Toni Kroos scored deep into stoppage time to complete a remarkable comeback for 10-man Germany against Sweden in the 2018 FIFA World Cup on Saturday.
Kroos hit the winner in the 95th minute after Marco Reus had leveled following Ola Toivonen's goal. Holders Germany had been reduced to 10 men when centre-back Jerome Boateng was shown a second yellow card.
However, the defending champions eventually put their first win on the board in Group F and are still hopeful of qualification for the knockout stage headed into their final group match against South Korea on Wednesday.
Mexico top the group after beating South Korea 2-1 earlier the day. Carlos Vela and Javier Hernandez scored before Heung-Min Son netted a spectacular yet ultimately meaningless goal for South Korea, who exit the tournament early.
Belgium got things started with an entertaining 5-2 demolition of Tunisia in Group G. Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard each netted a brace, while Michy Batshuayi added a goal in the final minute.
It means the Red Devils are in control of the group ahead of England's second match against Panama on Sunday.
Group F (Wins, Goal Difference and Points)
1. Mexico: 2, +3, 6
2. Germany: 1, 0, 3
3. Sweden: 1, 0, 3
4. South Korea: 0, -2, 0
1. Belgium: 2, +6, 6
2. England: 1, +1, 3
3. Panama: 0, -3, 0
4. Tunisia: 0, -4, 0
Full standings are available, per FIFA.com.
Germany Still Shaky, Despite Comeback
The holders just about stayed in the World Cup, but they still look shaky despite their dramatic comeback at the Fisht Stadium in Sochi. Die Mannschaft were already rocking even before Toivonen lobbed Sweden into the lead on 32 minutes.
Sweden rightly felt they should have had a penalty earlier when Boateng clashed with striker Marcus Berg in the box. Toivonen's goal made amends somewhat while also encouraging greater confidence among the Swedish supporters:
However, it's never a good idea to write Germany off in a major international tournament. The introduction of centre-forward Mario Gomez at half-time gave them a more direct threat, but it was Reus who bundled in the equaliser three minutes after the break.
Consistent German pressure followed:
Yet Boateng's dismissal for a second yellow card in the 82nd minute threatened to rob Germany of momentum.
The holders didn't settle for a point, though, and Kroos arrowed in a free-kick after Timo Werner was fouled on the edge of the area.
His goal kept Germany in the mix for qualification, but defensive woes could yet see them condemned to an early exit.
Vela and Hernandez Inspire Free-Flowing Mexico
El Tri have had no problem finding their scoring touch, largely thanks to the performances of Carlos Vela and Hernandez.
Both were on the scoresheet against South Korea in Rostov, including a Mexico-record 50th international goal. The landmark put Chicharito in some select company on the global stage:
Mexico's midfield pairing of Hector Herrera and Andres Guardado are also influencing matches with vision and guile. There's also support out wide from pacey rising star Hirving Lozano and the versatile Miguel Layun.
Mexico have enough match-winners in forward areas to catch more than a few nations cold during the knockout phase.
Lukaku's Scoring Run Continues
With a striker in the kind of form Romelu Lukaku is enjoying, Belgium are sure to be a force. The Manchester United attacker took his tally to four goals in two matches after finding the net twice against Tunisia at Moscow's Spartak Stadium.
Lukaku did the same thing against Panama in his country's opener, while his latest goals maintained a thrillingly prolific run for the 25-year-old:
Putting Lukaku's form for his country into context shows him outperforming some of the game's most illustrious forwards:
Sadly for Lukaku, an ankle injury could keep him out of what should be the decisive final group game against the Three Lions:
Fortunately for Belgium coach Roberto Martinez, it's not all about Lukaku. The squad is loaded with creative and attacking talents, including two-goal winger Hazard.
His ability to dovetail with Manchester City playmaker Kevin De Bruyne and Napoli forward Dries Mertens means Belgium will remain free-scoring with or without their formidable No. 9.
Sunday sees England meet Panama, as well as the second matches in Group H, where Japan face Senegal and Poland take on Colombia.