The twists and turns at the ongoing World Cup in Qatar continued Thursday night with another big team, Germany, crashing out of the tournament.
Though the Germans finished strongly with a 4-2 victory over Costa Rica , it was not enough to keep them in contention following the shock 2-1 win recorded by Japan in the other Group E tie.
With the Blue Samurai finishing top.of Group E, they would face Croatia in the Round of 16 while the rave of the moment Morocco who finished top in Group D will battle Spain for an historic spot in the quarter final.
It was an emotional night for the Germans; especially for Thomas Muller who could not take his country to a knockout berth in what was his last World Cup appearance.
The Germans started well no doubt but some clumsiness in their defence put them in a disadvantaged situation.
Serge Gnabry scored for the Germans at exactly 10 minutes into the first half to see Die Mannschaft ending the first half with a lead.
But two-quickfire goals from Costa Rica’s Yeltsin Tejeda and Manuel Neur’s own goal put some pressure on the Germans who reciprocated with Kai Harvetz’s brace and Niclas Fullkrug’s goal late into the game.
Germany came prepared for the final group game knowing they needed a victory to stand a chance to qualify for the next round. However, the Costa Ricans were yet to forget their 2006 ordeal in the hands of the Die Mannschaft.
Two minutes into the game, 19-year-old Jamal Musiala put Costa Rica captain and goalkeeper, Keylor Navas, to a spot for his first save of the night that was parried to a corner.
Musiala, after dazzling past two Costa Rica defenders, passed to Thomas Muller who released the swerving ball to Leon Goretzka who then fired wide in the seven minutes. Two minutes later, Muller missed what could have been Germany’s opener with the Bayern Munich’s player header going wide.
But the Die Mannschaft did not wait too long before Serge Gnarby broke the deadlock with a header to David Ruam’s left flank cross in the 10th minute.
Four minutes later, Raum’s cross couldn’t connect to Muller’s attempted header. Meanwhile, the Germans continued to dominate the game for another 15 minutes before Joel Campell missed Bryan Oviedo’s cross in the 29th minute.
In the 35th minute, Joshua Kimmich’s outside shot was saved by Navas and Gnabry’s curling shot went wide four minutes later.
But before the first half curtain was drawn, Costa Rica’s chance for an equaliser from a clumsy defending from Rudiger gave way to Fuller who failed to make his one-on-one count against Manuer Neuer.
The second half started on a bright note for the Tricolour who were desperately seeking for an equaliser.
Costa Rica got their first shot on target in the second half with Joel Campell’s effort blocked by Neuer in the 52nd minute.
But the relentless Tricolour later salvaged the first half lead with Yeitsin Tejeda’s header to a pullout from Neuer four minutes later.
It then became a rollercoaster of events for the Germans who tried twice to get ahead of the Costa Ricans. Firstly, Musiala’s well worked shot hit the crossbar, then, Antonio Ridiger’s sliding to Kimich’s cross went sideways all within two minutes after the hour mark.
In the 68th minute, Kai Harvetz’s shot from Musiala’s effort hit the crossbar for Germany’s second consecutive failed goal attempt.
But while the Germans were busy trying to create offensive attempts, they suffered the second blow from Costa Rica after Vargas’ flick kept Neuer hanging in the air for an own goal in the 70th minute.
Three minutes later, Harvertz gave Germany some lifeline in the game with a tap-in over Navas from Nicklas Fullkrug’s pass.
The Chelsea winger later scored a brace five minutes before stoppage time to put Germany in front.
Meanwhile, the slim lead was not enough for the Germans who needed more goals. They added another in the 89th minute from Fullkrug’s finish to Leroy Sane’s pass.
At the cusp of the game, Musiala failed to register a goal in the night after his shot was saved by Navas.
Samurai caused upset
Japan shocked many with another upset after coming back in the second half to defeat Spain 2-1.
The game seemed to be in the favour of the Spaniards with Alvaro Morata scoring an 11th minute goal. But while it was looking like Spain and Germany would qualify after ending the first half with a lone goal lead each, Japan bounced back as usual with two quick-fire goals in the second half from Ritsu Doan and Ao Tanaka.
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