Germany’s World Cup campaign was saved by Niclas Fullkrug’s late goal against Spain at the Al Bayt Stadium.
After their shocking loss to Japan, Germany won their first point of the 2022 World Cup after substitute Fullkrug scored past Unai Simon.
Germany played well against a powerful Spain team after Hansi Flick made changes. In the second half, Jamal Musiala forced a great save from Unai Simon and Antonio Rudiger had a goal disallowed for offside.
Morata’s close-range flick beat Manuel Neuer early in the second half to score for Spain. After Musiala’s turn, Fullkrug ended strongly and Germany won.
Germany is last in Group E but could have been worse. Japan would have been eliminated if they hadn’t lost to Costa Rica earlier in the day.
This was the only group-stage game involving two World Cup champions, and it felt like a heavyweight match. Both teams played from the back. Both teams attempted high-pressing.
Quality and mistakes occurred. Spain and Niklas Sule’s poor defending allowed Morata in for the first goal. This World Cup looks to lack consistency. Only France has two wins.
The match’s morning hype didn’t pan out. Spain failed to deliver. Germany survives this World Cup.
If they beat Costa Rica by two goals or more, they will advance to the knockout stages unless Japan beat Spain. If Germany wins by one goal, a draw may be enough for Japan based on goals scored and head-to-head record.
A four-goal loss to Japan and a big Germany win would eliminate Spain. Costa Rica is simpler. To progress, they must outperform Japan.
Morata is 30—too old to change his image. At Atletico Madrid, the third team to re-sign him, he is considered a good striker but not an elite one.
This performance was one of his moments. Two strikers changed a match that started without one. Morata’s near-post run and finish beyond Neuer were excellent.
Luis Enrique’s Spain lineup includes only striker Morata. The coach wants to investigate other answers. He still needs Morata to open locks. Qatar may need him in the coming weeks.
Germany lost their first two World Cup group stage matches for the first time.
Spain has lost three of its last 19 World Cup group stage games.
Germany is winless in eight competitive games this year.
Alvaro Morata became the third player to score in both of his first two World Cup appearances off the bench.
Niclas Fullkrug scored Germany’s first World Cup substitute goal since Mario Gotze in the 2014 final against Argentina.
Jordi Alba has two World Cup assists after failing to assist in seven games in the previous two championships.
Costa Rica overcame Japan on Sunday, and Morocco upset second-ranked Belgium 2-0. After scoring their first World Cup goal, Canada was defeated 4-1 by Croatia and eliminated from Group F.