Another disaster for the German national soccer team: The team of national coach Hansi Flick flies out of the World Cup early, like in 2018. Victory against Costa Rica is not enough because Japan beat Spain in the parallel game.
A completely shocked Hansi Flick cursed, his stars just looked around in horror after a dramatic group final: This World Cup disaster was just as bad as the Russia nightmare of 2018. The German national football team, which started with title ambitions, says goodbye with a 4th place :2 (1:0) against Costa Rica laughed at internationally by the World Cup because the hoped-for help from the Spaniards failed to materialize.
The dream of the fifth star died out on Thursday over the Al-Khor Bedouin tent stadium in the Qatari desert sky - after the third German tournament embarrassment in a row, the four-time world champion is definitely no longer even close to the extended world class. The national coach is faced with the ruins of his short tenure.
After Serge Gnabry's opening goal (10') and a 30-minute state of siege in front of the Costa Rican goal, everything looked great. The horror came on quiet feet: Costa Rica only showed itself to be more dangerous from time to time - and then struck mercilessly. Meanwhile, Spain lost a lead in three minutes in a 1-2 (1-0) win over Japan.
In Al-Khor, Yeltsin Tejeda (58th) scored the equalizer, the German team was already completely insecure at this point. Jamal Musiala hit the post (61'/67'). Kai Havertz (72'/85') and "Joker" Niclas Füllkrug (89') countered the second goal conceded by Celso Borges (70').
How it is when a major project crumbles to dust: decisions that have been celebrated or at least not criticized in advance are now being severely questioned. Tactics, personnel, attitude - Flick will have a lot to explain in the coming days. Why did he take Mario Götze with him? Why didn't Niclas Füllkrug play earlier? Why did Kimmich suddenly play right back?
Either way: The root of all evil was the unnecessary 1:2 against Japan after the German lead in the first game. Extraneous noises such as the argument about the "One Love" bandage were probably more distracting than expected, and the 1-1 draw against Spain also seemed like an overdose of sedative.
A change is needed now more than ever. In view of his contract until 2024, Flick has promised not to throw the ball himself, but Oliver Bierhoff and the German Football Association (DFB) are responsible for the assessment. Müller may have played his last tournament game, maybe Manuel Neuer, who rose to become the record goalkeeper for the World Cup. Young players like Jamal Musiala are even more responsible for the home championship.
Flick had tried everything - even the Philipp Lahm move from 2014. The later world champion captain had sorted himself into the right defense for the benefit of the team, so Joshua Kimmich did it now. Leroy Sane also came into the team, Müller was again given preference in attack over Füllkrug, who came on as a substitute. It was the largest possible Bayern block with seven players from the record champions. But what good did it do? Nothing.
The German entourage will vacate the Zulal Wellness Resort on Friday and probably fly home around noon - to a country that wasn't exactly gripped by the World Cup euphoria anyway and will now almost completely lose interest.
To score goals quickly, whatever, and then look at Spain against Japan - that was the goal. Musiala danced through six opponents but couldn't finish, having previously shot Keylor Navas' fists in the opponent's goal. The siege began, Gnabry headed a cross from Raum, and good news also came from the Spain game in Ar-Rayyan.
The drama: It was nowhere near predictable. But a goal for Costa Rica or two for Japan was still a real threat, as Neuer's brilliant save against Keysher Fuller (42') showed. Antonio Rüdiger and David Raum had blundered in a duet, Neuer's fiery look was punishment enough.
Then it went there: Stunned, the German fans took note of the equalizer and even the Costa Rican leadership. Yes, Germany ran, had chances and scored, but the way to a round of 16 against Morocco remained blocked: It's embarrassing.