Germany were in all sorts of trouble after conceding a goal in the 62nd minute, which could have potentially ended their campaign with a game in hand. But substitute Niclas Fuellkrug struck seven minutes before regulation time to calm the things down for the Germans. They even looked good for a late winner in stoppage time but Spain managed to take away a point from the game.
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Alvaro Morata came from the bench again and broke the deadlock just after the hour-mark at the Al Bayt stadium, but Spain failed to keep the advantage til the end. Spain will be happy with the final outcome as they now needed just a draw against Japan in the last game to secure a spot in the knockout stage. Japan, who are in second place with three points despite losing to Costa Rica on Sunday, are also in the mix for the last 16 spot.
Germany will play Costa Rica, who are also in the race and are at third spot with three points behind Japan on goal difference, in their last group game, and a win will take them to four points. So, a Japan loss will take Germany to the next round with Spain from the group. But a draw for Japan or a loss for Spain will bring in the goal difference/ goal scored by the teams into play.
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Germany were looking in danger of suffering another early exit from the World Cup, after being eliminated following the group stage in 2018, before Fuellkrug took advantage of Jamal Musiala’s battling in the box to fire high into the net past Unai Simon in Spain’s goal.
Morata, himself a substitute, had increased the jeopardy for the Germans when he neatly flicked in a cross by Jordi Alba in the 62nd minute.
The Spaniards looked more relaxed from the start, cutting through Germany with their angled passing, and Dani Olmo almost created an early breakthrough in the seventh minute but his shot was palmed onto the bar by Manuel Neuer.
Germany went into their encounter against Spain at the Al Bayt Stadium under immense pressure after suffering a shock defeat to Japan in their opening match.
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Hanse Flick’s men thought they had taken an unlikely lead in the 39th minute when defender Antonio Rudiger powered in a header from a Joshua Kimmich free kick, but the German celebrations were cut short as VAR quickly ruled that he was offside.
Spain goalkeeper Simon was forced into his first save in the 56th minute when the 2010 champions got into trouble trying to play out of defence, allowing Kimmich to shoot from just inside the penalty area but Simon saved impressively.
(With inputs from agencies)