Doha: Despite a thrilling 4-2 win over unfancied Costa Rica, Germany suffered a second consecutive World Cup group-stage exit, with Spain leading to knockout phase regardless of losing to Japan.
In yet another immense group stage drama, four-time winners Germany have been knocked out of the FIFA World Cup 2022 at the group stages for a second consecutive tournament—at the same stage as in Russia four years ago.
Prior to 2018, Germany had never failed to reach at least the final eight of a World Cup.
Germany’s result against the Concacaf nation became irrelevant after Spain fell to Japan in the parallel game, in a nerve-wracking climax to Group ‘E’ on Thursday night.
The historic exit is the latest turn in a tumultuous four-year run.
The Qatar FIFA World Cup 2022 witnessed a major controversy in the Group E clash between Japan and Spain as the former stunned the 2010 World Cup winners to eke a 2-1 win.
The outcome also knocked former champions of the tournament out of the World Cup, who defeated Costa Rica but failed to qualify to the knockout stage on the basis of goal difference.
Japan's winning goal, was somewhat controversial, with some believing the ball went out of play before Kaoru Mitoma crossed it to Ao Tanaka, who went on to score.
However, a lengthy VAR check followed the goal, and it was ruled in Blue Samurai’s favour—with officials stating ‘the whole ball had not crossed the line’.
The results mean Japan topped Group E, Spain came second, and Costa Rica finished bottom.
Notably, the game also saw a woman referee take to the field for the first time in men's World Cup history.
Japan will now face the previous edition's runners-up Croatia in the last 16, while Spain— which finished as the second best team from Group E— will take on Morocco Group F winners Morocco in the knockout clash.
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