Germany has been officially eliminated from the 2022 Qatar World Cup, knocked out in the group stages for the second straight time, despite beating Costa Rica 4-2 in its final group match.
The four-time World Cup winners suffered a nightmare result after finishing third in Group E due to Japan’s controversial 2-1 win over 2010 champions Spain.
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The final two matches in the ‘group of death’ both produced their fair share of drama in two hours of football ‘madness’, which resembled a game of snakes and ladders.
All four teams, at various stages throughout the 90-odd minutes of action, were both out and in to the Round of 16. It truly was an “absurd morning of football”.
Germany win, but knocked out in wild day | 03:55
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Both Germany and Spain were well placed to finish top two in Group E and advance to the knockout stages of the World Cup, courtesy of 1-0 leads at half-time of their respective games against Costa Rica and Japan.
Cue a grandstand finish for the ages.
48’ — Japan leapfrogged Germany into second place on the live Group E ladder when substitute Ritsu Doan scored an equaliser during their match against group leaders Spain.
51’ — Things got even sweeter for Japan three minutes later when Ao Tanaka controversially scored from point-blank range — after other half-time sub Kaoru Mitoma cut the ball back from the line. However, it was a nervous wait for Japanese players and fans, as the VAR system took several minutes to confirm the ball had not gone out before Mitoma’s touch. Wild celebrations erupted when the goal was finally upheld, giving the Samurai Blue a 2-1 lead and possession of top spot in the group.
59’ — Germany’s hopes of avoiding a group stage elimination took another blow as Costa Rica’s Yeltsin Tejeda slammed home a rebound goal off German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer to level the score 1-1.
70’ — Things took another surprising twist shortly after when Costa Rica’s Juan Pablo Vargas tapped a free kick past Neuer to make it 2-1 and put his side ahead of Spain on the Group E live ladder, meaning Costa Rica would instead be advancing to the Round of 16. The goal was later recorded as an own goal. The previous 24 minutes of utter chaos had left football minnows Japan and Cost Rica poised to complete an extraordinary double victory and all-time World Cup boilover, which would see them progress to the knockout stages in Qatar at the expense of traditional powerhouses Spain and Germany.
73’ — Fortunately for Spain, their turn in the World Cup elimination firing line wouldn’t last long as Chelsea forward Kai Havertz scored an equaliser for Germany just three minutes later to allow Spain to reclaim second place over Costa Rica on goal difference.
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85’ and 89’ — Desperate to save their World Cup campaign, Germany would score another two goals through Havertz and Niclas Füllkrug. However they the Germans need Spain to do them a favour and score a late equaliser to send Japan packing.
FULL-TIME — Agony and ecstasy. Japan beats Spain 2-1 and Germany beats Costa Rica 4-2. Despite their comeback victory, Germany still finish in third place behind Spain on the Group E live ladder, thanks to a significant disparity in goal difference. German players and fans are left visibly distraught following their team’s heartbreaking elimination, while the ecstatic Japanese celebrate the team’s historic first-place group finish.