Germany knocked out of World Cup after extraordinary finale to Group E

By Ben Morse, CNNUpdated: Thu, 01 Dec 2022 21:22:27 GMTSource: CNNGermany was knocked out of the 2022 World Cup on Thursday after a quite extraordinary finale to Group E, despite beating Costa Rica.At

By Ben Morse, CNN

Updated: Thu, 01 Dec 2022 21:22:27 GMT

Source: CNN

Germany was knocked out of the 2022 World Cup on Thursday after a quite extraordinary finale to Group E, despite beating Costa Rica.

At varying points of the two games, fans of Spain and Japan as well as Costa Rica and Germany each thought that their countries were on their way to the knockout phase.

Completely outplayed by Spain in the first half and trailing to Alvaro Morata's first-half goal, Japan stormed back to win 2-1 and top the group.

Germany won 4-2 against Costa Rica, despite trailing at one point, but it wasn't enough with Japan and Spain going through to the last 16.

Everyone, catch your breath

Nine goals, controversial VAR decisions, and the four-time World Cup winner dumped out of the competition at the group stage just as Germany had been done at Russia 2018, these were two games that will live long in the memory.

Just hours after one European heavyweight, Belgium, had been knocked out, Spain and Germany faced the gauntlet, against Japan and Costa Rica, two teams that had been written off by most soccer experts as having little chance of reaching the last 16 before the World Cup started.

It was an evening that began with the possibility that all four teams were capable of progressing to the next stage.

However, within the opening quarter of an hour of both games, both European sides had put their stamps on their respective games.

At the Al Bayt Stadium, Serge Gnabry headed home in the 10th minute to give Germany a vital lead as it battled to rekindle its hopes of qualifying after a poor start to its campaign when it surprisingly lost to Japan.

And, just a minute later at the Khalifa International Stadium, Morata headed home a sumptuous cross from right back César Azpilicueta to put Spain ahead.

In doing so, Morata became the second player to score in his first three World Cup appearances for Spain, after Telmo Zarra in 1950, according to Opta.

Following the goal, with both sides sitting in the qualification spots, Spain and Germany dominated proceedings for the rest of the first half, with Spain enjoying 78% of the possession while Germany had 65% as they restricted Japan and Costa Rica's openings respectively.

However, within minutes of the second half beginning in both games, the situation changed completely.

As he did in the famous victory over Germany, Japan coach Hajime Moriyasu used his substitutes masterfully, bringing on Ritsu Dōan and his left-footed strike brought Japan level.

Moments later, Ao Tanaka gave the Samurai Blue a shock lead which through the group into jeopardy.

Just when things seemed like they couldn't get any wilder -- and totally against the run of play -- Costa Rica leveled the scores against Germany as Yeltsin Tejeda smashed home a rebound after Manuel Neuer couldn't hold a powerful effort from Kendall Waston.

But the mental maths was only just beginning.

More to follow...