Spain 1 – 1 Germany
(Group E, Al Bayt Stadium, 27/11/2022)
In their defeat by Japan, Germany’s performance was a little disappointing. After an opening 7-0 win, even if against largely unfancied opposition, Spain would have been buoyant. However, Germany have never lost two consecutive World Cup group stage games (even when going out bottom of their group in 2018). Costa Rica’s earlier surprise win over Japan meant that a German victory would leave all teams in the group on three points, with everything still to play for. A point would not see them eliminated but would make going through a difficult task. Otherwise, the Germans would be going home.
Azpilicueta and Havertz both dropped down to the beach for this game.
7 minutes. A great chance. The ball reaches Gavi in a central position just outside the D. He touches it left to to Asensio. Asensio moves it left again to Olmo. Olmo hits a great right-foot strike. Great save by Neuer diving to his left, palming the ball onto the bar and away. The shot was fairly central, but still good goalkeeping. Very nearly 1-0 to Spain.
10 minutes. Rudiger plays ball out of defence to Musiala. Musiala’s diagonal ball forward finds Gundogan who touches it beyond Busquets to Goretzke, centrally positioned just short of halfway. With options either side, Goretzke surges forward through the Spanish half, plays the ball to the right inside Alba. Gnabry runs on to the ball and shoots. Gnabry’s effort was blocked by the advancing Simon. Off-side is given – Gnabry’s run had taken him just beyond the last defender.
21 minutes. A German clearance ultimately finds Busquets via Carvajal on the right. In the centre just beyond halfway, Busquets sweeps the ball out left for Alba. Alba cuts inside Kehrer, shooting narrowly wide on his weaker right foot. No great danger – Neuer had it covered.
24 minutes. Simon’s kick towards Carvajal is intercepted by Raum. The ball deflects off the head of Musiala allowing Rodri to clear towards halfway. Suele beats Asensio to the ball pushing it to Musiala. Musiala touches it inside for Mueller. Mueller finds Gundogan, but a poor touch attempting to cut inside Laporte allows Rodri to tap back to Simon to clear. Simon’s shocking clearance only finds Gnabry just outside the right-hand corner of box. Controlling the ball and cutting inside Pedri with his right foot, Gnabry tries to curl the ball inside the far post with his weaker left foot. Not enough whip on the shot which goes wide.
33 minutes. A ball down the left finds Olmo running clear of the German defenders. Olmo’s cross, as Neuer hesitates, finds Torres running in, plumb centre of the goal ten yards out. With Neuer struggling to regain his as position, Torres put a first-time, left foot effort well over bar. A glorious chanced missed. What a plum! Off-side was given, saving the striker’s embarrassment. Olmo, running in the inside-right channel between the German right- and centre-backs had taken the ball in a position marginally beyond the German defenders.
39 minutes. Gundogan’s header finds Goretzke inside the centre circle in his own half. His diagonal ball out to the right wing finds Gnabry who is fouled. The free kick, taken by Kimmich, goes over the head of Laporte. Rudiger, stooping low in front of Alba, heads into the net. A VAR check for a possible off-side sees the goal disallowed. Rudiger started his run a shade too early.
There were no half time substitutions.
56 minutes. As the Spaniards are trying to play the ball out from the back, the Germans press with Kimmich sliding in to win the ball from Pedri on the edge of the box. The ball breaks left to Gundogan. His first touch wrong-foots Busquets. Gundogan turns and squares it back to Kimmich in space near the penalty spot. Kimmich shoots first-time. Simon saves. That was not the first time Spain had been dispossessed trying to play out of defence.
62 minutes. Goal to Spain. In a central position just past the centre circle Busquets plays diagonal ball forward to the left. Olmo feeds the ball on to Alba. Alba sends a low ball into the area in front of the near post. Morata (on for Torres) gets in front of Suele deftly beating Neuer with the outside of his right foot. A really good, tidy finish to a flowing move. A lovely touch – a real poacher’s goal. The Spaniards take the lead.
65 minutes. Having won the ball just inside his own half Alba pushes the ball out left to Olmo in acres of room. He takes the ball approaching the area before cutting the ball back across the edge of the box. Gavi leaves the ball, effectively making a dummy run. It reaches Asensio with no defenders near him. Asensio blazes over. Just as bad a miss as Torres’ was in the first half. Asensio really should have put Spain two up.
73 minutes. The Germans are pushing hard for an equaliser. Just short of halfway, Suele, running out of defence, slides a precise diagonal pass past two Spaniards to find Musiala on the right wing. Musiala beats Alba and then Olmo, running on to centre low across the 6-yard box. Fuellkrug (on for Mueller) gets in front of Rodri but misses the ball which hits Rodri and goes out for a goal kick off the German number 9. A similar situation to the Morata goal, but where Morata’s timing had been impeccable, Fuellkrug’s timing was not. Simon’s kick finds Morata in midfield. He heads the ball out aimlessly. Klostermann (on for Kehrer) takes the throw-in quickly finding Sane (on for Gundogan). Sane evades challenges from Alba and Pedri to play an astute reverse pass forward into the box between Busquets and the retreating Alba. Musiala runs in steadying himself to shoot first-time. The ball hits Simon and loops up into the air. Goretzke heads the ball up in the direction of the penalty spot. Sane and Laporte challenge for the ball. Laporte just gets there first, but his header reaches Raum. Raum’s touch finds Gnabry. With his back to goal, Gnabry controls with his chest before swivelling to hit a shot on the volley. A deflection wins Germany a corner. Fuellkrug heads Raum’s corner harmlessly over. An action-packed 60 seconds.
83 minutes. Klostermann runs down the right wing touching the ball inside to Sane. Sane pushes the ball forward to the edge of the area where Musiala and Balde (on for Alba) tussle for the ball. As it breaks Fuellkrug takes the ball away from Musiala with his left foot before thumping it into the top left corner of the net with his right. An emphatic finish. The Germans celebrate with the substitutes all leaping onto the pitch. Since coming on, Fuellkrug’s physical presence has made a difference. This was his second international goal, coming within a fortnight of making a scoring debut as something of a veteran.
90+5 minutes. A long clearance finds Rudiger, who sends the ball high into the air. Kimmich and Fuellkrug go up for it, but it is Kimmich’s header that finds Musiala. Musiala runs towards the left wing. Williams challenges Musiala as he attempts to find Raum. The ball falls to Carvajal. Before Raum can get to him, Carvajal stretches to knock it forward to Williams running on. From inside his own half, Williams surges down the right wing chased by Goetzke. Goretzke ends the Williams run by sliding in and diverting the ball to Rudiger. His first-time pass finds Hofmann who knocks the ball straight back to Goretzke. His first-time ball finds Schlotterbeck by the left touchline just past halfway. His pass plays in Sane, running behind Rodri and Laporte. Sane has a chance to win the game for Germany but is forced wide by the advancing Simon. Sane barely keeps the ball from running out of play, and his attempt to cut the ball back to Fuellkrug only hits Rodri, going out for a corner. Kimmich’s kick is well taken by Simon amidst a crowd of players. A bit of drama right at the death.
Azpilicueta and Havertz remained unused substitutes.
With much more possession and some really good chances, Spain will rue not being able to build a consolidated lead. Germany will be pleased that their late equalizer salvaged a point, but they would have wanted more from a game in which they had more attempts and more shots on target than their opponents. Musiala, again, impressed for the Germans whose resilience leaves them still in with a fighting chance to progress. They have work to do: they must win their last game and rely on Japan losing theirs. They would expect to beat Costa Rica, but so too would have Japan. In a tournament that has had its fair share of surprises, the outcome of this group is not easily predictable.
Posted by the CSG’s World Cup Willie