The big guns struggle
Germany were staring elimination in the face before Kroos’ pinpoint free-kick deep into the 'zona Cesarini', or ‘Fergie time’. Brazil’s toils had a similar outcome the day before, and the World Cup big guns (Brazil, Argentina, Germany…) have been labouring and sweating their way through the tournament. But Germany quite possibly took the biscuit in the suffering stakes last night. In the 94th minute, with a man down, the scoreline stood at 1-1 – of little use to Löw’s side given that a draw between Mexico and Sweden in the final group game would have been enough for both sides to progress. And we all know what occurs when a draw is good for both sides… it ends in a draw. In Italy they call it a ‘biscotto’, in Spain a ‘peace agreement’, in Germany I’ve got not idea. But it’s inevitable.
The World Cup's version of Real Madrid
Kroos put paid to any of that. A good friend of mine, an Atlético fan, sent me a message: “Germany are the World Cup’s version of Real Madrid. What a drag!” The drag part is just Atlético cheek, but I’d go along with the first assertion. Germany at the World Cup are the equivalent of Real Madrid in the European Cup. Regardless of whether they're playing well, they hold a deep-seated belief that victory is always possible, because it’s both a right and an obligation. If they play well then for them it’s easy, and if they play poorly then it makes life difficult - yet even in the midst of the worst slumber and potential meltdown, they know something can happen. Last night Kroos’s sweetly struck free-kick curled plum into the top corner.
Luck rewards those who seek it
Germany didn’t play well. They appear a side under transformation, with Khedira and Özil moving out of the picture, and Müller too, his waning influence in evidence against Mexico and again against Sweden. I’ve been impressed with Brandt every time he comes on, however. Yet while Löw addresses his doubts and the structure of this side finds its shape, they continue to be blown forward by something historically ingrained, something that does not allow them to give up. The same cannot be said for Sweden – a prime example was Guidetti failing to keep the ball and wind down the clock at the end. Luck rewards those who seek it, and that’s why they deserve it when it comes their way.