By William Hill
Last Updated: 24th June 2018
Toni Kroos’ brilliant injury-time winner against Sweden has seen the Germany odds to win the World Cup brought in to 7/1 moments after they appeared doomed to a group-stage exit.
Having lost their opener 1-0 to Mexico, they trailed 1-0 at half time to Janne Anderson’s usually stingy side. Even a draw wouldn’t save them if their two rivals played out a draw of convenience in the finale.
Long-serving coach Joachim Low showed incredible courage to bring on a second striker at the interval in Mario Gomez, who swiftly set up the equaliser for the recalled Marco Reus.
He then made another attacking change even after centre back Jerome Boateng was sent off, leaving just one career defender on the pitch.
Those substitutions didn’t look like being rewarded as the holders passed up several great chances, until Toni Kroos expertly converted from the edge of the box following a one-two with Reus.
It means Germany’s record of never exiting the World Cup at a first group stage will almost certainly be maintained if they beat South Korea, which is judged a 1/7 near formality.
And once the prospect of group-stage elimination – a fate that befell the last three World Cup winners from Europe – has been extinguished, their excellent knockout record will come into play.
Germany have reached the final four of the last three World Cups and the last three European Championships, winning last summer’s Confederations Cup too.
That’s why from a position of such vulnerability, suddenly only Brazil and Spain (both 9/2) are shorter than the Germany odds to win the World Cup of 7/1.
Spain in 2010 provide a positive precedent of a nation recovering from losing their opening game to take home the trophy. However, there’s history to conquer as no team have retained since Brazil in 1962. The only ever Europeans to were Italy back in 1938.