Despite a 4-2 victory over Costa Rica at Al Bayt Stadium on Thursday, Germany was eliminated from the World Cup for the second time.
Germany, needing a win to advance to the round of 16, got their first victory of the tournament but were eliminated at the group stage for the second time in a row.
Serge Gnabry gave them a well-deserved early lead, but Yeltsin Tejeda equalized in the second half with his first international goal, and Costa Rica advanced to the knockout stage after Juan Pablo Vargas put them ahead.
Havertz equalized shortly after Vargas’ goal and then scored again to put Germany ahead, with fellow substitute Niclas Fullkrug adding a late fourth goal.
However, Japan and Spain advanced from Group E, with the Samurai Blue finishing first after a 2-1 triumph over Luis Enrique’s side.
Gnabry scored after only 10 minutes, meeting David Raum’s left-wing cross with a looping header that hit the far corner of the net.
Keylor Navas saved Leon Goretzka’s header, Musiala blasted wide after turning quickly and storming into the box, and Gnabry was just off target with a right-foot effort as Germany continued to dominate.
But, late in the first half, Keysher Fuller almost equalized, Manuel Neuer wonderfully turning his effort around the post following an error by Antonio Rudiger.
The news that Japan was leading Spain left Germany fans shaking their heads, and things got even worse when Tejeda finished from close range after Neuer could only palm Kendall Waston’s header into his path in the 58th minute.
As Germany urgently fought to stay alive, Musiala twice touched the right-hand post and Rudiger hit the outside of the same upright.
Costa Rica then startled Germany once more, taking the lead after 70 minutes, with Vargas scoring when Neuer failed to deal with a ball into the area.
Los Ticos’ delight was short-lived, however, as Havertz finished clinically with his right foot just a few minutes after coming off the bench and Germany had fallen behind.
Navas made a spectacular close-range save to deny Fullkrug, but Havertz tucked in with his left foot at the back post.
Fullkrug appeared to be offside, but he was granted his second goal in as many games in the final stages after a VAR assessment after slotting in from close range, but Germany lost on goal difference.
What does it imply? Another day of doom for Germany
Germany left it too late to save their World Cup aspirations, paying the price for a shock loss to Japan in their opening game.
They finished third, tied on points with Spain, but fell short after Japan delivered another upset to claim first place, with Costa Rica finishing last.
Following Hansi Flick’s first major event since crashing out at the same level in Russia four years ago, there will be another inquest.
Muller fails once more.
Thomas Muller returned to an advanced role but was unable to make the desired impact.
Flick will almost certainly be questioned for not starting Havertz or Fullkrug, both of whom scored in the 1-1 tie with Spain. Muller has failed to score in seven World Cup appearances after scoring 10 goals in his first 12 outings, and the 33-year-old has almost certainly played his final World Cup encounter.
Musiala, the mercurial
Musiala was the finest player on the field and will be crucial in Germany’s rebuilding.
In an impactful display, he could easily have had a hat-trick and given Costa Rica all sorts of issues.
Facts about Opta
- Germany has been ousted from the group stages of three World Cups in a row, despite having advanced from the first round in each of their previous 16 appearances.
- Germany has now failed to maintain a clean sheet in 12 major tournament games, extending their longest such drought.
- Costa Rica has the world’s oldest average starting lineup for a World Cup match (31 years and 37 days), with eight starters aged 30 or older.
- After Andre Schurrle’s brace against Brazil in 2014, Havertz became only the second German player to score a brace as a substitute in a World Cup match.
- Neuer appeared in his 19th World Cup match, becoming the goalkeeper with the most appearances in the competition’s history.
What comes next?
While Germany and Costa Rica are packing their belongings, Japan will face Croatia on Monday, followed by Spain 24 hours later.