Germany crashed out of the FIFA World Cup
for the second tournament in a row at Qatar 2022 despite winning their last
group game 4-2 against Costa Rica. Late goals from Kai Havertz and Niclas
Fullkrug helped the four-time champions avoid another shock defeat in the
group, but all three points were not enough to keep them from being eliminated
before the knockout stages.
Japan’s victory against Spain left Hansi
Flick’s side rooted in third position on the table, missing out on the final 16
to their continental rivals due to an inferior goal difference.
Germany needed all three points and other
results to go their way in their final group fixture against Costa Rica and the
2014 champions started on the front foot, taking the lead inside ten minutes.
Serge Gnabry’s glancing header from David Raum’s cross put the Germans in
front, and Hansi Flick’s side largely controlled the proceedings throughout the
first period, with Goretzka and Gnarby going close to finding a second.
The only scare came in the dying moments
before half-time when Manuel Neuer had to produce a reaction save to deny
Keysher Fuller. Germany were temporarily in the knockout stages at the break,
with Spain also winning 1-0 over Japan in the other Group E fixture. However,
the Asian side scored two quick goals after the break to push the four-time
champions to number three in the group and their problems deepened in the 57th
minute when Costa Rica drew level through Yeltsin Tejeda.
In a dramatic series of events, Germany
struck the post on three occasions in ten minutes following the equaliser
before Costa Rica scored at the end against the run of play via an own goal
from Manuel Neuer. However, there was another twist in the tale as Germany
produced an instant response in the final 20 minutes to put the game to bed.
Substitute Kai Havertz drew the scores
level three minutes later from Niclas Fullkrug’s flick-on before adding a third
five minutes before the final whistle, arriving in the box at the perfect time
to tap in Serge Gnabry’s cross. Germany added a fourth through Niclas Fullkrug
before the final whistle but succumbed to another disappointing group stage exit
following Japan’s miraculous 2-1 victory over Spain at the Khalifa
Germany finished in third place with four
points, while Spain qualify due to their superior goal difference and will play
Morocco in the round of 16. Japan, meanwhile, emerged as group winners with six
points and will take on 2018 finalists Croatia in the first knockout round.