3 Germany players who performed and 2 who underperformed against Spain | 2022 FIFA World Cup
Looking to bounce back from their shocking defeat to Japan, Germany took on Group E rivals Spain in their second 2022 FIFA World Cup fixture on Sunday night (27 November). The four-time winners fought long and hard to nick a win, but could not find a way through, ultimately settling for a 1-1 draw.
Alvaro Morata scored Spain’s goal while Niclas Fullkrug netted the equalizer for Germany. The draw at the Al Bayt Stadium has put them in fourth place in Group B, leaving them with all to do in their final game against Costa Rica.
Hansi Flick’s side struggled to get a foothold in the opening exchanges, with Spain dominating proceedings with their slick passing and unpredictable movement. La Roja created their first opportunity in the fifth minute.
Receiving a pass from Marco Asensio, Dani Olmo went for Germany’s goal with a stunning drive. Manuel Neuer was seemingly caught out with the strike and nearly let it creep in. The crossbar ultimately came to the Bayern Munich goalkeeper's rescue and kept the game level.
German star Serge Gnabry went for goal in the 10th minute, drawing an excellent save from Unai Simon. The Bayern Munich man, however, had veered offside in the build-up, causing the linesman to deem the attack illegitimate.
In the 24th minute, Simon cheaply gave the ball away to Gnarby towards the right side. The Bayern ace went for goal with a left-footed effort, but could not keep it on target. Sixteen minutes later, Germany hit the back of the net, courtesy of Antonio Rudiger’s thumping header from a corner. VAR checked the goal for offside and eventually ruled it out.
Germany started the second half with vigor, moving the ball around much quicker than they did in the first 45. Eleven minutes into the second half, Ilkay Gundogan intercepted a poor pass from Simon and squared it to Joshua Kimmich. The Bayern Munich midfielder promptly went for goal but saw his shot saved by Simon.
In the 62nd minute, Germany found themselves a goal behind, courtesy of a smart Jordi Alba pass and a superb Alvaro Morata strike. The 2014 FIFA World Cup winners nearly got the equalizer 12 minutes after going a goal down. Jamal Musiala was found in acres of space in the Spanish box and aimed to find the top corner of Simon’s goal. The Spanish goalkeeper, however, read his intentions and stuck his arm out to deny him.
In the 80th minute, Flick’s men won a free-kick just outside the box. Kimmich took the free kick but could not take it over the Spanish wall. Three minutes later, substitute Fullkrug finally equalized for Mannschaft, applying a searing finish after collecting the ball from Musiala.
In the final minute of injury time, substitute Leroy Sane went on a searing run, threatening to break the deadlock. Simon, however, read his run and forced him to deviate by blocking his path. Germany won a corner out of it, which ultimately came to nothing.
Here are three German players who impressed and two who looked shaky in their 1-1 draw with Spain on Sunday:
Performed: Leroy Sane
Leroy Sane was not fit enough to start against Spain but made quite an impact coming off the bench in the 70th minute. He impressed onlookers with his dribbling, taking the fight to the 2010 World Cup winners time and time again. The Bayern Munich man would most likely have scored the winning goal had Simon not rushed off his line to put pressure on him in the final minute of the game.
Sane played one key pass, created a big chance, and completed two dribbles against Luis Enrique’s side. He also won two ground duels and completed five passes (50% accuracy).
Underperformed: Ilkay Gundogan
Ilkay Gundogan was given the responsibility of joining the attack with the midfield in Germany's second 2022 FIFA World Cup encounter. The Manchester City man only looked good in patches, spending most of the night trying to play between the lines.
Gundogan completed only 12 ground passes (66.7% accuracy) against La Roja on Sunday. He misplaced his only attempted long ball, lost possession 12 times, and did not even manage to get one of his shots away.
Performed: Niclas Fullkrug
Coming on for Thomas Muller in the 70th minute, Niclas Fullcrug completely changed the scenery of the game. He established himself as the focal point of the German attack and got them back level with a superb strike in the 82nd minute. Snatching the ball off Musiala inside the box, Fullkrug carved out a little opening and then went for goal with a piledriver of a strike. Simon could not do anything to keep it from going in.
Fullkrug held his ground rather well, winning two ground duels and an aerial duel. He also completed a dribble, drew a foul, and played five accurate passes.
Underperformed: Thomas Muller
One of the most experienced players on the team, Thomas Muller, was picked ahead of Kai Havertz to lead the German attack on Sunday. The veteran forward failed to live up to expectations, spending most of his night on the fringes, never posing a threat to the Spanish backline.
In his 18th FIFA World Cup fixture, Muller neither lodged any shots nor did he play a key pass. He lost all five of his duels, completed only eight passes (66.7% accuracy), lost possession eight times, and was caught offside twice. The FIFA World Cup aspirants played a lot better after he was hooked in the 70th minute.
Performed: Jamal Musiala
The youngest German player on the pitch, Jamal Musiala was easily Die Mannschaft’s standout performer against Spain on Sunday. The miss in the 74th minute aside, Musiala pretty much did everything right. He created openings at will, took the fight to the Spaniards with his bendy runs, and combined superbly with his teammates. Of course, it was his excellent turn-and-dash into the Spanish box that created Fullkrug’s equalizer.
The 19-year-old midfielder played three key passes, completed a cross, created a big chance, and completed five dribbles against Spain in his second FIFA World Cup appearance. Additionally, he won eight ground duels, drew three fouls, blocked a shot, and made an interception.