Germany are out at the 2022 FIFA Men’s World Cup thanks to Japan — and it’s not because the Blue Samurais pulled a quick-fire smash-and-grab over Spain on Thursday. It’s because they had pulled the same trick on Germany just days earlier.
“We didn’t go out of the group stage because of today,” explained Werder Bremen striker Niclas Füllkrug after Germany’s 4-2 win over Costa Rica on Thursday (via @iMiaSanMia). “We had a lot of problems against Japan. That was the decisive game. It hurts very much, it’s extremely difficult to digest. It’s going to take a very, very, very long time to digest this.”
Füllkrug is enjoying his first call-up to the senior team under former Bayern Munich coach Hansi Flick, and though the tournament has ended with bitter tears, he’s made more than a few positive impressions. First, he scored in his national team debut as a substitute against Oman in the pre-tournament friendly. Then he provided the crucial tying goal against Spain to keep Germany’s qualification hopes alive.
Füllkrug is having a banner season at club level, too. When the calendar year began, he was still plying his trade in the second tier. But Bremen earned promotion to the Bundesliga, and Füllkrug is sitting on a pretty ten goals at the Winterpause from fourteen league games.
Against Costa Rica, the German number nine added another goal and an assist to bring his goals tally to two for the tournament. It’s a form he’ll hope to bring back to club level for the upcoming Rückrunde.
And in case you haven’t listened to it yet, here’s a special edition postgame + weekend warm up podcast to get you ready for the weekend! We look at Germany’s shortcomings, Hansi Flick’s approach, Japan’s wonderful run...and close out with some classical music talk! Listen below or on Spotify.
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