicately lift the ball over Manuel Neuer, it was a masterclass in how to strike hard and fast.

They had other chances, too. Berg drew a stunning save from Neuer with a header from Seb Larsson’s free-kick and Claesson, otherwise brilliant, made the mistake of not shooting first time from Emil Forsberg’s fine cross, electing instead to cut inside Jonas Hector only to be tackled. You sensed it could all come back to bite Sweden, even when Boateng was dismissed, and it did in the most heartbreaking fashion. What a game. What a night.

World Cup 2018 | The best of the Telegraph's coverage
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9:21PM

Some reading ahead of tomorrow

How England can get the job done against physical Panama

 We'll see you then for our live coverage of all the big games, including England's attempts to beat Panama.

9:10PM

ITV pundits now laying into Boateng

Patrice Evra

"I don't wanna go harsh on him but he had a really bad game. When he was sent off, Germany played better."

Roy Keane (seriously, what has happened to him?)

"They spoke about him having 65 pairs of shoes so he can't be right upstairs"

Everyone laughs.

Personally, I can see where the Boateng criticism comes from but he's a key component of Low's attempts to play positional football high up the pitch. He's meant to be a play-maker in this side and if the things he'd attempted actually worked, would have looked like a total star. Instead he was full of mistakes... but you will make mistakes if you're experimenting.

The obvious retort to that is he's a defender and needs to stay safe. Gary Neville says:

"It's like they're trying to do a little bit of what Pep Guardiola does and what Germany do. At Man City a full-back comes into midfield to prevent the counter-attack but their's are wide. It's like they're stuck between two tactics."

I like that Boateng and Germany are trying something a little different. If it works it'll keep opposition teams pinned back but at the moment they are just simply too offensive and are leaving massive gaps. 

That brings us back to the old chess dilemma though. The thinking is that if you bring an attacking mentality to the game you will dominate as you restrict the counter-attack options of your opponent. I could go into this for hours, so let's stop. 

It's safe to say that Boateng was ropey/[deleted word] tonight. And he deserved that red card!

9:04PM

Kroos' goal

kroos' goal

 

9:03PM

Henrik Larsson is not happy

"Stand on your feet. That's the first thing you learn!" says Henrik about Durmaz's fatal foul.

9:02PM

This game has broken Roy Keane

"Brilliant. I really enjoyed the game. My condolences. We've criticised them, we've slagged Germany off, they were awful but they stuck at it, brilliant drama - I loved it."

9:01PM

Celebrations for that goal

Credit: AFP

There was a bit of a ruckus on the touchline once Kroos' goal went in with Sweden's manager particularly upset about something. 

8:59PM

What a finish

That was utterly brilliant. Sweden defended heroically but just couldn't hang on and to be fair to them, that stunning Kroos goal from a free-kick was the kind you just can't do anything about. Sheer class.

 

8:55PM

FULL TIME

Wow. I cannot imagine how gutted Sweden fans feel (I can, I'm Scottish) but that is a simply breathtaking way to win. Never write off the Germans!

8:54PM

GOL GOL GOL GOL GOL GOOOOOOAAAAAALLLL

Germany 2 Sweden 1

That's unbelievable! Kroos touches the free-kick, Reus stops it and Kroos bends a brilliant, powerful, bending shot into the top corner! That is absolutely unbelievable.

 

8:53PM

GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLL!

Germany 2 Sweden 1

sakjhbsadakjhdsa dsadsaWHGWATAJHAHA WHGAAT A GOAL!!!!!

INCREDIBLE FROM GERMANY!

8:52PM

90 mins+5 - Germany 1 Sweden 1

Last chance for Germany. They go from goalkeeper to Sweden's half. Werner takes on his man... and wins a free-kick! This will be the last passage of play of the game. Kroos and Reus are over the ball. These set pieces haven't worked so far...

8:50PM

90 mins+3 - Germany 1 Sweden 1

GERMANY HIT THE POST! WHAT A STRIKE! Brandt absolutely launches an effort from 20 yards and it pings back off the post and lands at the feet of Werner. But he can only turn it over the bar! He was offside anyway.

Sweden can break! They have men over here - Germany are in trouble! The linesman's flag has saved them. Two minutes left of this one for Germany to find a winner. Or Sweden!

8:49PM

90 mins+2 - Germany 1 Sweden 1

Olsen punches away when he could catch. Germany have everyone inside the Sweden half, the deepest player is Rudiger and he's 20 yards from the halfway line!

Rudiger goes to ground way too easily (for my liking) and wins a cheap free-kick at half way as Sweden keep the ball for a bit. Germany win a corner. It's exciiiiiiting!!!

8:47PM

90 mins - Germany 1 Sweden 1

Muller is wide right, tries to hit a low cross into the box and ends up punting it out for a throw-in. Awful.

Brandt is fouled wide left - this is a dangerous position for a set piece, or it would be if Germany were able to win aerial battles against a strong, tall Sweden side.

Sweden sub Berg for Thelin. 

8:45PM

88 mins - Germany 1 Sweden 1

Hector off, Brandt on. That means Germany have Kimmich - who has been a right winger all game - and Rudiger left defending. Kroos has been acting as a third centre-back all night so he'll be involved. 

Sweden are defending so well here, there's just no space for Germany to exploit. The ball is out on the left, crossed in and GOMEZ IS THERE! WHAT A SAVE BY OLSEN! 

A point blank save by the Sweden goalkeeper denies Germany!

8:44PM

86 mins - Germany 1 Sweden 1

And now there's confirmation that the referee was waiting for the victim of Boateng's foul (which wasn't overly or at all malicious by the way) to get to his feet before showing Boateng the second yellow. Buying some time to think seems like a sensible approach. 

It's still all Germany even with 10 men.

8:42PM

84 mins - Germany 1 Sweden 1

SWEDEN GO CLOSE! This game is amazing. The ball is put into the area but Germany manage to survive - somehow - and Sweden have a corner. It goes out for a goal kick.

VAR can't intervene for yellow card decisions but assistant referees can... and it seems like one of those may well have told the referee that Boateng should have been booked for that offence. Replays seem to show that's the right call anyway!

8:40PM

RED CARD

red card

OOOOHHHH OR HAS HE? The referee changes his mind - VAR? - and Boateng has been sent off for a second yellow!

8:39PM

82 mins - Germany 1 Sweden 1

Germany's forwards are just standing occupying these positions as the ball is moved around the pitch.

germany strikers

Werner then finds space inside the box and meets a cross from wide right... but he's missed it. That is a HUGE chance.

Oooooohhhh Boateng has gone flying into a tackle from behind and that should be a yellow! The referee says no.

8:37PM

80 mins - Germany 1 Sweden 1

What do Germany have left? They have 10 minutes to conjure something  and Sweden must be knackered defending this all game long.

8:36PM

78 mins - Germany 1 Sweden 1

Sweden take their time over a goal kick, hump it long and Berg fouls Kimmich near his own box. John Guidetti comes on for Toivonen.

8:33PM

76 mins - Germany 1 Sweden 1

Durmaz has an instant impact, winning a corner with his first involvement. The corner is swung in, some players go down in the box and a shot from distance is well saved by Neuer.

8:31PM

74 mins - Germany 1 Sweden 1

Sweden are finding it difficult to play their way out from the back but Germany are so keen to win the ball back that they keep conceding fouls and handing Sweden much needed time.

Claesson is subbed for Durmaz. 

8:30PM

72 mins - Germany 1 Sweden 1

Credit: REUTERS

 How long until this man makes an appearance? Germany might not need him! Werner is in on the left, he gets to the line and fires across goal but nobody can turn it in! Sweden survive... Toivonen handballs 35 yards out.

Kroos stands over the free-kick. It goes wide, Kimmich has to pass back and Gundogan crosses. Reus has a hopeful shot blocked, Germany start from the back after a throw-in.

8:28PM

71 mins - Germany 1 Sweden 1

Bad mistake by Kroos. He passes across the pitch and it's easily intercepted but Sweden can't take advantage and Kimmich catches up quickly. The ball is soon in Neuer's gloves and he sends Germany on their way. They took too long to put passes together and Sweden can get back into a defensive shape. 

Forsberg does brilliantly to hold the ball up and win a free-kick. Boateng is booked for the fouk.

8:26PM

69 mins - Germany 1 Sweden 1

Here come Germ any again. Werner wide left, Kroos takes it on and puts the ball to the edge of the box. It comes back, he chips across the box and Kimmich crosses... and it's cleared. It's all Germany. 

Boateng chips into the area and GOMEZ IS THERE! HE'S MISSED FROM SIX YARDS! That's a dreadful miss!

The linesman says he's offside but he isn't - and had he scored that should have stood. 

8:24PM

67 mins - Germany 1 Sweden 1

Olsen punches a cross from right away, Germany try to keep up the pressure but eventually Sweden finally get the ball and try to just keep it for a while.

 

8:23PM

65 mins - Germany 1 Sweden 1

The ball drops for Kroos on the edge of the area, he sets up the shot and hits it... but a sliding tackle comes flying in and gives Germany a corner. Kroos takes, it's headed away and Sweden boot the ball up the pitch. Neuer is 40 yards off his line again to start the passing move.

8:21PM

63 mins - Germany 1 Sweden 1

An ITV stat tells me that these are the players to have made the most key passes tonight:

  • Muller 11
  • Kimmich 9 
  • Boateng 7

Neuer is 40 yards off his line to recyle play and start another Germany attack. And Kroos has it on the edge of the area, fakes to shoot but his actual shot is then blocked.

8:19PM

61 mins - Germany 1 Sweden 1

Look at the difference in the passing! Sweden all long, Germany tippy-tappy across the middle. That's starting to change a little bit now.

And Reus has just gone close to turning a low cross from Kimmich into the goal! Reus goes for a back heel flick - like Kanu - but kicks thin air and tumbles to the floor. That should have been a goal. 

8:17PM

59 mins - Germany 1 Sweden 1

Gomez sprints down the left as Germany have a little chance to counter-attack but Sweden get back and shut down the danger. 

Boateng tries to follow up and brings the ball towards the box - like Beckenbauer - but his forward pass is poor and easily intercepted. Sweden go long but Rudiger reads the play well and wins the header.

8:14PM

57 mins - Germany 1 Sweden 1

Gundogan goes on a run but does too much and Sweden can break now. Boateng sweeps up the danger and Germany are at half way within a couple of seconds. It's a much higher tempo, forward thinking and Werner is causing problems on the left wing.

He beats his man and finds Hector in the penalty area! He controls... shoots and the goalkeeper saves.

Low does some windmill gestures on the sidelines, trying to get his players all fired up. 

8:12PM

55 mins - Germany 1 Sweden 1

Credit: GETTY IMAGES

Germany are finding space in behind to run into now. That's what direct passing will do for you. 

8:11PM

53 mins - Germany 1 Sweden 1

Muller is really wound up and has a little battle with Ekdal off the ball, while Werner is obstructed and wins a free-kick wide left. Germany pass patiently but there's bit more zip and purpose to it.

Sweden win a goal kick. Olsen takes his time. 

8:08PM

51 mins - Germany 1 Sweden 1

Germany have a free-kick wide right of the Sweden box. Rudiger and Boateng are getting feisty with Toivonen, Kroos crosses in and MULLER MEETS IT! But his header is wide and slams off the microphone beside the goal.

Germany are at it now.

8:07PM

49 mins - Germany 1 Sweden 1

Oh my word it's nearly 2-1! Kroos takes a shot from 20 yards and it takes a massive deflection. The goalkeeper is beaten but the ball flies wide of the far post! Germany are all over Sweden here, they look shaky, on the ropes.

8:05PM

GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL!

GERMANY ARE BACK IN BUSINESS!

Well whatever he said at half time has worked! Werner is out on the left hand side, beats his man and crosses into the box. Everyone misses the ball except Reus who puts a knee on the ball to turn it into the goal. Game on!

8:05PM

47 mins - Germany 0 Sweden 1

You can already see what Sweden's plan is in this half. Defend deep and take advantage of Germany having so few players - and none with any pace - making risky passes at half way.

sweden counter

 

8:02PM

KICK OFF 2

We're back. Mario Gomez is warmed up and ready to come on, giving Germany an actual focal point for the 20million crosses they're going to ping into the area this half. Remember, if Germany lose, they are OUT of the World Cup. 

Gomez replaces Draxler. This might bring an end to probing and lead to more direct passing.

7:59PM

Stay up to date with all things World Cup

If you haven't signed up for our Whatsapp updates yet, I recommend you do. It's great having things sent to your phone:

World Cup whatsapp promo

 

7:58PM

Solid joke

Pougatch has won joke of the night as a motorbike can be heard in the background of the ITV studio.

"I'm not sure what that motorbike is but I wonder if it's Joachim Low making a swift getaway".

This result would serve Low right for wearing a t-shirt tbf.

7:56PM

What's going wrong?

Germany are pushing high up the pitch so it looks like this:

germany shape

The goal came as Kroos gave a pass away to Toivonen and you can see the space that's going to be left if Germany do turnover possession.

Straight away they have to chase back and are vulnerable because they are in transition. Sweden attack down one wing quickly and the left midfielder sprints to join in down the left. They don't over commit but because it's a quick counter they don't need to.

Gary Neville is laying into Germany's defence:

"The centre-backs have been a joke. Boateng thinks he's Beckenbauer! He's played under Pep and thinks he's Beckehnbauer. He's got delusions of grandeur, he really does, wandering about."

7:51PM

Half-time stats

It's been all Germany but Sweden's attacks are much more potent. Germany are playing like it's a Legends friendly game and they're going to sub on Jurgen Klinsmann and Lothar Matthaus at half time...

 Boateng is Germany's main playmaker again.

7:48PM

HALF TIME

Magnificent from Sweden. They've defended deep, stayed disciplined and waited to take their chance to counter-attack. When they've been able to they've looked really dangerous and Germany are teetering on the edge of an incredibly early World Cup exit. 

Joachim Low needs to change things and get his team revved up. What a job he has on his hands now.

7:46PM

45 mins+2 - Germany 0 Sweden 1

That's smart from Boateng. He's in the right halfspace near the box, cuts onto his left and tries an early shot to the near post. The goalkeeper panics and races over to stop it but the shot is just wide.

 

7:45PM

45 mins - Germany 0 Sweden 1

Germany are all over the place. They keep letting Sweden in on the counter-attack and Claesson is ridiculously close to cutting inside onto his left foot and getting a shot away from 10 yards. It's a mess here for Germany!

7:42PM

43 mins - Germany 0 Sweden 1

Forget Neymar's rainbow flick yesterday or any of the flip-flaps we've seen! That little bit of skill by Augustinsson on the left is amazing and it's beaten three Germany players at once. He pretends to drag the ball inside then stops it, rolls, then drag-scoops it between two players. So good.

7:40PM

41 mins - Germany 0 Sweden 1

Big chance for Germany and they've wasted it! Gundogan takes a shot, Olsen saves and Muller is beaten to the rebound.. then goes crying to the referee about some sort of foul. He is incorrect.

7:39PM

39 mins - Germany 0 Sweden 1

Credit: GETTY IMAGES

 What a photograph that is! Perfectly captures the fear in Neuer's eyes and the arc of the ball.

Credit: GETTY IMAGES

 

7:37PM

37 mins - Germany 0 Sweden 1

Sweden are enjoying more of the ball now and are doing so higher up the pitch. What is wrong with this Germany team? This isn't working at the moment.

7:35PM

35 mins - Germany 0 Sweden 1

What a noise when that goal went in. The Sweden fans are bouncing in the stands, Germany are rocked. 

7:32PM

GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLL!

SWEDEN HAVE TAKEN THE LEAD!

What a brilliant finish this is. Sweden have the ball on the right and a fantastic pass into the box is controlled superbly by Toivonen, who shields the ball and then lobs Neuer with a perfect finish. What a goal. And what a shock this could be!

7:32PM

32 mins - Germany 0 Sweden 0

Rudy is furious that he's not being allowed back on.

rudy

But that injury looked nasty and is technically a head injury. It's unclear whether the doctor has said he can't continue or if the change has been brought about because they don't have a replacement shirt for him...

Gundogan is on in his place.

7:30PM

31 mins - Germany 0 Sweden 0

Rudy is still standing shirtless on the sidelines. Low appears to be losing his patience. He needs a new top because the other one is covered in blood but he's also having a member of staff putting ice on the back of his neck. Germany might make a substitution here.

7:29PM

29 mins - Germany 0 Sweden 0

Sweden are passing around Germany's half! [puts on party hat] They're taking advantage of Germany being down to 10 men at the moment and Hector has to head at the back post to get a cross behind. Corner. The big defenders are forward for it.

Werner heads away, Sweden keep the ball.

7:27PM

27 mins - Germany 0 Sweden 0

That looks like a burst lip and a whack to the nose, which is still bleeding. Rudy goes to change his shirt but he'll need his nose seen to before he can come on. Germany are slowly passing around their own half while he's seen to. Sweden aren't even considering pressing higher to try and win the ball off him.

7:25PM

25 mins - Germany 0 Sweden 0

Berg goes tumbling as Boateng closes in Credit: AFP

Rudy is bleeding a lot out of his face and Sweden are concerned about him. Toivonen's caught him in the nose with his heel. Ow. He's down receiving treatment but that will have rattled him. 

7:23PM

23 mins - Germany 0 Sweden 0

Germany really need to score here before this turns into a very frustrating night. Sweden could defend like this all night.

7:21PM

21 mins - Germany 0 Sweden 0

It's just Germany attacking, Sweden defending. No goals, no shots. 

7:19PM

19 mins - Germany 0 Sweden 0

It's kinda one sided... but Sweden look so dangerous on the counter-attack! Possession means nothing if you can't do anything with it. 

7:17PM

17 mins - Germany 0 Sweden 0

Lee Dixon raises an interesting point. "If there's nobody there, he gets a shot away" and because Boateng puts his foot in, he doesn't. Still, a team of referees have decided that's not a foul having reviewed it so I'm inclined to side with their opinion.

Germany are back in the Sweden final third now, switching play, looking for an opening... but there are too many players heavily marked.

7:14PM

15 mins - Germany 0 Sweden 0

Boateng's attempted tackle sends Berg over... but they're both running at pace and it doesn't look like a penalty to me. And the referee team have concluded that it isn't a foul. Controversy!

7:13PM

13 mins - Germany 0 Sweden 0

Boateng never hides away from the ball and always seems to be in a decent position to help his side keep the passes going. But he's given it away! SWEDEN ARE AWAY! It's Mexico all over again... here goes the striker, Berg's behind the defence, Boateng can't get close and he's one on one with the goalkeeper! He goes down! Is that a penalty? Play continues but VAR will review it. 

Germany have really gotten away with that!

7:11PM

11 mins - Germany 0 Sweden 0

Germany have made 122 passes so far. Sweden six.

 

7:09PM

10 mins - Germany 0 Sweden 0

Big chance Germany! Kimmich is the creator again, having the ball wide right and playing a through-pass ahead of Reus' run. It's perfectly weighted, Reus is in behind but his cutback is knocked behind for a corner.

Germany pass patiently around the Sweden half looking for an opening.

7:08PM

8 mins - Germany 0 Sweden 0

But now we see the counter-attack! Germany have made the same mistake early on, two players racing to try and intercept but losing out and suddenly Sweden area away. Forsberg has two chasing defenders, goes past one but is then crowded out on the edge of the Germany box. 

Germany attack again, Draxler is down the left and he pokes a pass across the box which is just wide of the far post. 

7:06PM

6 mins - Germany 0 Sweden 0

It looks like Rudiger is playing as sweeper, Boateng and Hector taking up positions either side of him when Germany have possession.

Germany are already all over Sweden. This could be a long night.

7:03PM

4 mins - Germany 0 Sweden 0

Germany are passing the ball around the final third nicely, Kimmich pulling out wide right... and he hits a cross in that comes off a defender and then lands with Werner! He's inside the six yard box, crosses low and DRAXLER MUST SCORE! Blocked! How has he missed?! 

Sweden have really gone into defensive mode here. Is it not too early to do that? 

7:02PM

2 mins - Germany 0 Sweden 0 

Germany get the ball straight away and calmly play out from the back. Sure enough, Sweden immediately drop back into their deep 4-4-2 shape.

sweden

 

7:00PM

KICK OFF

National anthems are done, the players are ready. Here we go! Sweden start the match.

6:55PM

Bad news for Sweden fans

 

6:53PM

Neuer will be involved tonight

But probably not in his actual goalmouth, as I (hopefully) explain in the above video! 

6:49PM

The lineups

germany vs sweden

This is what the game will look like on paper (and on your screen) but in attack it'll be very different. Gary Neville has just said it's boring to play against Sweden because they slow the game down with such a defensive approach to it. 

germany attacking shape

This what the game will actually look like. The key differences are that Sweden won't leave two players high either side of the striker to allow counter-attacks and - crucially - Rudy won't go missing from that holding position like Khedira did. 

6:43PM

Some of you might not get this

 

6:35PM

ITV pundits on chances of a Sweden win

Patrice Evra

If he change two players at the back he's really not happy with his defence. When you change two... normally you never change your backline. 

Henrik Larsson

I don't think they're nervous because they're Germany. There's a lot of hope from my point of view, if we can manage to get a draw that would be fantastic. If we win, it would be a miracle.

Germany's going to have the ball a lot. It's important for us to play when we get possession and maybe we can do something from a set piece.

6:26PM

Lovely photos

There are heaps of great pictures that have been taken during this World Cup and we have compiled a bunch of them into this very pleasant gallery:

Russia World Cup in pictures: Best photos of teams, games and players

 

6:16PM

Mexico beat South Korea....

Which means Germany will be out of the World Cup if they lose this. No pressure, lads.

 

6:06PM

What went wrong for Germany last time

Credit: FIFA

Too many players charged up the pitch in their defeat to Mexico, three Mexican forwards stayed high to wait for counter-attacks and Germany were duly punished. 

The key changes are Ozil, who provided absolutely no midfield cover in defence and didn't offer enough in attack, and Khedira, who was supposed to play as a six and shield the defence, link play and act as a pivot in midfield. Rudy will absolutely fix the latter problem, Reus will be a more dynamic, hustle-and-bustle replacement for Ozil.

Kimmich and Hector will still fly up the wings but as long as Rudy holds his position and doesn't get too separated from Kroos they'll have some cover. Sweden won't be able to counter-attack in quite the same way Mexico did and this will be a different game. The big challenge will be creating chances in the final third against a really well drilled Swedish defence while ensuring they don't over commit like we saw against Mexico.

6:01PM

Sweden team

Sweden starting XI (4-4-2)

Olsen; Lustig, Lindelof, Granqvist, Augustinsson; Larsson, Ekdal, Claesson, Forsberg; Toivonen, Berg

5:54PM

Who's going to win?

That's a signal of intent from Joachim Low and it'll be really interesting to see how the team reacts. It's also notable that Mats Hummels - who was so critical of his teammates after the game - has been benched for Rudiger (although Low did say this was due to illness/injury).

Sweden are a strong team but lack an individual star. I can see their game plan being to contain and frustrate and attack quickly down the wings - Kimmich and Hector will leave space in behind to take advantage of.

 

5:46PM

Germany team news - Ozil and Khedira are dropped!

Well well well. The rumours were true! Marco Reus and Jonas Hector are in and Sebastian Rudy replaces Khedira. Low hasn't held back here.

5:40PM

Where's the game today?

World Cup 2018 stadium: Fisht Stadium

The delightfully named Fisht stadium, which as we all know, is in Sochi. This is the venue in which Germany must win to avoid one of the all time biggest World Cup upsets.

5:31PM

Big team news...

 I'm not sure how valid this is but the source is fairly solid and Mesut Ozil was awful in the last game. Khedira was caught out of position way too often as well.

5:30PM

Hello! 

Welcome to our liveblog for the last game of day 10 of the 2018 World Cup! It's Germany vs Sweden and remarkably it's really difficult to call who's going to win it.

Sweden have three points thanks to their narrow win over South Korea (and with the help of VAR) while Germany were torn apart by Mexico, playing a suicidal high line and sending full-backs miles up the pitch only to suffer for it. Joachim Low's team have been out of sorts for quite a time now and there have been rallying calls from the players to address it.

"We're under real pressure now," said Toni Kroos. "We have to get six points from the next games.

"We didn't play well enough. Overall, we had our chances, but we weren't able to score.

"We lost the ball up front far too easily and Mexico had always two or three people up front, who we failed to block efficiently."

World Cup 2018 tactics: Why Germany's goalkeeper is key to how they attack

Mats Hummels wasn't quite so nice about it:

“Mexico deserved the win – our cover was often not good and we were left many times with Jérôme [Boateng] and myself at the back,” he said. “If seven of eight players are attacking then it’s clear our attacking power is greater. But that’s something that I have often talked about internally. It doesn’t always bear fruit.

“A wake-up call is too late. We now must win two games, otherwise that is that with the World Cup. I don’t really understand why we played like we played because, really, we already had our wake-up call.”

Credit: FIFA

Supporters of both teams are having a lovely old time in the Russia sun (though those clouds look ominous) and team news will be with us really soon. When that happens we can try and figure out how both teams plan to approach this but you can bet Sweden will be a 4-4-2, low block and focus play down the wings, while Germany will be keen to AVENGE their opening game defeat. It could be a cracker, it could also be a frustrating 90 minutes for the Germans. Only time will tell! And that time is... soon.