Four-time champion Germany sensationally crashed out of the 2022 World Cup despite a 4-2 victory over Costa Rica in their final Group E match on Thursday. Spain’s 1-2 loss to Japan in another Group E encounter condemned Germany to a second-straight World Cup exit before the round of 16. The Germans had made it past the first round in each of the previous 16 tournaments since 1954. Germany finished third in the standings, behind Spain on goal difference. Japan finished as the table-toppers following their win over La Roja. Japan will be facing Croatia in the Last 16 while Spain will face Morocco.
In a must-win game, Serge Gnabry scored an early opener in the 10th minute to give Germany a lead over Costa Rica. Despite dominating the game from the start the Germans were unable to double their lead over the Central Americans in the first half.
Germany suddenly found themselves behind as Costa Rica roared back in the second half. Yeltsin Tejeda scored the equalizer in the 58th minute. Keysher Fuller came racing down the right and floated an inviting cross into the box. Kendall Waston smashed a header at German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, who can only parry it. Tejeda followed up to score from a close range.
A few moments later, Costa Rica doubled their lead with the help of a free kick. Joel Campbell lofted a high ball into the box. Kendall Waston produced a header across the goal and it fell for Pablo Vargas, who poked it past Neuer with an outstretched boot. Three minutes later, Germany leveled the score through Kai Havertz. Niclas Fullkrug flicked the ball to Havertz, who lifted a shot over Keylor Navas and into the back of the net.
A few minutes later, Fullkrug connected nicely but Navas threw himself in the way and produced a brilliant save from point-blank range. However, the Germans hammered Costa Rica by scoring their third. Gnabry flashed a cross to the far post from the right flank, setting up Havertz to score his second goal of the game.
Fullkrug scored Germany’s fourth in the 89th minute of the game. Joshua Kimmich played a lovely quarterback-style ball from deep to Leroy Sane, who chested it down for Fullkrug to lash home.
For the first time in their World Cup history, Germany had failed to win any of their first two group matches. They will be departing Qatar with dropped heads.