Most people likely had Costa Rica written off after a nighmarish result in their opener against Spain, but Los Ticos rebounded with a gutsy win over Japan and still have hope on making the knockouts after Germany’s late equalizer with Spain in a 1-1 draw.
COSTA RICA 1, JAPAN 0
Keysher Fuller's late goal in the 81st minute secures all three points for Costa Rica against Japan!— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) November 27, 2022
Rewatch Costa Rica's last-minute heroics in our 90' in 90" highlights ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/I4FtZVk5Z0
For most of this game, it seemed like it was just a matter of time before Costa Rica’s valiant defense was breached by the Blue Samurai. Numerous blocked shots and free kicks held Japan at bay despite a 13-4 shot advantage on the night. In the end, the Ticos capitalized on the slightest of errors.
Fullback Keysher Fuller became the advance striker when a poor clearance turnover in the attacking third left him all alone at the top of the box. A touch to put the shot onto his left foot, a looping and possibly slightly deflected drive found it’s way through the outstretched palms of Shuichi Gonda and into the back of the net for an 81st minute winner.
Fuller’s winner was the only shot on target for Costa Rica on the night, as Japan held a 57-43% edge in possession.
SPAIN 1, GERMANY 1
Álvaro Morata steps up again from the bench for Spain to secure a 1-1 draw against Germany in the 2022 FIFA World Cup— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) November 27, 2022
Relive all the back-and-forth action in our 90' in 90" highlights ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/C55GIhAIWb
Coming off an impressive opening display, it was Spain who controlled most of the ball on the day though Germany would argue they had the better chances.
It was Spain with the first big chance as Dani Olmo had a long range shot saved onto the crossbar by Manuel Neuer in the 7th minute. Ferran Torres would see a ball come all the way through the box only to have his shot blocked away in the 35th. Minutes later Antonio Rudiger would head home a free kick only to have the offside flag come up and rule it out.
On the other side of halftime, Joshua Kimmich got an opportunity after a sloppy giveaway from Spain out of the back only for Unai Simon to parry it away. Substitute Alvaro Morata came on in the 54th and just eight minutes later was the one to find the breakthrough with a darting near post run and close range finish above Neuer.
Germany would push hard for an equalizer, with several good chances but it was eventually Niclas Fullkrug, a 29 year old striker who made his international debut in a friendly right before the tournament as an in-form callup with 10 goals this season for Werder Bremen, who knocked home the equalizer. Jamal Musiala tried to turn with the ball in the box, but was slightly off balance and Fullkrug overtook the ball and laced home a strike into the top corner.
SPAIN: 1W-0L-1D, 4 pts, +7 GD
JAPAN: 1W-1L-0D, 3 pts, 0 GD
COSTA RICA: 1W-1L-0D, 3 pts, -6 GD
GERMANY: 0W-1L-1D, 1 pt, -1 GD
Group E Scenarios— Orri Benatar (@obenatar512) November 27, 2022
v / v
GER W / ESP W =
GER W / JPN W =
GER W / Draw =
CRC W / ESP W =
CRC W / JPN W = (1st on GD)
CRC W / Draw =
Draw / ESP W =
Draw / JPN W = (2nd on GD)
Draw / Draw =
Somehow there is still a scenario that exists where Costa Rica can win this group outright, which was mathematically unlikely after their opening loss. But at six points, they could win the group over Spain if they fail to win their final game against Japan. If both Japan and Costa Rica win goal difference would come into play to see who tops the group and would likely see the Blue Samurai in first. This group has not disappointed as far as chaos and drama and the final matchday should be no different,
Group E wraps up on Thursday, December 1st at 2pm EDT with Costa Rica-Germany and Japan-Spain.