It’s a simple task for Germany in their final game of group stage: beat Costa Rica on Thursday or the four-time World Cup champions will go home early for a second consecutive tournament.
Germany were knocked out as reigning World Cup champions in group play four years ago in Russia.
But even a victory might not be enough. Germany are in last place in Group E and, depending on the outcome of Japan versus Spain, goal difference deficit might come into play. Germany have scored two goals through their two games, a 2-1 loss to Japan in their opening match and 1-1 draw against Spain.
Costa Rica earned a surprise win over Japan last week and now control their own fate. Costa Rica will advance with a victory over Germany, and even a draw would be enough for Costa Rica to reach the knockout stages if Spain beat Japan in the group’s other game being played at the same time.
Spain still have some work left to do. The 2010 World Cup champions routed Costa Rica 7-0 in their opening match in Qatar, but a 1-1 draw against Germany in the second game made things interesting again.
The Spanish will face Japan on Thursday and the winner will be guaranteed of reaching the round of 16. Spain could also advance with a loss, depending on the result of Germany’s match against the Costa Ricans.
If Spain win the group, the team would face the second-place from Group F. That could be Croatia, Belgium or Morocco. After that, a match against Brazil is possible.
Two other matches are scheduled for the day.
See Thursday’s schedule below:
11:00 am – Croatia vs Belgium11:00 am – Canada vs Morocco
3:00 pm – Japan vs Spain3:00 pm – Costa Rica vs Germany