Germany knocked out of World Cup after extraordinary finale to Group E


Despite beating Costa Rica, Germany have been eliminated from Group E of the 2022 World Cup.

At various points in the two games, fans of Spain and Japan, as well as Costa Rica and Germany, were speculating that their country might be headed for the knockout stages.

In the first half, Spain completely played, and after Alvaro Morata’s goal, Japan somehow came back to win 2-1 and finish top of the group.

Japan’s two goals from Ritsu Dowan and Ao Tanaka came within three minutes early in the second half.

Germany beat Costa Rica 4-2 despite trailing by a point, but Japan and Spain were not enough to advance to the last 16.

“Disappointment is huge,” Germany coach Hansi Flick told the German team.

“I was disappointed in the first half and very angry at my team and how we allowed the opponent to come back,” Flick told Reuters.

“We wanted to score three or four goals in the first half, but we made mistakes. If we converted those chances, it would have been 16.”

But the race is not decided for us today. We didn’t have any quality in this tournament and that’s why we were eliminated.

Rounding out Group E, Japan will face Croatia in the next round, while Spain will play Morocco.

The night was significant for another reason – Stephanie Frappart became the first woman to referee the Men’s World Cup.

The French referee, with his assistants Newza back from Brazil and Mexico’s Karen Diaz, will officiate the match between Germany and Costa Rica in an all-female umpire.

Germany's players have left the field after failing to qualify for the last 16 of the 2022 World Cup.

Nine goals, controversial VAR decisions and the four-time World Cup winner being knocked out at the group stage just as Germany were at Russia 2018 – these two Group E games will live long in the memory.

Hours after European heavyweights Belgium were dismissed, Spain and Germany, two teams written off by most football pundits as unlikely to progress to the last 16 before the World Cup, faced Japan and Costa Rica. Cup started.

Despite those predictions, it was a night where all four teams could progress to the next level.

In the opening quarter of both games, both European teams looked like they were going through the group.

Serge Nabri’s 10th-minute header gave Germany a crucial lead as they battled to revive their hopes of victory after a shock defeat by Japan at the Al Bait Stadium.

At the Khalifa International Stadium, Morata headed in a cross from right-back Cesar Azpilicueta to give Spain the lead.

In doing so, Morata became the second player to score in Spain’s first three World Cup games after Telmo Zara in 1950.

After her goal, the two European teams sat in the qualifiers, Spain and Germany dominated the rest of the game.

But the dominance of the European teams was soon challenged – in both games the team’s situation completely changed within minutes of the second half.

As he did in the famous win over Germany, Japan coach Hajime Moriasu made good use of his substitutes and brought on Doan, whose left-footed goal brought Japan level.

Moments later, Tanaka gave Samurai Blue a shocking lead that put the team in danger.

Tanaka’s goal did not come without controversy. A VAR review revealed that the ball was not offside before Tanaka kicked the cross into the goal.

Wataru Indo celebrates with his teammates after Japan qualified for the World Cup playoffs.

Just when things looked as if they could not be offside – and they were completely offside – Costa Rica equalized with Germany’s goal, and Yelsin Tejeda’s rebound saved Manuel Neuer’s powerful effort from Kendall Waston.

But the mental math for coaches, players and fans was just beginning.

Costa Rica took the lead with a superb goal from Juan Pablo Vargas to put Germany behind.

With just over 20 minutes left in the two games, Spain and Germany – both recent World Cup winners – were threatening to go home.

A quick-fire brace from substitute Kai Havertz and a late goal from Niklas Fulkrug quickly dimmed Costa Rica’s hopes that Germany – after a rollercoaster night – could secure three points.

However, Spain thrashed Costa Rica 7-0 in their opening group game to ensure a healthy goal difference, which would now have doomed Luis Enrique’s side to exit the group and finish third behind Germany.

Germany desperately needed a goal from Spain to get back into the qualifiers. But Spain couldn’t break down a resolute Japanese defense and Shuichi never troubled Gonda with a goal, even with seven minutes added on.

Spanish coach Enrique praised his team’s performance after thanking them for the goal difference.

“I’m not happy at all. Yes, we qualified, I would have liked to have won this game. It was impossible because in five minutes Japan scored two goals… we were out, we were scattered,” Enrique said in a press conference, per Reuters.


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