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Niclas Fullkrug late goal keeps Germany afloat in World Cup

Substitute Niklas Fuellkrug thundered in an 83rd-minute goal to cancel out Spain's lead and earn the four-time world champions their first point from two matches following their shock opening loss to Japan.

Germany's Niclas Fullkrug celebrates scoring their first goal. (Reuters)

Substitute Niklas Fuellkrug’s 83rd-minute goal kept Germany’s hopes of staying afloat in the World Cup after a battling 1-1 draw against Spain. They will face Costa Rica on Thursday, which they must win.

Niklas Fuellkrug thundered in an 83rd-minute goal to cancel out Spain’s lead and earn the four-time world champions their first point from two matches following their shock-opening loss to Japan.

Germany looked to be in severe danger of repeating their group stage failure of 2018 in Russia when Alvato Morata, eight minutes after coming on from the bench, handed Spain the lead by neatly flicking in a cross from Jordi Alba in the 62nd minute.

In the 83rd minute, they battled back into contention as Leroy Sane took advantage of a poor defensive clearance to feed Jamal Musiala who turned between two Spain defenders, with the ball falling to Fuellkrug who fired high into the net.

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The Werder Bremen forward, who won his first cap earlier this month after a string of goals in the Bundesliga, had replaced Thomas Mueller 13 minutes earlier as Germany desperately sought an equaliser.

Spain hasn’t lost to Germany in an official competition since the 1988 European Championship. The Germans lost to Spain 6-0 the last time they met, in the Nations League two years ago. Germany’s last win against “La Roja” came in a friendly eight years ago.

It was the fifth meeting between the powerhouses at World Cups, with Spain winning the most recent one 1-0 in the semifinals of the 2010 tournament in South Africa.

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Scenario for Germany and Spain

Spain’s next match is against Japan at Khalifa International Stadium, while Germany returns to Al Bayt Stadium to face Costa Rica. Both matches will be played Thursday at the same time.

If both Germany and Spain win, both will advance. If there is a draw in the Japan-Spain match, Germany will need to overcome a goal-difference deficit against the Japanese. If Japan is victorious, then the Germans will have to top Spain — which beat Costa Rica 7-0 — on goal difference to get through.

First published on: 28-11-2022 at 07:30 IST
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