Day of the Underdogs: Germany, Belgium Out

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Matchday 12: Thursday, December 1, 2022

By Gerald Lutchman

IT was a day for the underdogs as Japan and Morocco top their groups and Belgium and Germany were sent home. The match between Germany and Costa Rica was one of the best in a virtual knockout.

Japan stunned Spain in a controversial fashion as VAR had determined the ball was still in play and the goal must be counted. Canada ended the tournament as expected with no points and were beaten by all the teams.

Group E – Final standings

      Team Games Wins Draws Losses Goal+/- Points
Q Japan 3 2 0 1 +1 6
Q Spain 3 1 1 1 +6 4
  Germany 3 1 1 1 +1 4
  Costa Rica 3 1 0 2 -8 3


Germany 4 vs Costa Rica 2

It was a must-win game for Germany and they needed to come out on top by a large margin. They almost pulled it off. They would have also needed Spain to beat Japan to qualify. In a thriller of a game, Germany came out on top but must still kiss the World Cup goodbye- the second time in consecutive tournaments that they were eliminated in the first round.

Germany dominated with 69% possession, 32 shots at goal with 11 on target. They meant business and knew they needed to beat Costa Rica by at least six clear goals. Taking a one-goal lead into the half-time it seemed that Germany had things all planned. By the 70th minute, Germany found themselves behind and facing defeat. Serge Gnabry started it in the 10th minute with a good strike. After the half-time, Costa Rica scored two in 12 minutes to take the lead. Yelstin Tejeda 58th) got the equalizer and Manuel Neuer (70th) with an own goal.

Kai Havertz (73rd and 85th ) came off the bench and scored twice to restore Germany’s lead . Niclas Fullkrug got the fourth in the 89th. It was not enough and they are now out.

Japan 2 vs Spain 1

This could be considered a strange game where Japan only had 18% of the possession but still beat Spain. This one also had a very controversial goal with Japan’s second, seemingly coming from a ball that went out of play. Thanks to VAR Japan secured a win.

Japan, not only won but also led the group and will now face Croatia in the next round. Alvarez Morata (11th) gave Spain the lead and it seemed that it would have been a walk in the park for Spain. In the second half, much as they did against Germany, Japan were a different team. This pressure resulted in two goals- Ritsu Doan (48th) and Ao Tanka (51st).

Group F – final standings

      Team Games Wins Draws Losses Goal+/- Points
Q Morocco 3 2 1 0 +3 7
Q Croatia 3 1 2 0 +3 5
  Belgium 3 1 1 1 -1 4
  Canada   3 0 0 3 -5 0


Croatia 0 vs Belgium 0

If a loss can be blamed on one person, his name will be Romelu Lukaku. He had three open goal chances and missed all. How is that possible for a striker who is supposed to be one of the best in the world. These were not hard chances that may have been scored but should have been scored.

In a game that was open as both sides were looking to ensure progress, neither could get the ball into the net. The chances that were created by Belgium were very easy and all were muffled. In a mostly-even game, Belgium should have won.

Croatia move on to face Japan next.

Morocco 2 vs Canada 1

Morocco beat Canada with goals from Hakim Ziyech (4th) and Youssef En – Neysri (23rd) while Canada got on the score sheet virtue of an own goal by Nayef Aguerd (40th). Morocco amazingly have topped this group even though there were the power hitters Croatia and Belgium. They face Spain next.

This was the least exciting game of the day.

Friday’s games predictions:

Group H – both at 11 am

Portugal 2 vs South Korea 1

Uruguay 2 vs Ghana 1

Group G – both at 3 pm

Serbia 0 vs Switzerland 0

Brazil 3 vs Cameroon 0



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