Despite 4-2 win, Germany out of Qatar World Cup

DOHA, 2 Dec 2022:

Germany have failed to reach the knockout stage for a second consecutive World Cup, as their 4-2 winning margin over Costa Rica yesterday was not enough to make up for their lack of scoring punch in the first two matches.

Die Mannschaft, who are second only to Brazil in World Cup titles with four, finished third in Group E with 4 points – the same as Spain – but La Roja advanced to the round of 16 thanks to goal difference of 6, compared with just 1 for Germany.

The Germans jumped out to the lead in the 10th minute with a goal by Serge Gnabry and should have put the match out of reach by the break, but only four of their 12 first-half shots were on target.

A victory for Costa Rica combined with a Spanish loss would see the Central American side advance and La Roja go home, but it took German sub Kai Havertz just three minutes to shatter the Ticos’ dreams.

Energised by scoring his first World Cup goal, the Chelsea man added a second with five minutes left in regulation to give Germany a 3-2 edge.

Niclas Fullkrug stretched the lead to 4-2 in the 89th minute, but it wasn’t enough.

Spain, who began their World Cup 2022 campaign with a 7-0 drubbing of Costa Rica, ended up needing help from Germany to secure their spot in the knockout stage.

When Costa Rica initially led the Germans 2-1, La Roja trailed eventual group winners Japan by the same margin – a result that would have seen Spain eliminated.

But Die Mannschaft rebounded to down the Ticos 4-2, allowing Spain to advance to the round of 16 as the second-place team in Group E despite their defeat to the Blue Samurai.

Japan will face Croatia, the 2018 World Cup runners-up, in the next round, while Spain are to square off with Group F winners Morocco.

Belgium crashed out of the World Cup after a goalless draw with Croatia at Ahman bin Ali stadium.

The star-studded Red Devils, who are ranked second in the world and came third at the last World Cup four years ago, had several chances to get the goal that could have seen them qualify, with second half substitute Romelu Lukaku hitting the post and twice missing from inside the six-yard box.

While Belgium had their chances, in the end they were deservedly eliminated from the tournament after only winning one match and scoring one goal in the group.

The Croats also thought they had earned a first half penalty, but it was overruled by VAR for a questionable offside decision, one of many that have littered the competition so far.

The 0-0 draw means Croatia finished second in group F, behind surprise winners Morocco, who beat already-eliminated Canada 2-1.