Costa Rica 2-4 Germany: Match report, player ratings, expert analysis, fan reaction and more

Goals from second-half substitutes Kai Havertz and Niclas Füllkrug were not enough to stop the damn from busting open as Germany have crashed out of the group stage once again

The German football world has been rocked to its core for the second time in four years after Nationalelf earned a meaningless 4-2 win over Costa Rica and has been sent crashing out of the 2022 World Cup in the group stage, repeating the heartbreak of Russia 2018.

Warning signs that were evident and glaring during the latest UEFA Nations League cycle were followed up by a turgid narrow 1-0 win over Oman in their warm-up match before the tournament began, with many feeling as though Germany could struggle once again this tournament despite the wealth of talent under former Bayern Munich boss Hansi Flick. After reaching the knockout stage in every World Cup they were present for between 1938 and 2014 (banned from the 1950 tournament), consecutive shock performances will now be one of the talking points of world football.

Germany expectedly started on the front foot and tested Keylor Navas inside the first two minutes to earn their first corner of the night as Hansi Flick’s outfit was intent on righting the wrongs this winter as well as four years ago.

The four-time World Cup champions got off to the flying start they were hoping for in the tenth minute after Costa Rica gave away possession at the halfway line before wunderkind Jamal Musiala drove up the pitch before laying off to David Raum for the RB Leipzig left-back to flat his ball to the top of the six-yard box to see Serge Gnabry head home past Navas.

Chances kept coming at a consistent rate for Germany but the European juggernaut was unable to make it two to the good before a scare late on in the first half that saw Keysher Fuller pounce on a mistake from Antonio Rüdiger in the defensive third and nearly find the equalizer before Manuel Neuer stood tall to turn his rasping effort over the bar from close range.

A change before the resumption of action saw Leon Goretzka removed and Joshua Kimmich pushed back into midfield with Lukas Klostermann coming in at right-back and Flick was once again forced to make a change when he brought on Niclas Füllkrug for Ilkay Gündogan after news filtered through that Japan had come back to take a 2-1 lead against Spain in a result that would see Germany crash out during the group stage in consecutive tournaments.

The situation went from bad to worse in the 59th minute when Yeltson Tejeda scored his first international goal for Costa Rica to pull matters level at one-all after the Ticos hit Germany on a quick counter before the 30-year-old slotted home from inside six yards after Neuer saved the initial effort from close range. Germany then hit the post through Jamal Musiala just one minute later after beating Navas from a tight angle as the match began to open up even more with Die Mannschaft desperate for goals.

Musiala then struck woodwork at the far post seven minutes later after soundly beating Navas from outside the box with a well-struck curling effort just after Flick made two more changes that saw the introduction of Kai Havertz and returning veteran presence Mario Götze. But those changes once again would prove ominous for all the wrong reasons when Costa Rica took a shock 2-1 lead in the 70th minute when Juan Pablo Vargas sprawled out to tap home between Neuer’s legs after a loose ball found him six yards out after a free-kick was nodded into the area.

Kai Havertz had other ideas, however, when the Chelsea forward put Havertz into space in the box after a lovely one-touch for the Blues man to slot past Navas to pull matters back level at two goals a piece. Havertz would ghost in at the back post in the 85th minute to bag a brace off the bench to give Germany a lifeline after Serge Gnabry turned provider with a fantastic curling ball across the face of goal for the former Bayer Leverkusen starlet to tap in from close range once again before Füllkrug once again scored off the substitutes bench to make it 4-2 to the Germans.

Germany’s efforts in the second half would not bear fruit come full-time, however, after the European giants crashed out of the group once again in what is arguably even more embarrassing fashion than four years ago, and the inquest will surely begin in earnest starting at the post-match quest conference as German football has taken another hit to its prestige.

Costa Rica Player Ratings

  • Keylor Navas (GK): 7
  • Óscar Duarte (RCB): 6
  • Kendall Waston (CB): 6.5
  • Juan Pablo Vargas (LCB): 7
  • Keysher Fuller (RWB): 6.5
  • Bryan Oviedo (LWB): 6
  • Celso Borges (CM): 6.5
  • Yeltsin Tejeda (CM): 7
  • Brandon Aguilera (RAM): 6
  • Joel Campbell (LAM): 6.5
  • Johan Venegas (CF): 6
  • Youstin Salas (Sub): 6.5
  • Jewison Bennette (Sub): 6
  • Ronald Matarrita (Sub): 6
  • Anthony Contreras (Sub): 6
  • Roan Wilson (Sub): 6

Germany Player Ratings

  • Manuel Neuer (GK): 6 - An error leading to goal at a key moment for Germany is not the performance Neuer was hoping for on the night he became the most-capped player in World Cup history.
  • Joshua Kimmich (RB): 7.5 - Performed both at right-back and in the heart of midfield tonight and is one of a handful of players who have been good in all three matches.
  • Niklas Süle (CB): 6 - Another somewhat questionable outing for the Borussia Dortmund defender who should probably be under threat in terms of his place in the squad.
  • Antonio Rüdiger (CB): 6 - Hit woodwork with an effort of his own but overall his performance at center-back will certainly be placed under the microscope.
  • David Raum (LB): 7 - A good outing from the RB Leipzig left-back who provided the assist on Gnabry’s opener and has generally looked good all tournament.
  • Ilkay Gündogan (CM): 6.5 - The Manchester City star is so often one of Germany’s top performers but he was somewhat muted on the night in the deciding fixture.
  • Leon Goretzka (CM): 6 - A star he may be for Bayern, but Goretzka has not looked in top form this winter for Germany and was removed at half-time on merit.
  • Jamal Musiala (CAM): 8.5 - Unable to get a goal or an assist on the night despite his valiant efforts but his immense performance was par for the course for Musiala this tournament.
  • Serge Gnabry (RW): 8.5 - A goal and an assist from the Bayern Munich star and maybe could have had even more. He certainly did what was required.
  • Leroy Sané (LW): 7 - Direct and effective on the ball as he so typically is and added an assist to his name on the night.
  • Thomas Müller (CF): 6 - Tasked as a number 9 once again, Müller may be one of the best players in German history but his failure to perform in that role is not down to him.
  • Lukas Klostermann (Sub): 6.5 - Perhaps unlucky to not be given a start after Kimmich was shifted to right-back. Certainly was better than Süle when he featured there.
  • Niclas Füllkrug (Sub): 8 - A goal and an assist in another fantastic appearance off the bench will lead the inquest into some of Flick’s selections.
  • Kai Havertz (Sub): 8 - A brace off the bench could do little to secure Germany passage into the next round but he was lethal when given his chances.
  • Mario Götze (Sub): 7 - A pretty solid appearance off the bench for the veteran creative midfielder who offered enough to help Germany push for goals.
  • Matthias Ginter (Sub): N/A - Came on for a few minutes of stoppage-time action.

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Andrew Thompson

US-based Football writer. German football guru with a wealth of experience in youth development and analysis. Data aficionado. Happily championing the notion that Americans have a knowledgeable voice in the beautiful game.

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