When the screen at the Al Bayt stadium, in Al Khor, showed the classification of Group E of the World Cup, 3 minutes into the second half, an atmosphere of apprehension hit the German players during the game against Costa Rica.
At that moment, Japan had just tied the duel with Spain and, even with the partial victory of the Germans, the four-time champions were being eliminated.
Before they could collect themselves, another thud. Three minutes later, Japan turned on the Spaniards at Khalifa Stadium in Rayyan.
Germany no longer depended on its own strength to advance to the round of 16. And saw the situation get even worse in a 25-minute break, when Tejeda and Vargas turned to the Costa Ricans, respectively, at 13 and 25.
Hahavertz still managed to reverse the score again, at 28 and at 40, and Füllkrug, extended in additions, but the 4 to 2 was not enough for the Germans. In Group E, Japan and Spain qualified. The Japanese took first place thanks to a 2-1 victory over the Spaniards.
In the round of 16, the Asian team will face Croatia, on Monday (5), while the Europeans will face Morocco on Tuesday (6).
For the second time in history, the four-time champions did not make it past the group stage. The Germans repeated a negative mark from Italy. Champions in 2006, the Italians also fell out of the first round in 2010 and 2014.
In the last two editions, the Azzurra did not even manage to qualify.
Since winning the fourth championship in Brazil, when they defeated Argentina in Maracanã, the Germans live their worst moments in the tournament. In 2018, for the first time, they didn’t even make it past the group stage. In Qatar, again in an unprecedented way, he lost the first two matches and said goodbye with just one victory.
As soon as the ball rolled in Al Khor, the match went down in history as the first of a World Cup with refereeing made up of women. The duel was refereed by the French Stéphanie Frappart, with the Brazilian Neuza Back and the Mexican Karen Diaz as assistants.
In the midst of an edition heavily criticized for being held in a country that violates women’s rights, their presence in the duel has a strong meaning.
Neuza played in the first half in Costa Rica’s attack. In the first 15 minutes, he had less work than the Mexican, as the Germans left almost no space for the opponent to score the first goal.
The pressure paid off in the 10th minute, when David Raum crossed from the left and put the ball over Gnabry’s head for the number 10 to just deflect towards the goal.
Just missing more aim to expand the scoreboard before the break. In all, the Germans had 13 more attempts, four of which were very dangerous for Keylor Navas.
Cornered and trying to exploit counterattacks, Costa Rica had just one chance in the opening 45 minutes. But it almost drew, taking advantage of failures by Raum and Rudiger that left Fuller face to face with Neuer. But the author of the winning goal against Japan, this time, kicked over the goal.
After the break, it was more balanced, with both teams creating good chances. Mainly when some information about another group match arrived at the stadium.
Taking advantage of a moment of despondency for the Germans, Costa Rica came to turn the score around. First, he tied with Tejeda, at 13. Then, he turned with Vargas, at 25.
To at least not leave Qatar without a victory, the Germans returned to fight in the match. Three minutes later, they managed to equalize, with Kai Havertz, who also scored at 40. Füllkrug closed the account in stoppage time, but it was too late.
It was only worth the honor of the team.
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