Costa Rica 2 Germany 4
Flick's team rewrite Germany football history, for the wrong reasons
There was once an air of superiority around the German national team, supposed masters of tournament football. Not any more. In two successive World Cups, they have been escorted out at the group stages by teams who should, based on their footballing heritage, have no business ruffling German feathers.
In 2018 it was Mexico and South Korea, and it was a humiliation of the highest order. This year they have failed to progress from a group containing Costa Rica and Japan. Jurgen Klinsmann had said it would be a “disaster times 10” for Germany to crash out again but, in the moment and on the night, it must have felt even worse than that.
It did not matter that Germany actually ended up winning this match against Costa Rica, for their shame was sealed by events elsewhere. Japan have proven to be the unlikely doyens of havoc, inflicting chaos on this group with their strange brand of erratic football and unlikely results.
Between 1938 and 2018, Germany had not once failed to advance beyond the first stage of a World Cup. This current generation, fresh from watching their elders lift the 2014 trophy in Brazil, are truly rewriting history in all the wrong ways. That is despite the remarkable amount of talent at their disposal, and indeed the enduring presence of some of the old warriors of eight years past.
Perhaps the loyalty to the old-timers was one of their problems. Manuel Neuer was making his 19th World Cup appearance here, thus becoming the goalkeeper with the most appearances in the history of the competition, but he floundered and flapped for both of Costa Rica’s goals. Up front, Muller offered little but missed chances and misplaced passes.
The anguish of it all was etched on the faces of Germany’s players at the final whistle. Some of them did not even seem capable of shuffling down the tunnel. It had already become clear that their tournament was over, with the big screens and the reactions of the crowd making it painfully real in live-time, but the whistle must still have felt like a gut-punch of brutal force.
For Flick, is there any way back from this? Will he even want to continue? A great footballing nation will struggle to digest such disastrous results in back-to-back World Cups, and the immediate assumption was that someone would have to pay for it, be that on the playing side or in the coaching staff. Perhaps it will be both.
It had all started so promisingly for the Germans, who took the lead after just 10 minutes through Serge Gnabry’s header. For 20 minutes they were in such control of Costa Rica that it was almost uncomfortable to watch.
Germany were so dominant, and so set on delivering a genuine thrashing, that Gnabry rushed to fetch the ball from the net. His eagerness was proof of his team’s sense of purpose and urgency.
With Jamal Musiala in sparkling form, Germany were creating chances with such frequency in these early stages that an eight-goal victory — which would have guaranteed their progress, no matter the result elsewhere — felt far more inevitable than impossible.
But then their vulnerabilities surfaced once more. It does not take much to worry this German defence — a long ball here, a set piece there — and, from nowhere, Costa Rica were suddenly landing blows. Next thing they knew, they were 2-1 up. Germany came back from there, as it turned out, but their doom was confirmed elsewhere. Now for the introspection, and the painful examination of how their international reputation has been so emphatically tarnished.
Neil Warnock is absolutely loving it
The memes have been flying in
All thanks to Costa Rica and Japan!
Relive tonight's events
Reaction from Alan Shearer
Second in a row
Rate the players
Who was your man of the match?
Musiala the maestro
Jamal Musiala really was fantastic tonight. It's disappointing that he's out of the tournament, as he has been great to watch so far.
What a performance from Costa Rica
The Central Americans started rather meekly but grew into the game very well. They defended well in the first half and deserved their goals for a spirited performance.
Germany were too strong in the end, but Costa Rica can take heart from how they played.
Why were they not like that in the opening game against Spain?
Despite winning the game, Germany are out of the tournament.
They got a big scare when Costa Rica took the lead, but Havertz and Fullkrug showed why they should be starting.
That could be the last game for many of the Germany players. Neuer, Muller and Gundogan are all the wrong side of 30, and it may be time for a new generation to come through.
Full-time: Costa Rica 2 Germany 4
What a game! Germany are out for the second World Cup running.
Costa Rica were fantastic tonight and even looked like they may go through at one point. But Fullkrug and Havertz were great off the bench and put them to the sword.
90+8 mins: Costa Rica 2 Germany 4
Germany are pretty much out! The other game has finished and Japan have beaten Spain 2-1. They would need seven goals in the next two minutes to qualify.
90+7 mins: Costa Rica 2 Germany 4
Fullkrug with another chance after a great ball to the far post from Havertz. Fullkrug climbed well but couldn't get the header on target. Those two have made the difference for Germany tonight.
Soon after Musiala was running through and looked definite to score, but he waited too long and Salas made it back to clear.
90+4 mins: Costa Rica 2 Germany 4
I meant to say that there's 10 minutes of added time! You're not getting rid of me that easily.
90+3 mins: Costa Rica 2 Germany 4
Havertz was nearly in for a hat-trick but Keylor Navas did well to come out and stop him.
Fullkrug's goal is given after it emerges that he wasn't offside in the final phase of play.
Costa Rica 2 Germany 4.
89 mins: Costa Rica 2 Germany 3
Germany have goal ruled out! Fullkrug puts it in after the ball comes across from Gotze. But it's gone to Var.
87 mins: Costa Rica 2 Germany 3
You have to feel for Costa Rica. They were doing so well and were really taking the game to Germany but the quality has shown. Havertz did well for both goals. Germany are still heading out.
Havertz with his second to put Germany in front. great ball in from Gnabry.
Costa Rica 2 Germany 3
84 mins: Costa Rica 2 Germany 2
Musiala robs Bennette of the ball near the corner flag and slaloms his way into the box but can't keep his shot down.
Rate the players
80 mins: Costa Rica 2 Germany 2
Costa Rica look dangerous on the break. Jewison Bennette has a strike from range and it's not even close. But they're getting forward and could score another.
78 mins: Costa Rica 2 Germany 2
This is end-to-end. Costa Rica are much less conservative now and are getting players forward, but Germany are now finding space in attack.
76 mins: Costa Rica 2 Germany 2
WHAT A SAVE! Gaps were opening up in the Costa Rica defence as Germany catch them on the break. Sane crosses to Fullkrug who smacks the ball against Navas' face.
Havertz equalises for Germany. A calm chip after he is through one-vs-one.
Costa Rica 2 Germany 2
The scrappiest goal you will ever see goes in and Costa Rica are winning!
Vargas puts it in after it bobbled about the box.
Costa Rica 2 Germany 1
69 mins: Costa Rica 1 Germany 1
Musiala hits the post! He cuts inside from outside the box, aims for the far post and hits it with some venom and curl.
He's been great tonight, dodging tackles and creating chances. Someone said he was Messi-like against Spain. On this performance I would have to agree.
66 mins: Costa Rica 1 Germany 1
More subs for Germany.
Gotze and Havertz on for Muller and Raum.
65 mins: Costa Rica 1 Germany 1
If Costa Rica score, both they and Japan will be going through at the expense of Spain and Germany.
Who would have thought it? Especially after Spain gubbed them 7-0.
63 mins: Costa Rica 1 Germany 1
A host of German chances!
Musiala hits the post from the left with a good strike. But he maybe should have passed it to Fullkrug in the middle.
Soon after Musiala finds Muller just inside the box and his shot is deflected over.
Rudiger then hits the outside of the post after Kimmich plays in a low cross.
The Germans have upped the ante.
Neuer saves a header but Tejeda puts the rebound home!
Costa Rica 1 Germany 1
58 mins: Costa Rica 0 Germany 1
The news of the Japan goals has obviously gotten through to the Germany fans as they look anxious. Costa Rica will be hoping it affects the players. Germany are certainly less dominant than they were at the start of the first half, with Costa Rica looking a threat on the break.
55 mins: Costa Rica 0 Germany 1
Germany sub: Fullkrug on for Gundogan.
Can Fullkrug do it again?
53 mins: Costa Rica 0 Germany 1
Nearly a chance for Costa Rica! Campbell finds Fuller inside the box and the shot is blocked.
Tejeda then had an attempt from outside the box which was gathered easily by Neuer.
Germany living dangerously and they're heading out as it stands with Japan beating Spain.
49 mins: Costa Rica 0 Germany 1
Joel Campbell has been pretty good at holding the ball up and finding a bit of space for Costa Rica. He's never been a prolific goalscorer, but I've always thought he was a good player.
48 mins: Costa Rica 0 Germany 1
Kimmich's now in the centre of midfield with Klostermann at right-back. Maybe Kimmich will pick out some long passes.
A niche stat
As it stands
Spain and Japan are going through, Germany and Costa Rica are going out.
And we're off again!
A sub each at half time.
Salas on for Aguilera for Costa Rica.
Klostermann on for Goretzka for Germany.
Half-time analysis from our man at the game
By Sam Dean at Al Bayt Stadium
What a strange game this is. Germany have been totally dominant, and probably should be four or five goals clear already, but they also look weirdly vulnerable at the back. They needed the reactions of Manuel Neuer to preserve their lead, despite having 13 shots to Costa Rica's one.
Half-time: Costa Rica 0 Germany 1
Germany dominate but Costa Rica could have equalised. The Central Americans will take heart from their defensive performance and will hope to have some luck on the break in the second half.
I wouldn't put it past them to get a goal.
45 mins: Costa Rica 0 Germany 1
Costa Rica almost have another chance. A cross from Campbell into the middle is swiped at by Sule but he misses. It bounces off Venegas, who wasn't expecting it.
A reminder that this game isn't Germany's yet.
43 mins: Costa Rica 0 Germany 1
Costa Rica should have scored! Fuller finds himself in on goal after a long ball and a poor mistake from Rudiger. He volleyed well but Neuer pulled out a top save and put it over the bar.
42 mins: Costa Rica 0 Germany 1
This game seems like it would be great for Fullkrug. He demonstrated against Spain that he has an eye for goal and he would be in dangerous areas. Surely he'll get a chance in the second half.
40 mins: Costa Rica 0 Germany 1
Gnabry nearly scores! A good ball into him from Muller and Gnabry turns well on the left side of the box. He switches it onto his right foot and nearly finds the far corner with a good strike, but it goes inches past the post.
36 mins: Costa Rica 0 Germany 1
Musiala with a lovely turn and drive into the box. He should really score but he drags his shot wide of the post. Doesn't seem like Germany have their shooting boots on tonight.
35 mins: Costa Rica 0 Germany 1
Kimmich has a powerful shot from distance which is initially spilled by Navas, but he recovers it well.
32 mins: Costa Rica 0 Germany 1
Germany's sixth corner inside half an hour. It shows how much they've been dominating things but Costa Rica have defended the set pieces well.
Germany with plenty of the ball but not coming close to scoring, and Costa Rica are looking almost the tiniest bit threatening on the break.
29 mins: Costa Rica 0 Germany 1
Nearly a chance for Costa Rica. Joel Campbell started the move by taking the ball calmly in the middle of the park and finding Oviedo on the left. The ex-Everton man then crossed it in and nearly found Campbell inside the box, but the forward couldn't make contact with the ball.
27 mins: Costa Rica 0 Germany 1
Musiala looks a real threat. He is so light-footed and never seems to lose the ball. The Costa Rican defenders are trying not to dive in because he can move the ball very quickly. If only England had convinced him to play for them.
26 mins: Costa Rica 0 Germany 1
Germany are still trying to probe, but Costa Rica aren't giving them much space. They just can't find the final pass at the moment.
Gnabry was nearly through after a slack pass from Costa Rica was intercepted, but Navas came out to clear.
23 mins: Costa Rica 0 Germany 1
A few nice one-touch passes from Costa Rica to get out. It seems like they can play a bit if they get their head up and pick out passes. Maybe they'll be able to catch Germany on the break, but they'll need to resist a lot of pressure.
21 mins: Costa Rica 0 Germany 1
Costa Rica had the ball up the park for a period and were managing to hold onto it. They may be beginning to get a grip on the game a bit.
Saying that, Germany then ran up the park and nearly had another chance through a cut back from Gnabry.
15 mins: Costa Rica 0 Germany 1
Another deep cross from Kimmich and this time he finds Goretzka in space. Goretzka headed well, low into the ground, but Navas saved.
It's all Germany at the moment.
Gnabry with a header after a cross from Raum.
Musiala drove at the defence before playing it to the full-back who picked out Gnabry well. A good header into the corner.
Costa Rica 0 Germany 1
9 mins: Costa Rica 0 Germany 0
Musiala with some great footwork in the box. The Costa Rica players couldn't get the ball off him. Eventually it came to Goretzka but he was off balance and his shot went wide.
Kimmich put a good cross in for Muller soon after, and Muller should have hit the target with a free header, but it was well wide.
7 mins: Costa Rica 0 Germany 0
Already plenty of pressure from Germany as Costa Rica struggle to get hold of the ball. It could be a long night for the Central Americans.
5 mins: Costa Rica 0 Germany 0
Gnabry played through after a mistake by the Costa Rica defender. Gnabry tests Navas from close range, but the keeper saves. Offside flag goes up afterwards.
3 mins: Costa Rica 0 Germany 0
Musiala receives the ball outside the box, cuts inside to make some space and curls a shot at goal. Keylor Navas palms it behind.
As it stands
Spain and Germany are both leading so are going through, with Costa Rica and Japan heading out.
And we're off!
Stephanie Frappart becomes the first woman to referee a World Cup game as Thomas Muller kicks off for Germany.
Not long to go
The teams are now lined up on the pitch to sing their national anthems.
From our man on the ground
By Sam Dean at Al Bayt Stadium
There is only one way for Germany to seize control of their own destiny tonight: by winning 8-0. It sounds like a ridiculous ask, until you consider that Spain stuck seven past Costa Rica earlier in the tournament. So it is unlikely, yes. But it is not impossible.
Any other scoreline and Germany are reliant on results elsewhere going in their favour. If they win and Japan lose to Spain, they are through. If Japan draw with Spain, Germany will need to win by at least two goals. It is all a bit fiddly, but that should only add to the fun.
Fans get ready
Havertz on bench again
Chelsea's Kai Havertz, who didn't kick a ball in the draw against Spain, is on the bench again for Germany. Alongside him is Niclas Fullkrug, who scored the equaliser on Sunday.
There's only one change to the starting line-up with Leroy Sane coming in for West Ham's Thilo Kehrer. Gundogan will play deeper and Kimmich will slot in at right back.
Plenty of big names for Germany, with Manuel Neuer, Antonio Rudiger and Thomas Muller starting.
But all eyes will be on Jamal Musiala. can he put in another great performance?
Costa Rica make three changes from Japan victory
Juan Pablo Vargas comes in at the back for the suspended Francisco Calvo. Forward Gerson Torres loses his place to Nottingham Forest's Brandon Aguilera. Anthony Contreras is out for Johan Venegas up front.
PSG's Keylor Navas, Ex-Everton and Sunderland man Bryan Oviedo and former Arsenal forward Joel Campbell all start. Keysher Fuller, who scored the winner against Japan, is at right wing-back.
Sunderland's Jewison Bennette and ex-Fulham player Bryan Ruiz are on the bench.
The teams are out!
Costa Rica: Navas, Duarte, Waston, Vargas, Fuller, Borges, Tejeda, Oviedo, Aguilera, Campbell, Venegas.
Subs: Chacon, Contreras, Bennette, Ruiz, Torres, Salas, Martinez, Alvarado, Lopez, Matarrita, Sequeira, Wilson, Hernandez, Zamora.
Germany: Neuer, Kimmich, Sule, Rudiger, Raum, Gundogan, Goretzka, Gnabry, Musiala, Sane, Muller.
Subs: Ginter, Kehrer, Havertz, Fullkrug, Gotze, Trapp, Klostermann, Brandt, Hofmann, Gunter, ter Stegen, Schlotterbeck, Adeyemi, Kotchap, Moukoko.
Germany need win to go through
Hello and welcome to Telegraph Sport's live coverage of Germany versus Costa Rica, kicking off at the Al Bayt Stadium at 7pm.
As has been the case in so many of these final ties, progression for all of the four teams in Group E hangs in the balance. Costa Rica, Germany, and Japan will all look to take their fate in hand, and gain a spot in the Round of 16, with no team but Spain too confident of extending their stay in Qatar.
Costa Rica's competition started ignominiously against Spain, but after dealing Japan a somewhat shocking 1-0 defeat on match day two, confidence has blossomed within the ranks of one of the lowest-ranked teams in this World Cup.
Head coach Luis Suarez spoke of the importance of mental fortitude in dispatching the Germans, as well as "[breaking] our backs.
"If Germany is knocked out, it would be a major thing, and we would be proud to be responsible for that."
A deflated Germany has already been on the receiving end of an early upset, and a needled, gritted-teeth draw against Spain hasn't done much to reassure fans that their disconnected, somewhat toothless team has a hope getting through to, let alone challenging in, the Round of 16.
Flick's words ahead of the match have been cautious, making clear he understood the idea of seizing a famous victory over Costa Rica would be "disrespectful".
"We will be happy just to win the game," he added. "It's all about getting a positive result.
For Costa Rica to concede seven goals in their first game, and then beat Japan, is no mean feat."
Regardless of the score line, history is certain to be made tonight as Stephanie Frappart leads the first all-female refereeing team for a men's World Cup match, alongside Neuza Back and Karen Diaz. The French referee previously broke ground as the first woman to officiate a major men's European match refereeing the 2019 Super Cup contest between Liverpool and Chelsea, and has officiated in the Champions League, Ligue 1, and at the Coupe de France Final early this year.
With all to play for in Group E, it's worth keeping an eye on Spain against Japan too - you can follow along here (LINK) - and we'll be sharing updates as and when things chance in the group's hierarchy.