Austrian Kroell (pictured) started 48 points ahead of Didier Cuche with another Swiss Beat Feuz also in contention.
But Cuche, starting 18th, pushed too hard on the top section in the final speed race of his career and spurned the chance of a fifth downhill title, finishing 17th.
Kroell then went into sixth which meant Feuz could claim the Crystal Globe with victory.
But the 25-year-old finished second, 0.57 seconds behind the time of the Norwegian winner, to finish just seven points behind Kroell in the discipline standings.
Feuz needed two of the final four starters to finish lower than him but higher than Kroell to take a share of the crown but that did not occur as Hannes Reichelt completed the podium.
"It was a tough day-to-day battle and even if I was hoping to do better today, I never lost faith," said Kroell who finished second in the standings in 2009 and was third last year.
"To win the downhill globe at home after skiers like Hermann Maier or Michael Walchhofer, it was a goal, but now it's a dream," he added.
Feuz extended his overall World Cup lead over Marcel Hirscher to 135 points with three races of the season remaining. Svindal could still claim the Crystal Globe, he is now third on 1131 points, 199 behind the Swiss leader.
"I crashed yesterday so it was good to have another try today. I kind of wish that the season was longer now," said the Norwegian, overall World Cup champion in 2007 and 2009.
"I had not won a downhill since 2009 so it's also a relief. I hope it goes the same way tomorrow.
"But Feuz is my favourite to win the World Cup," he added.
Cuche, who retires at the end of the season, said: "This is not at all what I had imagined my last downhill to be. I just skied it wrong. Now I just want to forget about it and focus on tomorrow's Super-G."