Germany’s matchwinner Toni Kroos has criticised former internationals and pundits for putting the boot into the defending champions after their shaky World Cup start.
Kroos’s stunning free-kick five minutes into added time in Sochi sealed a 2-1 win to keep alive Germany’s flagging hopes following defeat to Mexico in their opening Group F match.
Following the dramatic win on Saturday, Kroos rounded on those who had heavily criticised Joachim Loew’s squad after their woeful first-half display against Mexico.
The Real Madrid midfielder told broadcaster ARD after the Sweden game that the team deserved criticism after their disjointed performance in their tournament opener, adding : “Many people would have been happy if we had gone out.”
“Anyone who speaks up, those experts, and anyone who writes about it can feel they have addressed things, but it gives me the feeling that it’s more fun to analyse or talk or write badly of us,” he told reporters.
“I’m not talking about the fans who go to the fan miles (fan zones in Germany).”
By his own admission, Kroos was at fault when he gave the ball away, which led to Ola Toivonen’s first-half goal for Sweden, putting Germany on the brink of a World Cup exit.
The holders fought back, with Marco Reus equalising early in the second half before Kroos’s dramatic winner.
The four-time world champions must win by a margin of two goals against South Korea in Kazan on Wednesday to be absolutely sure of progressing. Failure to do so would mean relying on the outcome of the other match between Mexico and Sweden.
Kroos blamed the media for not giving the team enough support in Russia.
“We don’t get any help. No one is going to write the title our way, we have to do it ourselves, it has to come from us,” he said.
“We know we have a lot of fans, but we won’t get any more help other than that.”
Reus, who was named man-of-the-match, echoed Kroos’s comments.
“I agree with Toni that many in Germany wanted us to go out in the first round,” said Reus. “But the game showed that we always believed in ourselves.”