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Hansi Flick’s classy decision to bring on Matthias Ginter late in Germany vs Costa Rica

With their exit looming, the German coach let Ginter finally make a World Cup appearance for his country.

Costa Rica v Germany: Group E - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

28-year-old Matthias Ginter has had an up-and-down run with the Germany national team. First selected to a major tournament in 2014 in Grazil, Ginter didn’t really establish himself regularly over the years. In fact, 2022 marked his third straight call-up to the Men’s World Cup — all without making a single on-field appearance.

Germany’s top-choice center-backs have rotated through a laundry list of big names: Borussia Dortmund’s Mats Hummels, Bayern Munich alumnus Jérôme Boateng, ex-Arsenal FC man Per Mertesacker, and more recently Real Madrid’s Antonio Rüdiger and Dortmund’s Niklas Süle and Nico Schlotterbeck. Through it all, Ginter — now at SC Freiburg — has been somewhat a forgotten man.

Ginter started every game of last year’s EURO under Joachim Löw, when Germany fielded a back three, but under Hansi Flick, he slipped below the top choices again.

But as Germany stared disqualification from this year’s World Cup in the face, Flick made the call to honor the long-standing veteran:

Japan had beaten Spain, and there was no time for Germany to score the six goals that were then required of them in the game’s final seven minutes. It wasn’t much, but he was finally able to take the field for his country on the world’s biggest stage.

And who knows what the future will hold? Ginter has had a strong season since moving to SC Freiburg from Borussia Mönchengladbach, and will only be 32 by the time the next World Cup rolls around. He might have two more big tournaments to take part in before it’s all said and done.

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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