Germany coach Joachim Low praised his players for keeping their nerve during a “roller coaster ride” as a late 2-1 win over Sweden reignited their World Cup hopes.
The defending champions’ chances of making the knockout stages looked slim as, after Marco Reus’ goal cancelled out Marcus Berg’s opener, Jerome Boateng was sent off for a second bookable offence.
However, Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos scored deep into five minutes of added time to put them back on track in Group F.
“Something I did appreciate today is that we didn’t lose our nerves and break out in panic after conceding a goal. We kept a level head,” said Low, who revealed midfielder Sebastian Rudy broke his nose after being accidentally caught by a boot in the first half.
“We never lost hope. Obviously the goal we scored in stoppage time was a bit lucky but it is always a result of our belief in ourselves.
“I was very pleased for him (Kroos) because he was involved in the mistake which led to Sweden’s goal.
“Of course this was a thriller, full of emotions and a roller coaster ride right up to the final whistle.
“We have to play against South Korea in order to be sure we make it to the next round and then everything is open, we will take it as it comes.”
Germany’s wild celebrations at Kroos’ winner were criticised by Sweden coach Janne Andersson, who felt he and his backroom staff were disrespected.
“Some of the Germany leaders on the team celebrated by running in our direction and rubbing it into our faces by making gestures,” he said.
“That really got me really annoyed and angry. There were many people on our bench who were very annoyed.
“People behaved in ways that you don’t do.”
However, Low played down suggestions their actions had been inflammatory.
“I didn’t see any aggressive gestures directed at the Swedish bench at all,” he added.
“I didn’t witness that because after the final whistle we fell into each others’ arms and hugged each other we were so elated.”
Andersson was also unhappy his side were not awarded a penalty early in the first half when Boateng appeared to catch Berg as he ran through on goal.
Polish referee Szymon Marciniak was in no mood to either award a spot-kick or consult VAR and the Sweden boss felt that was a mistake.
“I’m not going to cast any blame – I haven’t watched the situation myself – I can only refer you to the people on our team who have said this is a clear penalty,” he said.
“If we had got that penalty awarded that is possibly what we might have needed to cope with a team like Germany.
“If we have this (VAR) system it is is unfortunate he (Marciniak) feels so secure in the live situation he doesn’t go and have a look.”