Footy Times

Germany repeat 2018 with group stage exit

A scrappy 4-2 win against Costa Rica was too little and too late for the European giants

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Germany defeated Costa Rica 4-2 with two goals from Kai Havertz on Thursday, but Spain’s loss to Japan in the other Group E match eliminated the four-time champions from the World Cup before the round of 16.

Germany finished third in the standings, behind Spain by goal differential, with Japan claiming the top spot after their 2-1 victory over La Roja. Japan will face Croatia in the round of 16, while Spain will face Morocco.

On a night of nonstop drama in the desert near Doha, Serge Gnabry scored an early goal to give Germany a 1-0 lead over Costa Rica at halftime. However, after dominating the first half, Germany was unable to add to their lead.

Hansi Flick’s squad needed to win to have any hope of avoiding a second-consecutive elimination from the group stage, but found themselves trailing when Yeltsin Tejeda and Juan Pablo Vargas scored close-range goals to give Costa Rica an improbable 2-1 lead.

“In the first half I was disappointed and very angry at my team and how we allowed the opponent to come back,” Flick said after the match. “We wanted to score three or four goals in the first half, but then we made mistakes.

“If we had converted those chances, 16 of them. But the tournament was not decided today for us. We did not have any efficiency at this tournament and that is why we were eliminated”

Jamal Musiala twice hit the post in the opening minutes of the second half as the group rankings flashed on the Al Bayt stadium’s massive video board.

Tejeda blasted the ball past Manuel Neuer 13 minutes after the resumption of play, after he had saved Kendall Waston’s header. Neuer was powerless to prevent the goal.

Then, in the 70th minute, Vargas bundled the ball across the line to put Costa Rica in ahead.

Havertz came off the bench to score twice for Germany to give them the lead, and Niclas Fullkrug scored their fourth goal, but Spain’s loss against Japan sealed the destiny of Flick’s squad, who finished with four points.

It was the first time in Germany’s historic World Cup history that they failed to win either of their first two group matches — a 2-1 loss to Japan and a 1-1 draw against Spain — and despite securing a victory in their last match, they will exit Qatar with lowered spirits.

Stephanie Frappart, Neuza Back, and Karen Diaz became the first women to referee a men’s World Cup game.


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