Germany knew they needed to win at Al Bayt Stadium in order to have any hope of making it out of Group E after only earning one point from their first two games.
However, despite getting the outcome they required, Japan’s controversial 2-1 victory over Spain meant Hansi Flick’s team was eliminated from the competition based on goal differential.
However, goals from Yeltsin Tejeda (58) and Juan Pablo Vargas (70) in the second half sensationally put Costa Rica in pole position to qualify for the round of 16, raising the unbelievable possibility that both Germany and Spain would lose. At first glance, Germany appeared to be headed for a comfortable three points after Serge Gnabry’s early header (10) gave them a lead.
The drama, however, did not finish there. After a brilliant double by Germany’s substitute Kai Havertz (in the 73rd and 85th minutes), Niclas Fullkrug made it 4-2 in the 89th. The four-time World Cup champions, however, were eliminated at the group stage for the second time in a row because the victory was insufficient.
Results from Thursday night indicate Group E winners. In the round of 16, Japan will take on Group F’s runner-up Croatia, while Group E’s runner-up Spain will take on Group F’s champions Morocco.
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