Constellation in World Cup Group E: This is how Germany is eliminated by Spain on Sunday

The German footballers experienced a “brutal” start at the World Cup. At least that’s how national coach Hansi Flick put it after the 2-1 draw in the first preliminary round match against Japan on Wednesday.

Things got even more brutal afterwards when Spain beat Costa Rica 7-0 in a stunning manner. The starting position for the national team before the duel with those same Spaniards on Sunday evening (8 p.m. / ZDF and MagentaTV) could hardly be worse.

Because it is now clear: After just 90 (or 100) minutes against the team of coach Luis Enrique, Germany’s preliminary round could be sealed.

It would even be an “upgrade” to the 2018 World Cup, when a German selection was eliminated for the first time in the group stage of a World Cup finals, but that was only certain after the 0: 2 against South Korea in the third game. This time the last game against Costa Rica (1.12./8 p.m.) threatens to be downgraded to a pure friendship kick.

But the DFB team still has it in their own hands. With a win against Spain on Sunday, progress is possible on your own. And that regardless of the outcome of the game between Japan and Costa Rica on Sunday morning (11 a.m. / ZDF). However, if the Japanese achieve their second win here, the pressure on Hansi Flick and his men will increase.

Then a defeat against the Spaniards would mean elimination. Even with a draw, the chances of reaching the round of 16 would only be theoretical, Spain would then have to lose as much as possible against Japan and Germany would have to win as much as possible against Costa Rica at the same time.

In a draw between Japan and Costa Rica, Germany needs at least a point against Spain to have any hope. Then Japan and Spain would have four points each, Germany and Costa Rica one each. However, should the Spaniards and Japanese “agree” on a draw in their final duel, the Germans and Costa Ricans would have been eliminated in any case.

In the event of a tie at the end, the goal difference from all matches decides first and then the direct comparison. Spain have already put themselves in a good position here, but Costa Rica definitely needs two wins now.

Spain's Marco Asensio calculates how many points against Germany are enough to advance.
Spain’s Marco Asensio calculates how many points against Germany are enough to progress.
© Photo: IMAGO/NurPhoto

If there are three teams with the same number of points and goals after the third matchday, a separate table will be created from the respective duels of the teams concerned. Germany and Japan would have to win against Costa Rica 7-0 and win against Spain 2-1 (Germany) and lose 1-2 (Japan) respectively.

Then these three teams would each have six points and 10:3 goals, now the fair play rating would decide on progress. If that still doesn’t bring any clarity, you actually have to draw a lot.

Back to the more probable variants: If Japan loses against Costa Rica, that also has an impact on the German situation. Then an end to Spain on Sunday is impossible. Even in the event of a defeat, the DFB team would still have a chance of qualifying for the knockout stage with just three points.

Conclusion: The situation for the German team is difficult, but not hopeless. And what is still possible after a defeat at the start was shown by the upcoming opponent at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Back then, the Spaniards lost their first game against Switzerland in a similarly surprising way as Germany does against Japan, but then won their other six games and ended up becoming world champions.

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