Four-time champion Germany left the World Cup in Qatar in the Group Stage, despite a 4-2 win over Costa Rica. Although they gave their best effort and recovered from a 2-1 loss to Costa Rica, they have fallen out of a World Cup competition once more.
Japan beat Spain 2-1 in their last Group Stage match on Thursday, a result that saw the two teams advance to the knockout stages. Germany and Spain took the lead early in their games, which would have allowed the German squad to advance.
That surprise ending tipped the scales for the group’s final standings. Now, it’s on to the Round of 16 and tougher competition.
FIFA Makes History
For FIFA, the match between Germany and Costa Rica had a historic air. It was the first official game of a men’s World Cup that featured female referees.
Three of the four referees, France’s Stephanie Frappart, Brazil’s Nuza Barker, and Mexico’s Karen Diaz Medina, were in charge of the match between the two teams.
To avoid a repeat of their shocking knockout in the first round of the 2018 World Cup, Germany only needed one victory. The German National Team featured seven Bayern Munich players, who rushed to score an early goal and give confidence to the rest of the squad.
Forward Serge Gnabry did the honors, punching in a header on a pass from David Raum in the first half. Jamal Musiala, who also had a strong match, battled Costa Rica’s entire defense on multiple occasions, but couldn’t find the net.
Costa Rica, meanwhile, only needed one point to qualify for the Round of 16, which it found early in the second half when midfielder Yeltsin Tejeda knocked in a goal.
Soon after, Juan Pablo Vargas smacked in Costa Rica’s second goal of the match, giving them the lead, at least for a short while.
Germany soon tied things up again when forward Kai Havertz scored at the 72-minute mark. Germany then took the lead for good at the 84-minute mark before scoring one last time at minute 89.
There are still a few more Round of 16 spots to fill, which will be determined on Friday. Brazil, a leading contender to take the title, wraps up the action against Cameroon, and is on track for a strong finish.
Argentina, USA Highlight Start of Round of 16
On Saturday, the Round of 16 begins with two games. The Argentine National Team faces the Australian National Team, and the US Men’s National Team takes on the Netherlands.
Argentina, led by Lionel Messi, reached the Round of 16 by winning Group C with decisive victories over Mexico and Poland. That’s after getting off to a rocky start when they lost to Saudi Arabia in its first game. Argentina hasn’t seen the World Cup quarterfinals since Brazil in 2014, when it reached the final, but lost to Germany.
On the other hand, Australia, one of the big surprises in Qatar 2022, advanced after finishing second in Group D. They took out Tunisia and Denmark after losing their first match to France.
This is how Australia celebrated their National team’s qualification to the knock stages of the World Cup
— Thierry Nyann (@nyannthierry) November 30, 2022
It’s been a long time coming, as Oz hasn’t gotten this far since 2006 in Germany. That year, they made it to the Round of 16 against Italy before departing under a questionable last-minute penalty.
DraftKings puts this game squarely on Argentina to win, listing them at -550 to Australia’s +1700. While the underdogs have played good defense, it’s difficult to imagine them being able to overcome Messi and crew.
Meanwhile, the Dutch squad meets the Stars and Stripes in what will be an interesting battle. Gregg Berhalter, the coach of the US team, is hoping Christian Pulisic will be back and ready to lead.
The Chelsea striker went down hard on Tuesday as he scored a goal in the win against Iran. He collided with the goalkeeper and suffered a pelvic contusion that sent him to the hospital. Pulisic has said that he’s ready for Saturday’s match.
DraftKings isn’t ready to back Team USA. The Netherlands is getting -105 to +340 for the Stars and Stripes. But a shocking ending could be coming.
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