Kai Havertz scored twice as Germany were knocked out of the World Cup early despite a 4-2 win over Costa Rica in a thriller at Al Bayt Stadium on Thursday.
Needing a win to stand a chance of reaching the round of 16, Germany took their first victory in the tournament but were eliminated in the group stage for a second consecutive World Cup.
Serge Gnabry gave them a well-deserved lead early in the game, but Yeltsin Tejeda equalized with his first international goal in the second half, with Costa Rica going into the play-offs after Juan Pablo Vargas gave them the lead.
Havertz equalized shortly after Vargas’ goal and struck again to give Germany the lead, with his substitute Niklas Fullkrug then adding a final fourth goal.
However, Japan and Spain qualified from Group E with Samurai Blue taking first place after their surprise 2-1 victory over Luis Enrique’s side.
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) December 1, 2022
Gnabry opened the scoring just in the 10th minute, meeting David Raum’s cross from the left with a glancing header into the far corner of the goal.
A header from Leon Goretzka was deflected by Keylor Navas, Musiala shot wide after a sharp turn and charged into the box, and Gnabry narrowly missed the target with a right as Germany continued to dominate.
But Keisher Fuller almost equalized out of the blue at the end of the first half, Manuel Neuer hit the post superbly after an error by Antonio Rüdiger.
News of Japan leading Spain had German fans throwing their hands up on their heads, and things got even worse when Tejeda was poised to finish from close range after Neuer could only pass a Kendall Weston header on his way to 58- th minute.
Musiala hit the right post twice and Rüdiger hit the outside of the same post as Germany desperately tried to stay alive.
Costa Rica then stunned Germany again with a 70th-minute lead, with Vargas putting the finishing touch when Germany’s Neuer failed to get the ball into the box.
However, Los Ticos’ joy was short-lived as Havertz finished clinically on his right foot shortly after coming off the bench just minutes after Germany fell behind.
Navas parried Fullkrug with a superb close-range save, but Havertz coolly tucked his left foot into the back post.
Fullkrug looked like he was offside but was awarded a second goal in as many games in the closing stages after a VAR check after scoring from close range but Germany lost on goal difference.
What does it mean? Another black day for Germany
Germany abandoned their World Cup hopes too late, paying the price for a surprise defeat to Japan in their first game of the tournament.
They finished third, tied on points with Spain, but lost after Japan caused another disappointment to take first place with Costa Rica bottom.
After failing at the same stage in Russia four years ago, there will be another investigation after Hansi Flick’s first major tournament at the helm.
Mueller failed again
Thomas Müller started again in an advanced role and he failed to achieve the desired result.
Flick will certainly be asked if he will play against Havertz or Fullkrag, who also scored in a 1-1 draw with Spain. Müller failed to score in seven World Cup matches, scoring 10 goals in the first 12 games of the tournament, and the 33-year-old certainly played his last World Cup match.
Musiala was the best player on the pitch and will play a huge role in the rebuilding of the German national team.
He could easily score a hat-trick and give Costa Rica all sorts of problems in an influential match.
While Germany and Costa Rica are packing their bags, Japan will play Croatia on Monday and Spain will play Morocco 24 hours later.