Werder Bremen’s Niclas Füllkrug was Germany’s sparking hero in their 1-1 draw with Spain for their second group stage match at the World Cup in Qatar. After a shock 2-1 defeat to Japan in their group stages opener, a point against Spain was enough to keep Germany’s hopes of progressing to the round of 16 alive, given Costa Rica's 1-0 win over Japan earlier in the day. Füllkrug’s 83rd-minute strike cancelled out Alvaro Morata’s goal in the 62nd minute, when Spain was still in the ascendancy.
A match being described as “a tale of two halves” is rather cliché, but it well and truly was the second half subs that Hansi Flick made that made the most difference in getting Germany back into the match. Spain had far more chances in the first half than Germany, bar Antonio Rüdiger’s header that was ruled out by the offside flag and the former were unlucky not to have gone 1-0 up within 20 minutes when Dani Olmo’s effort was parried onto the underside of the crossbar by Manuel Neuer.
On the balance, despite Spain’s dominant first half, Germany registered a total of four shots on target to Spain’s three, largely due to the introduction of both Füllkrug and Bayern Munich’s Leroy Sané in the 70th minute, replacing Ilkay Gundogan and Thomas Müller, who both were struggling to make too much of an impact on proceedings.
After the match, Füllkrug said that Germany can take every bit of confidence going into their final group stage match against Costa Rica later this week despite wanting to take the full three points against Spain.
“We absolutely wanted to take something out of this game, the point is important for the feeling, but we wanted to win. Now we can go with a good feeling into the last game and hope that things go in our favor,” Füllkrug said (via @iMiaSanMia).
Perhaps with the way the match started to tilt in Germany’s favor after the two players were introduced, Flick will opt to start with both Sane and Füllkrug from the onset against Costa Rica. They need to win to have a chance to progress and leaving things too late to make a change could prove to be far too costly and Germany would suffer the same fate they did in Russia in 2018.
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.
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