The famous adage of Gary Lineker, “football is played 11 against 11, and in the end, Germany wins”, is now definitely a thing of the past. And the Mannschaft, which is only a shadow of its predecessors, has a lot to worry about two years before its Euro at home.
Because even if they had beaten the “Ticos”, the Germans would have been eliminated anyway by Japan’s victory against the Spaniards (2-1). Coach Hansi Flick’s men actually lost their World Cup in the first match, with their defeat against “Samourai Blue” (2-1).
This elimination is, for the quadruple world champions, an earthquake of gigantic magnitude. Since its return to the international scene in 1954, Germany had been the most regular nation in the World Cup, even more than Brazil: in sixteen tournaments until 2014, the Mannschaft collected four titles, as many lost finals , and four more semi-finals and four quarter-finals.
Then the fall. In 2018 in Russia, with the first elimination in the first round of a post-war World Cup. On his bench, Hansi Flick went through all the feelings on Thursday evening, like the German supporters present at the Al Bayt stadium, over an evening with an incredible scenario.
Unsurprisingly, Costa Rica first parked the bus in front of their goal, hoping that the German offensive waves would break there.
But the Germans set the necessary pace. And after three clear chances from the start, Serge Gnabry found the opening in the 10th minute, with a header from a cross from his side David Raum (1-0). And as Spain scored a goal a minute later, the Germans found themselves through, with still 75 minutes to play. In the first period, Germany dominated outrageously, with 70% possession, a team of “Ticos” which almost never entered the 30 meters of Manuel Neuer.
But faced with a Costa Rica who returned after the break with the intention of finally playing football, Manuel Neuer’s teammates suddenly seemed to lose the thread, victims of an incomprehensible feverishness behind, when they had the game well in hand. . Yeltsin Tejeda (58th), then Juan Pablo Vargas who forced Neuer to score against his side (70th) punished the Germans to take the lead 2-1, thus qualifying “virtually” Costa Rica a few minutes.
The entry into play of striker Niclas Füllkrug, the man who had scored against Spain, helped put the Germans back in the running. After two shots from Musiala on the uprights, Kai Havertz (75th, 85th) scored twice and restored the advantage to his team. Füllkrug spiced up the addition (89th).
Glued to their cellphones, the German supporters had only to hope for a miracle, in the form of a Spanish equalizer in the other game. which never arrived.
This match will also go down in football history for having been the first in the World Cup led by a woman: the French referee Stéphanie Frappart was almost invisible all evening, which is undoubtedly a good sign for her.