FIFA World Cup 2022: Germany crash out of World Cup despite victory over Costa Rica2 min read
Germany are out of the World Cup, suffering a humiliating second straight group-stage exit on an incredible night of drama in Group E.
Hansi Flick’s side, needing a win to have any chance of qualifying, fought back to beat Costa Rica 4-2, but were knocked out on goal-difference after Japan stunned Spain 2-1 to top the group.
At one point, with Costa Rica leading, Spain were also heading out, but a late German flurry kept Luis Enrique’s side in the tournament, thanks in large part to their thumping 7-0 win over the Costa Ricans in the opening game.
Prior to their group stage exit in Russia, Germany had reached the last eight, at the very least, of every World Cup since 1954 but will fly home tomorrow having flopped at Flick’s first major tournament in charge since replacing Joachim Low last summer.
After their own upset defeat to Japan in the opening game, a 1-1 draw against Spain had breathed life back into Germany’s campaign and inside ten minutes at Al Bayt Stadium they looked on course for the last-16 as Serge Gnabry headed home from David Raum’s cross.
Progress was still dependent on Japan failing to spring another shock against Spain, but news soon filtered through of Alvaro Morata’s third goal in as many games, which opened the scoring in that game and had the Spanish keeping up their end of the bargain early on.
The chaos began soon after half-time, however, when Japan scored twice in three minutes through Ritsu Doan and Ao Tanaka to change the complexion of the group.
A nervy Germany, who had failed to build on their lead despite their first-half dominance, were pegged back by Yeltsin Tejeda and when Juan Pablo Vargas bundled home to put Costa Rica ahead 20 minutes from time, the unthinkable was on the cards, with both the 2010 winners Spain and 2014 champions Germany heading for the exit door.
Germany, though, were always dangerous, teenager Jamal Musiala having hit the post twice, and Costa Rica’s lead lasted only three minutes before Kai Havertz lifted home.
The Chelsea man scored again five minutes from time, effectively ending Costa Rica’s qualification hopes, before Fullkrug added his second of the tournament, awarded by VAR after it had initially been ruled out for offside. But Germany remained doomed, reliant on a Spanish equaliser that never came.
Japan’s win sets up a last-16 meeting with Croatia, while Spain will play surprise Group F winners Morocco.