Germany beat Costa Rica 4-2 to close out group-stage play at the 2022 World Cup on Thursday, but it wasn’t enough for Hansi Flick’s side to advance to the knockout rounds.
Ahead of matchday 3 in Group E, the simplest math was as follows: a German win, plus a Japanese loss (to Spain), would see the 2014 world champions jump from 4th to 2nd and avoid a second straight World Cup group-stage exit.
The first part of that equation seemed to be going relatively straightforward, as Serge Gnabry opened the scoring in the 10th minute. A minute later in the other game, Alvaro Morata put Spain ahead and Germany were going through as things stood. But, Japan scored twice in six minutes to start the second half and pull off another unlikely comeback, just as they did against Germany in the opener.
Then, something even more unthinkable happened: Costa Rica equalized, and then they went ahead. At that point, they were going through as runners-up. That lasted for all of three minutes, until Kai Havertz lifted the ball over Keylor Navas to make it 2-2. Havertz struck again 12 minutes later to make it 3-2, and give Germany a small glimmer of hope — that Spain might equalize and save Germany from elimination, but they never did.
In the end, Japan (6 points) advance as Group E winners, joined by Spain (4) in the round of 16.
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How to watch Costa Rica vs Germany live, stream link and start time
Kick off: 2pm ET, Thursday (December 1)
Stadium: Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor
TV channels en Español: Telemundo
Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)
Key storylines, players to watch closely
For Germany, it’s been a struggle to finish scoring chances rather than waste loads of expected goals (3.09 vs Japan, and 1.29, double that of Spain). 26 shots, 5 big chances nearly 700 passes translated to just one goal against the Samurai Blue, and they were made to pay for their transgressions. Hansi Flick is undoubtedly already under immense pressure ahead of Thursday’s game, through very little fault of his own.
As for Costa Rica, it seemed beyond impossible that they could be in such a position heading into the third game. Even in the victory over Japan, they manufactured all of 0.11 expected goals on 4 shots attempted. Win, lose or draw, that’s paltry offensive output that you might be able to overcome and steal one result at a World Cup, but for most sides it proves to be their undoing. They couldn’t it again, could they?
Costa Rica quick facts
Current FIFA world ranking: 31
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 5
How they qualified: Qualified from CONCACAF via interconfederation playoffs
Coach: Luis Fernando Suarez
Key players: Keylor Navas, Joel Campbell, Celso Borges, Bryan Ruiz
Germany quick facts
Current FIFA world ranking: 11
World Cup titles: 4 (1954, 1974, 1990, 2014)
World Cup appearances: 20
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from UEFA (1st place)
Coach: Hansi Flick
Key players: Manuel Neuer, Antonio Rudiger, Joshua Kimmich, Leon Goretzka
Germany out of World Cup after Group E finishes in absolute chaos originally appeared on NBCSports.com