Germany’s World Cup dreams still remain alive after they came from behind to rescue a 1-1 draw against Spain on Sunday night.
Hansi Flick’s side looked to be on the verge of a second consecutive World Cup group stage exit until super sub Niclas Fullkrug saved the day and cancelled out Alvaro Morata’s opener.
Despite the much-needed point, Germany’s fate is certainly still up in the air in Group E. Die Mannschaft will qualify for the knockout stages if they beat Costa Rica, who upset previous conquerors Japan earlier today, and Japan lose to Spain.
They can still qualify if Japan and Spain draw but they they must win by at least two goals or by a single goal margin and score more than Japan.
Spain now need just a point against the Samurai Blue to reach the last-16.
It was a scrappy contest from the off but Spain’s dominance in possession against Germany’s deadly counter-attacking made for a fascinating encounter.
Nervous energy reverberated around the Al Bayt Stadium as these two titans of international football collided and the action on the pitch did little to calm it down.
Spain had the first opportunity to break the deadlock when the ball found Dani Olmo on the left edge of the box. Manuel Neuer, making his 18th World Cup appearance, tying the record for a goalkeeper, reacted quickly to the midfielder’s effort with a superb save to tip the ball over the bar.
Jordi Alba drilled the side netting after shooting from distance, while at the other end a mistake from Unai Simon gave Serge Gnabry a sniff, but the Bayern Munich forward’s tame effort went wide.
Simon wasn’t the only goalkeeper to make a nearly costly mistake as Neuer followed his lead soon after, giving the ball directly to Olmo. The RB Leipzig star threaded Ferran Torres in on the edge of the box but, fortunately for Die Mannschaft, David Raum acted quickly to snuff out the threat.
Germany thought they had broken the deadlock through Antonio Rudiger, who latched onto a header from eight yards out. However, the former Chelsea defender had broken too quickly and was subsequently ruled offside.
Going into the break, the game became the 15th of the 28 World Cup ties so far that have been 0-0 at half-time.
The first big chance in the second-half fell to Germany and came from another goalkeeping error from Simon. His pass to Pedri on the edge of the box was a poor one and found its way to Ilkay Gundogan who fed in Joshua Kimmich, but Simon produced a superb save to stop the midfielder’s shot.
Spain finally produced the match’s first goal in the 62nd minute thanks to Morata’s second goal of the competition. Alba's low ball towards the six-yard box allowed the Atletico Madrid man to get in ahead of Niklas Sule and produce a brilliant flicked finish.
Germany got a deserved equaliser through Fullkrug seven minutes from time. Jamal Musiala did well to spin away from his marker, slotting in the Werder Breman star who fired in a thunderous effort.
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