Al Khor, Qatar – Despite winning a rollercoaster match against underdogs Costa Rica, Germany have failed to advance to the Round of 16 of the World Cup in Qatar after Japan stunned Spain in the other Group E match.
Four-time champions Germany defeated Costa Rica 4-2 at Al Bayt Stadium on Thursday but the victory was bittersweet as they finished third in the group, crashing out in the group stage for a second consecutive time.
In a simultaneous match taking place at Khalifa International Stadium, Japan shockingly defeated favourites Spain 2-1, allowing both of those teams to advance at the expense of Germany and Costa Rica.
The match started sluggishly, with Costa Rica having a difficult time making it out of their end and an early goal by German forward Serge Gnabry did not help that momentum. However, a rapid-fire second half, with the lead being traded between the teams, stirred the dreams of Costa Rica fans – until Kai Havertz’s brace and Niclas Fullkrug’s goal at the end of regulation time snuffed out their hopes.
Notably, history was also made in this match as French referee Stephane Frappart became the first woman to officiate a men’s World Cup clash.