Thanks to a well-earned draw against Spain and a huge favour from Costa Rica, Germany have a chance of qualifying from Group E despite a rocky start. It’s simple, Germany must beat Costa Rica and hope that Japan don’t get a result against Spain. Should Japan draw, it will come down to goal difference.
Germany’s problems have been well documented. They’ve struggled at the back at times and have missed having a focal point up front. Against Costa Rica, Die Mannschaft should have a strong enough defence to keep the opposition forwards at bay. The main focus for this game will be on the German frontline and getting on the scoresheet as soon as possible to calm any nerves.
With Costa Rica, it’s unsure what to expect. They were appalling in their opener against Spain, losing 7-0, but then earned a fabulous 1-0 victory over Japan. In truth, most people will be expecting a similar result to the first game. However, if there is one thing we have learnt from Group E it’s to expect the unexpected.
Hansi Flick had the pleasure of reintroducing Leroy Sané against Spain on Sunday and the winger is fit for this crucial match. Should Sané start on Thursday, it would allow Jamal Musiala (19) to move into the number ten position behind the main forward. Musiala has been Germany’s standout player this tournament and will be key to any success his nation has in Qatar.
In terms of the starting 11, Flick has to decide who he uses as his main centre forward. Against Spain, he used Thomas Müller who didn’t the best of games. However, Werder Bremen’s Niclas Füllkrug came off the bench and scored the all-important equaliser. Füllkrug, who has spent most of his career in the 2. Bundesliga, has had a remarkable 12 months and could very well lead his country into a crucial World Cup tie. Many believe that Flick will award Füllkrug with his first competitive start.
GGFN | Jamie Allen