Germany crash out of World Cup 2022 at group stage as Japan cause huge upset in Qatar – ASAL SPORTS

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Hansi Flick’s Germany team failed to get what they needed despite beating Costa Rica, with Japan beating Spain in the night’s other game in their topsy-turvy group

Germany sensationally crashed out of the World Cup despite beating Costa Rica at Al Bayt Stadium, with Japan stunning Spain to send Der Team home at the group stage – just like in 2018.

Hansi Flick’s team knew nothing less than a victory could send them into the last 16, but Japan’s win in the other game meant they faced the improbable task of making up seven goals on Spain. Serge Gnabry put them ahead at the break, but goals from Yeltsin Tejeda and Juan Pablo Vargas briefly put Costa Rica into the qualification spots.

Luis Fernando Suarez’s team couldn’t hold on, though, and a Germany side who hit the post several times eventually completed their turnaround. A Kai Havertz double put Flick’s men back in charge, before Niclas Fullkrug scored his second goal in as many games to make it 4-2, but it was too little, too late.

When Flick’s men first took the lead, it looked like a case of how many. Instead, though, the CONCACAF side found a response in a similar manner to Japan in Germany’s first group game, with Keysher Fuller stinging the palms of Manuel Neuer before levelling through Tejeda.

Jamal Musiala and Antonio Rudiger both hit the woodwork in pursuit of another goal, and Musiala then did so for a second time. Instead, though, it was the underdogs who scored the game’s third goal, through Vargas, after a VAR check.[-under-the-queens-umbrella-ep-16-thai-sub

Fullkrug was one of the players introduced in the second period, looking to add to the crucial equaliser he scored against Spain. The striker had a golden chance to put his team back in front, only to fire an effort into the face of goalkeeper Keylor Navas from point-blank range.

While all this was going on, the other group game between Japan and Spain took a number of twists and turns of its own. Alvaro Morata had put Luis Enrique’s side in front at the break, but they too were hit by a quickfire double.

Japan struck through Ritsu Doan and Ao Tanaka, making for a frantic end to the game. Tanaka’s effort was a controversial one, with Spain convinced the ball went out of play in the build-up.

During the brief period when Costa Rica led, Spain were on their way out of the tournament. Instead, though, they entered added time knowing they held a goal difference advantage over Germany which would see them through.

It is the second successive tournament in which Germany have fallen at the first hurdle. The 2014 champions were beaten twice in the 2018 group stage, with Mexico and South Korea securing victories to send them home.

This time, though, the damage was done before the final game. Germany missed chances during a 2-1 defeat against Japan, and their draw with Spain meant they went into their final game knowing their fate depended on the outcome elsewhere.

Japan will take on Croatia in the last 16, with the 2018 World Cup finalists surviving a number of scares before earning the point they needed against Belgium earlier in the day. Spain, meanwhile, will face Morocco after the African nation beat Canada to top their group.

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The conclusion of World Cup Group E produced several memorable moments as Japan and Spain squeaked through to the Round of 16 with Germany and Costa Rica eliminated

The 2022 World Cup has exploded into life. All the drama, the jeopardy, the jubilation and the agony – all four of Group E’s nations experienced all these emotions across an unforgettable two hours.

It was a fitting conclusion to a group which kickstarted with Japan’s shock comeback victory over Germany and Spain’s seven-goal demolition of Costa Rica. The Central American nation’s shock win over Japan had blown the group open, and Germany had kept their hopes alive with a draw against Spain.

It was all on the line going into the final games with Spain leading the group on four points, one point ahead of both Japan and Costa Rica, with a three-point advantage on Germany – over whom they had a vastly superior goal difference.

Despite the delicate situation, it initially appeared that the two European giants would progress relatively serenely. In the tenth minute, Serge Gnabry gave Germany the lead over Costa Rica and two minutes later, Alvaro Morata put Spain in front against Japan.

That was how it stood at half-time, as Hansi Flick’s Germany missed multiple opportunities to extend their lead while Spain appeared to be in complete control. Japan made a double change at the break and within a minute of the restart, one of those substitutes – forward Ritsu Doan equalised for Japan.

Spain were rattled, having let the game drift and their concentration levels had dropped. Six minutes later, remarkably, they were behind. Ao Tanaka scored from point-blank range after the ball had been cut back from the edge of the area.

Initially, it had appeared that the ball had initially gone out of play and several tense minutes passed before it was adjudged that the ball had, by the slenderest of millimetres, not entirely left the field of play.

That was bad news for Spain but even worse for Germany, who knew that only a seven-goal victory over Costa Rica could save them if Japan won. Within minutes, that remote possibility was extinguished as Yeltsin Tejeda – earning his 75th cap for Costa Rica – picked the most remarkable moment to score his first international goal.

Three goals across two games in the space of 13 minutes had changed the group entirely; from Spain and Germany progressing, Japan were now in the box seat with Costa Rica one goal away from eliminating the nation who had defeated them by seven goals just 12 days earlier.

12 minutes later and the most incredulous moment of the evening arrived: Juan Pablo Vargas giving Costa Rica the lead against Germany – after the European giants had rattled the woodwork three times. That would not only mean the 2014 winners would be crashing out, but 2010 winners Spain too. There were 20, nail-biting minutes remaining for both Japan and Costa Rica to hold on to their remarkable turnarounds.

Chelsea forward Kai Havertz was introduced by Germany and promptly netted twice to turn the game on its head, with Costa Rica’s remarkable hopes extinguished in a brutal turnaround. Niclas Fullkrug added a fourth in injury time, as Germany won and waited.

The entirety of the German nation was now praying on an equaliser from Spain, but Luis Enrique’s side had lost their way. Dominating possession but unable to break Japan’s low-block, they were restricted to long-range shots. Japan held on and secured one of the greatest moments in their nation’s football history.

Former England international goalkeeper Karen Bardsley told BBC Sport: “It was chaos. It was end-to-end stuff between Costa Rica and Germany, it was absolute chaos everywhere. At the end of the day it’s a story of chances not taken. Football can be really, really cruel but also really awesome.”

Bardsley added: “Germany didn’t deserve to go through. There were moments of beautiful football but ultimately they haven’t been consistent through the group stages.”

For Thomas Muller, Spain’s failure couldn’t be ignored. “It is unbelievably bitter for us because our result would have been enough,” Muller said. “It’s a feeling of powerlessness.” He added that it was probably his last game for his country, declaring: “If that was my last game for Germany, it was a tremendous pleasure.”

Hansi Flick added: “There are so many reasons why we are out but I am not looking to find excuses. I don’t care about different teams, it is all up to us. Unfortunately, there were a lot of individual mistakes and they made me very angry.”

Spain boss Luis Enrique meanwhile hadn’t been quite as aware as perhaps he should have been that La Roja were, at one point, on the verge of heading home. “We were out? I didn’t know. If I’d realised, I’d probably have had a heart attack!”

His words concluded the most remarkable day of drama that had already seen FIFA’s second-ranked team Belgium crash out of the tournament. It was a high-octane night of seemingly never-ending nerves and drama. Why, oh why, are FIFA ditching this format to switch to three-team groups?

The World Cup remains the greatest sporting event on earth and that is because of the range of emotions, from elation to heartbreak. Bring on the knockouts.

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