The German national soccer team fought a late draw against Spain in the second World Cup group game. Joker Niclas Füllkrug secures the point. However, advancing to the knockout rounds of this World Cup is no longer just in your own hands.
The dream of the fifth star is alive thanks to "Joker" Niclas Füllkrug - but it's hanging by a thread. After a respectable 1:1 (0:0) against Spain, the hoped-for entry into the round of 16 of the World Cup in Qatar will be a nail-biter with an uncertain outcome for the German national team. In the last group game against the outsider Costa Rica next Thursday, the team of national coach Hansi Flick must win in any case - but at the same time hope for support from the Spaniards.
Substitute Füllkrug made sure the situation was no worse with the late equalizer in the 83rd minute. The goal was the well-deserved reward for the passion with which the DFB selection braced itself against a second preliminary round defeat. Previously, Alvaro Morata (62nd) had taken the lead for the mostly superior Spaniards - in a phase in which Germany had just fought at least at eye level.
"We really wanted to play this game, it's important that we got a point. We can go into the last game with a good feeling and hope that everything will turn out well," said Füllkrug, who scored the final score in the 83rd minute met. In the last group game against the outsiders Costa Rica next Thursday, the German team must win in any case - and at the same time hope for support from the Spaniards. But: "The most important thing is that we're still alive," said captain Manuel Neuer.
Flick's players performed with commitment. It was still not enough for the first competitive win against the fearsome "Rote Furie" in 34 years. And so the way to the round of 16, despite the support of Costa Rica against Japan (1-0), is like a calculation with many unknowns.
One thing is clear: three points against the Central Americans are mandatory. It would be ideal if the Spaniards, who almost certainly qualified for the round of 16, won against Japan at the same time. If the two teams draw, the DFB selection must end up with a better goal difference than the Asians. If Japan wins, the goal difference is compared to Spain, which, however, then has an almost unassailable advantage thanks to the 7-0 win against Costa Rica.
After the embarrassment against Japan (1: 2), Flick had made changes to his starting lineup as expected - exactly two: Thilo Kehrer moved into the team for Nico Schlotterbeck, Kai Havertz had to give way for Leon Goretzka - Thomas Müller moved to his position in the center of the attack. Kehrer "made a good impression, so it was obvious," said the national coach on ZDF about the change in defense. As a result, Niklas Süle slipped inside.
However, the Spaniards only needed up to the seventh minute to spread fear and terror in the German defense. Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, who caught up with the previous record holders Sepp Maier and Claudio Taffarel (Brazil) with his 18th World Cup appearance, was able to direct a shot from Leipzig's Dani Olmo to the crossbar with a brilliant save. The already recognizable superiority of the "Red Fury" did not decrease after that.
A defender of all people provided the most exciting moments on the offensive: Antonio Rüdiger headed the ball into the goal after a free kick by Joshua Kimmich (40th), but the jubilation was suddenly interrupted - the video referee had recognized an offside position. Shortly thereafter, Rüdiger tested goalkeeper Unai Simon with a shot from a tight angle (45'). On the other hand, excitement was much more common up until then.
What had already been indicated towards the end of the first half became more obvious after the break: the Spaniards' momentum was a little gone, the German team were more and more on an equal footing, İlkay Gündoğan in particular was now better in the game. Kimmich even had the opening goal on his feet (56th), but Simon parried. Shortly thereafter, Kehrer was unable to prevent a cross from Jordi Alba, Süle canceled the offside - Morata scored.
Flick reacted - by substituting the attackers Leroy Sané and Füllkrug. The man from Bremen could have become a hero right away, but Jamal Musiala, the best German player, preferred to shoot himself instead of aiming across at the well-positioned goalscorer (73'). Ten minutes later, Füllkrug rewarded the courage to go on the offensive.