Four-time champions Germany have crashed out of the football FIFA World Cup in Qatar in the group stage, despite a 4-2 victory over Costa Rica.
The elimination on Thursday came as Japan stunned Spain 2-1 in the other Group E match, a result that handed those two teams a spot in the Round of 16.
Germany and Spain both took early leads in their games, results which would have put Hansi Flick’s side through. But it all changed in the second half, with Japan scoring two quick goals against the Spaniards.
Costa Rica also equalized against Germany who then hit the post three times before Juan Vargas put the Central Americans ahead.
That would have put Costa Rica through at the expense of Spain but substitute Kai Havertz scored twice and Niclas Fullkrug got another goal.
“I believe for the future of German football we need to do things differently in training,” said Flick, who took over as coach after last year’s European Championship. “For years we are talking about new goalkeepers and wingbacks, but Germany was always able to defend well. We need the basics.
“For the future, for the next 10 years, it is very important to focus on the new generation of players.”
It was only eight years ago that Germany won its fourth World Cup title, beating an Argentina team led by Lionel Messi in his prime in the final at the Maracana Stadium. With that victory, Germany became the only European team to win a World Cup in either North or South America.
It is the second World Cup in a row in which Germany has been eliminated in the group stage. Germany finished third in the Group E standings, behind Spain on goal difference, with Japan top following their 2-1 win over the Spaniards. The result left Japan facing Croatia in the last 16, while Spain will take on Morocco.