Marco Reus said Germany had proven many of their own fans wrong by bouncing back from potential World Cup elimination to put their campaign on course with a thrilling 2-1 victory over Sweden .
Die Mannschaft were heavily criticised in their own country after slipping to a 1-0 defeat against Mexico in their Group F opener, which made victory against Sweden vital if Joachim Low’s men were to remain in control of their own destiny.
They achieved that victory in dramatic style, recovering from Ola Toivonen’s first-half strike for Sweden and turning the game on its head through goals from Reus and Toni Kroos – the latter a 95th-minute free-kick that sent Germany’s fans and players into jubilant celebrations.
Borussia Dortmund midfielder Reus was asked whether he felt that some Germans were willing their team to lose in order to prompt a shake-up in the ranks, and he said: “I think it is indeed something that we have an impression of.
“Many people in Germany were looking forward to us bowing out of the tournament. But I think we have shown a team spirit, despite Sweden going ahead.
“Of course that was a setback and we had to digest that first, but we came back immediately and could have scored one or two more, but it was that final finish, that final determination was missing.
“Right now, that’s firmly in the past. We set out to win and achieved it.”
Reus heaped praise on Real Madrid midfielder Kroos, who he teed up for the sensational winning goal in the dying seconds.
#GER fans buoyant after their last-gasp win over #SWE #WorldCup pic.twitter.com/Z9D7yjlbEu
— Russell Greaves (@RussGreaves) June 23, 2018
Asked about his feelings after seeing the ball hit the net, Reus said: “Of course, pure elation. We’ve seen a couple of times at this World Cup in the last five minutes and particularly in stoppage time quite a number of goals.
“The fact that in the last 10 minutes we were trying to keep up pressure, we were really eager to win this match and the fact that Toni Kroos put it away like that is just incredible.
“He’s shown that talent on previous occasions but it shows in this case it was practically the last opportunity to win the match so I pay my respect to him for doing what he did.”
A win over South Korea will now likely see Germany through to the last 16 though all four sides in Group F are still in with a chance.