Niclas Füllkrug secured a point for Germany as their World Cup dream lives on. Hansi Flick’s side can advance to the knockout stages with a win against Costa Rica, should Spain also beat Japan on Thursday.
In what was an intense opening 10 minutes, Spain had the better chances and Manuel Neuer was forced into an excellent save to deny Dani Olmo. As Germany gained a foothold on the game, their confidence increased and Flick would have been the happier of the two coaches heading into the break at 0-0.
In truth, both teams were wasteful in possession but Germany pressed well. Thomas Müller as the No. 9 was ineffective despite runners from midfield. It was Luis Enrique that blinked first, bringing on Álvaro Morata who would open the scoring. Criticised for his substitutions against Japan, they paid off against Spain. Hansi Flick brought on Lukas Klostermann, Leroy Sané and Füllkrug in a triple change and instantly, Germany looked a step above.
After making his Germany debut last week, Füllkrug would score his first goal for Die Mannschaft in his third appearance, and his first at a World Cup. The Werder Bremen forward’s story continues and remains an excellent option off the bench. It’s not set in stone yet, but Germany now have an excellent opportunity to advance to the knockout stages.
How the Germans fared
Manuel Neuer, 6 – His appearance tonight ties him Brazil’s Cláudio Taffarel (in 1998) and Germany’s Sepp Maier (1978) for the most World Cup appearances as a goalkeeper (18). Made an incredible save to deny Dani Olmo in the seventh minute and in truth, had very little to do. Couldn’t have done much with Alvaro Morata’s goal.
Thilo Kehrer, 3 – A real problem area for Germany. Has become Mr. Reliable for Hansi Flick, playing in 15 of his 18 games in charge of Germany but struggled against Olmo, and was shown a yellow card. Failed to close Jordi Alba down quick enough for Spain’s goal and moments later was caught out of position which allowed Spain another chance. Substituted for Lukas Klostermann, who could be with a chance of starting against Costa Rica on Thursday.
Niklas Süle, 5 – Played at right-back against Japan and shifted alongside Antonio Rüdiger in central defence tonight with Nico Schlotterbeck dropped to the bench. Had very little to do but should have done better for Morata’s goal – again, Germany conceded for not being physical enough in their duels.
Antonio Rüdiger, 6
David Raum, 5 – So often in the last 18 months Raum has showcased what an excellent crosser of the ball he is but in a Germany top, he’s struggled to replicate his domestic form. Also a defensive liability and had Robin Gosens traveled to Qatar, it’s unlikely that Raum would feature. A defensive liability with a lot to work on.
Joshua Kimmich, 6
Leon Goretzka, 7 – Germany’s engine room. When at full speed, Goretzka is difficult to stop and he showcased that in the first-half. Drove forward with the ball and found Serge Gnabry, who strayed fractionally offside. His performance tonight will certainly give Flick a selection headache in midfield against Costa Rica.
Serge Gnabry, 6
Ilkay Gündogan, 5 – Was tasked with providing support for Thomas Müller but struggled tonight in a more advanced role ahead of Kimmich and Goretzka. Failed to impose himself on the game despite a couple of neat flicks.
Jamal Musiala, 7 – Germany’s best player on the night, the 19-year-old again showcased to the world just how good he is. From his very touch, Spain were quick onto Musiala with three players surrounding the Bayern Munich player but he still evaded the opposition, remained composed, and found a teammate. Always looked to progress the ball and is already an early contender for Young Player of the Tournament.
Thomas Müller, 3 – A quiet night for the Bayern Munich forward, who could have tied Jürgen Klinsmann (11) for goals in a World Cup. Made just 8 passes in the first-half and was ineffective as Germany’s No. 9. It’s known that he’s far better suited to playing off a striker and so to see him start, was a surprise. Replaced Niclas Füllkrug.
Others: Niclas Füllkrug (7), Lukas Klostermann (5), Leroy Sané (6), Jonas Hofmann (-), Nico Schlotterbeck (-)
GGFN | Daniel Pinder