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Here’s how Germany can still advance from Group E at the FIFA World Cup

With a big thanks to Japan’s crushing defeat to Costa Rica, Germany’s dreams are alive and well.

Spain v Germany: Group E - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Photo by Richard Sellers/Getty Images

Germany’s 2022 Men’s World Cup campaign got off to a disastrous start after their opening loss to Japan. But thanks to Japan’s 0-1 loss to Costa Rica on Matchday 2, and their own thrilling fight-back in a 1-1 draw to Spain, their chances at progressing from Group E remain alive and well. Not only that — they’re pretty good, actually.

Spain remain in command of the group with four points, +7 goal differential (GD) and will play Japan next. They will need to win to secure qualification (more on that later) and can’t take it easy — but should have the horses to do so.

The other match sees Germany in a must-win against Costa Rica. Thanks to their draw today, Germany would sit on four points with a win. If Spain beat Japan, Germany would qualify outright in second place. If Spain draw Japan, it would come down to GD tiebreaks.

That scenario — where Spain and Japan draw — is where it gets complicated. Germany are at -1 GD currently, while another draw would leave Japan at 0. If Germany beat Costa Rica by two or more goals, they’d advance. If Germany only wins by one, it would come down to total goals scored (GF) as the next tiebreak (the teams are level at two apiece currently.) If that still doesn’t sort it out, then Japan’s H2H result against Germany would take precedence.

What if Japan beat Spain? Well, then they’d top the group while Germany would need a win to force tiebreakers. They’d also need to make up a serious amount of ground on goal differential. But if Germany smash Costa Rica and Japan smash Spain, it’s...conceivable, especially if the Bayern Munich unit in attack can start clicking together amongst themselves and with recent national team arrival Niclas Füllkrug from Werder Bremen.

And that’s why Spain will have to play to win. A loss would leave them on four points and hoping their tiebreakers hold. That’s if Germany beat Costa Rica. Germany could also well lose, as we all know, and in that scenario, Costa Rica would also be on six points alongside Japan.

Once again, Germany’s World Cup hopes will come down to the last day, and a mere win is likely to suffice. But one goal likely won’t. Costa Rica, like the Republic of Korea in 2018, are far outgunned by their German counterparts. But they’ll play tough, defend tight, and have superstar Keylor Navas in goal. Can Hansi Flick’s team do it?

As things stand, it’s all in their hands.

Interested in a VERY in-depth review of Germany’s 1-1 draw with Spain? Then why not check out the latest episode of our podcast? We talk about everything from lineups, tactics, and individual performances, to a discussion about Bayern Munich at the World Cup overall. Listen to it below or on Spotify.

As always, we appreciate all the support!

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