Loss to Japan: How the DFB team reached the knockout stage

World Cup 2022 in Qatar
Before the game against Spain: How Germany can still reach the knockout stages

In the luxury resort of Zulal, Hansi Flick is pondering a possible constellation in Group E and a new line-up for his team against Spain. The photo is from the days before the start of the German World Cup.

© Federico Gambarini / DPA

The German national team has put itself in a bad starting position due to the defeat against Japan. Reaching the round of 16 now depends on many factors. Even victories against Spain and Costa Rica could mean the end.

The defeat against Japan (1:2) put a damper on German enthusiasm for the World Cup. The mood is in the basement, especially in the luxury World Cup quarters of the German team in the middle of nowhere in the Qatar desert, the mood should be bad. On the one hand, the German team’s defeat at the start put them in a difficult starting position for the remaining two group games against Spain and Costa Rica. On the other hand, national coach Hansi Flick has to ponder a line-up and tactics that are successful against Spain. It is hardly conceivable that he will send the same team onto the pitch next Sunday.

Flick and his coaching team will also play through possible constellations in the group. Which results help the German team to reach the round of 16 despite the bad starting position. The problem is: It can get complicated.

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It is even conceivable that Japan, Spain and Germany will end up tied with six points (for Costa Rica this is rather unlikely for sporting reasons), then the goal difference would be decisive. It is also possible that Germany will be eliminated from the tournament after the game next Sunday. Basically, anything but a win will make progress difficult. Then the team would be dependent on the other results, but even with two wins (against Spain and Costa Rica) progression is not guaranteed. Losing is forbidden anyway.

These are the possible configurations:

Germany wins against Spain

Then everything depends on the last game against Costa Rica. With another win you would have the tournament in your own hands. Then it could be goal difference versus Japan and Spain if all teams have six points.

Germany draws against Spain

In this case, Japan should not win against Costa Rica. Japan would also need to beat Spain and Germany, with a thumping win over Costa Rica, would come back from eight goals behind Spain to finish second in the group.

If Japan draws against Costa Rica, Germany will no longer have it in their own hands. Then Spain and Japan (4 points) could distance the DFB-Elf (1) with a draw in a direct duel, regardless of the German result against Costa Rica. Advancement would be possible if there is a winner in the match between Spain and Japan.

Should Japan lose against Costa Rica, the DFB-Elf could in turn take second place with a win against Costa Rica.

Germany loses to Spain

Then the DFB-Elf can start the journey home if Japan first scores a point against Costa Rica.

The round of 16 is only possible if Costa Rica beats Japan first. Then the DFB-Elf would have to win against Costa Rica and Japan would have to lose against Spain. The team from the trio of Germany, Japan and Costa Rica with the best goal difference would be through with three points as group runners-up. At the World Cup, if there is a tie, the better goal difference decides first and not the direct comparison.

With material from DPA

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