Germany crash out of World Cup despite win over Costa Rica

Germany crash out of World Cup: Despite defeating Costa Rica 4-2, the four-time defending champions Germany have been eliminated from the World Cup group stage in Qatar. The elimination occurred on Thursday as a result of Japan’s 2-1 victory over Spain in the other Group E match, which gave those two teams a spot in the Round of 16.

Germany and Spain both took early leads in their games, results which would have put Hansi Flick’s side through. But it all changed in the second half, with Japan scoring two quick goals against the Spaniards.

Costa Rica also equalized against Germany who then hit the post three times before Juan Vargas put the Central Americans ahead. That would have put Costa Rica through at the expense of Spain but substitute Kai Havertz scored twice and Niclas Fullkrug got another goal.

It is the second World Cup in a row in which Germany have been eliminated in the group stage. Germany finished third in Group E, behind Spain on goal differential, while Japan topped the group after defeating Spain 2-1. Japan will face Croatia in the round of 16, while Spain will face Morocco.

Thursday’s game was also historic since it was the first men’s World Cup game to be officiated by a woman. Three of the four match officials were female: Stephanie Frappart of France, Neuza Back of Brazil, and Karen Diaz Medina of Mexico.

Germany crash out of World Cup

“In the first half I was disappointed and very angry at my team and how we allowed the opponent to come back,” said Germany coach Hansi Flick.

“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.”

Germany were on the verge of elimination prior to the match, having lost their opening group match to Japan and then drawing 1-1 with Spain.

Germany, with seven Bayern Munich players in their starting lineup and needing just a victory to avoid a repetition of their shocking first-round loss from the 2018 World Cup, pushed forward immediately in search of an early goal to calm their nerves. In the second minute, Jamal Musiala cut in from the left and challenged goalkeeper Keylor Navas with a low shot.

Initially, there was one-way traffic that was unmarked. Thomas Muller should have done much better when Joshua Kimmich picked him open, but he was unable to keep his header on target. Serge Gnabry, however, scored with his glancing header in the 10th minute to put Germany in front.

Costa Rica, who needed at least a point to have a chance to progress, rarely crossed into the German half, with only about 25 percent possession in the first 45 minutes. Germany were eager to make amends for their bad tournament start, with teenager Jamal Musiala repeatedly taking on the entire Costa Rican defence. The chances kept coming but the Germans, as in the game against Japan, struggled to convert them.

Keysher Fuller nearly capitalized on a double defensive failure, but Manuel Neuer, whose 19th appearance at the tournament was a World Cup record for goalkeepers, deflected his effort over the crossbar. As the group rankings flashed on the big screen at Al Bayt Stadium, Germany felt anxious as Musiala hit the post twice in the opening minutes of the second half.

Neuer, however, could do nothing 13 minutes after the restart when Costa Rica’s Yeltsin Tejeda thundered the ball past him on the rebound after he had first saved a Kendall Waston header. In the 70th minute, Juan Pablo Vargas appeared to have scored to put Costa Rica in lead, but the goal was ultimately credited as an own goal by Neuer. Substitute Havertz scored twice in 12 minutes, and Fullkrug scored once in stoppage time, but it was too little, too late, and Spain advanced with a superior goal differential.

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