(VIDEO) Is Toni Kroos the missing piece in Germany’s Euro puzzle

One of the best No 8s in the world even at 34 years of age, the playmaker showed the world exactly what the German national team had missed in their snakebit 2022 World Cup campaign where they couldn’t even get out of the group stage.

Germany’s Toni Kroos speaks with assistant referee Benjamin Pages during a VAR referral after Germany’s Ilkay Gundogan was fouled by Scotland’s Ryan Porteous. (Reuters)

‘Let’s rock.” Thats what German icon Toni Kroos told Julian Nagelsmann after the former Bayern Munich and current Germany coach convinced the midfielder to return to the national team. Kroos had announced his retirement in 2021 after a heartbreaking 0-2 loss in the Round of 16 against England in the previous Euro.

“It took a period of time to convince him because he wanted to know what we’ll change in the future. He said he’ll only be part of the team when he feels we can win, so he wanted to know how we’ll change the team. Then he said he’ll be part of it and let’s rock,” Nagelsmann said a day before the opening match of Euro 2024 between Germany and Scotland.

The impact of the German sniper was immediately seen in the opening game of the tournament against Scotland. Kroos sprayed in a cross-field pass to Joshua Kimmich who in turn fed Florian Wirtz and the Bayer Leverkusen wonderkid scored the first of Die Mannschaft’s 5 goals.

Germany’s Toni Kroos shakes hands with coach Julian Nagelsmann after being substituted. (Reuters)One of the best No 8s in the world even at 34 years of age, the playmaker showed the world exactly what the German national team had missed in their snakebit 2022 World Cup campaign where they couldn’t even get out of the group stage.

The player who just recently won his 5th UCL title with Real Madrid, controlled the midfield with authority as he fizzed in precise passes from the centre to his teammates with the hapless Scottish midfield failing to shut him down.

Often criticized due to his apparent lack of pace, Kroos has always relied on his composure on the ball as well as his range of passing, precisely what Germany needed in this Euro. They have the attacking talent but they needed a cool head in the centre who is capable in both defensive and offensive duties.

He is the proverbial jigsaw piece that the Germans needed, a big brother figure acting as an anchor in the heart of a relatively balanced midfield. It says a lot about the stability he provided as Germany conceded a goal just 7 minutes after his 80th minute substitution.

Germany’s Manuel Neuer, Toni Kroos and Thomas Muller celebrate after the match. (Reuters)A player who has always kept it simple in the heart of the field, Kroos started his career in Greifswalder and then Hansa Rostock before he moved to Bayern Munich’s youth academy when he was 16.

After initially struggling for game time at the German giants, Kroos went for a loan spell at Bayer Leverkusen and after he returned to his parent club, he became an integral cog in the midfield, winning 3 Bundesliga titles.

His career would take flight in 2014 when he joined Real Madrid after winning the World Cup with Germany in which he scored twice and assisted 4 times, even playing a vital part in the historic 7-1 thrashing to Brazil.

A German player moving away from Bayern Munich to try his hand at some other league was something of a rarity in those days but Kroos had to leave the Bavarians, where he felt undervalued by the hierarchy if reports are to be believed.

Germany’s Toni Kroos applauds fans after being substituted. (Reuters)In Real, he hit the ground running, forming a lethal partnership in the middle with Luka Modric and Casemiro as the Los Blancos won the Champions League in back-to-back 3 seasons.

He has often expressed his desire to end his club footballing career in the whites of Real and he did just that this year after helping Real to their 15th UCL title.

They say in sports, there are almost always no fairytale endings but Kroos would look to complete his story with two as he aims to win the Euro with Germany, the only trophy that has eluded him in a legendary career so far. Cherish him while you still can because Friday night was the first step towards a perfect swansong.

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