Germany and Spain squared off in Group E action on Sunday with Hansi Flick’s squad fighting back to keep their World Cup hopes alive.
Nicklas Fullkrug’s 83rd minute equalizer helped the Germans earn one point against Spain in a 1-1 draw. VAR ruled out an opening goal for Germany while Alvaro Morata’s second-half goal had propelled Spain in front.
Fullkrug came off the bench to help Germany tie things up with seven minutes to go. The veteran forward steamed upfield before taking the ball off of Jamal Musiala’s foot and blasting past Unai Simon.
Morata got on the end of Jordi Alba’s cross in the 62nd minute to break the deadlock, propelling Spain in front at the time.
Antonio Rudiger’s headed finish in the 40th minute looked to have given Germany a first-half lead, but VAR ruled that the veteran centerback was offsides. Joshua Kimmich came close to giving Germany a lead in the 56th minute, but Simon was up to the task to deny the Bayern Munich midfielder.
Simon finished with three saves while Manuel Neuer made two of his own.
Spain remains top of Group E heading into Thursday’s showdown with Japan while last-place Germany needs to defeat Costa Rica to have any chance of advancing.
Here is a closer look at Sunday’s World Cup action:
Croatia 4, Canada 1
(Andrej Kramaric 36′, 70′, Marko Livaja 44′, Lovro Majer 90+4′) – (Alphonso Davies 2′)
Croatia received an early sucker punch from Croatia in its Group F showdown on Sunday, but eventually rallied to score four-answered goals in a comeback victory.
Andrej Kramaric scored twice for Zlatko Dalic’s squad while Marko Livaja and Lovro Majer also celebrated goals of their own in a 4-1 win. Croatia now leads Group F following Morocco’s shock win over group favorites Belgium.
Canada took an early lead with Alphonso Davies scoring his first World Cup goal after only 69 seconds. Tajon Buchanan’s deadly cross from the right wing was headed home by Davies, giving John Herdman’s squad an early advantage.
Croatia took some time to get things going, but eventually swung momentum back in its favor of good. Ivan Perisic’s low cross in the 36th minute was hammered home by Kramaric for his 21st international goal for his country.
Marko Livaja propelled Croatia in front 2-1 just before halftime after Josip Juranovic’s picked out his offensive teammate in the box. Livaja did the rest, beating Milan Borjan to the bottom corner.
Kramaric extended Croatia’s lead to 3-1 in the 70th minute with Perisic once again playing the distributor for the goal. It was the latest defensive breakdown for Canada, which struggled to keep the veteran Croatian side at bay.
Majer came off the bench to add a fourth goal for Croatia in the final minutes, eliminating Canada from the tournament with one match remaining.
Croatia will face Belgium on Thursday while Canada aims to take Morocco with them in the final group stage match.
Belgium 0, Morocco 2
(Abdelhamid Sabiri 73′, Zakaria Aboykhlal 90+2′)
Morocco earned one of its most-historic victories on Sunday with a 2-0 shutout triumph over tournament contenders Belgium.
A pair of second-half goals propelled Walid Regragui’s side to an important three points heading into Thursday’s final group stage showdown with Canada.
Hakim Ziyech was denied a first-half opener by VAR despite sending a powerful strike past Thibaut Courtois. Ziyech’s free-kick finish was waived off for offsides as Romain Saiss was whistled as the guilty party.
Munir denied both Eden Hazard and Dries Mertens in the second half, keeping the two sides level with 25+ minutes to go. Morocco would claim the breakthrough goal with Abdelhamid Sabiri beating Courtois with a free kick.
Sabiri curled a right-footed shot into the box from the left wing, but did not need a touch from his teammates as the effort nestled into the bottom corner.
Courtois could not get to Sabiri’s free kick finish in the 73rd minute, as Morocco celebrated a historic lead.
Morocco would ice the victory in stoppage time as Ziyech’s pass was roofed into the top of the net by Aboukhlal. Munir finished with three saves as Morocco leapfrogged Belgium into first place.
Belgium will take on Croatia on Thursday while Morocco faces Canada.
Japan 0, Costa Rica 1
(Keysher Fuller 81′)
Costa Rica rebounded in a major way on Sunday with the Ticos edging Japan 1-0 thanks to Keysher Fuller’s second-half goal.
Both teams struggled majorly for offensive chances, but Fuller came up with the breakthrough goal in the dying moments of the match. Yeltsin Tejeda passed to Fuller at the top of the Japan box, before watching the right wing back curl a shot into the top corner.
Keylor Navas finished the match with a three-save shutout as Costa Rica stayed alive heading into its final group stage match. Japan will take on Spain on Thursday while Costa Rica faces Germany.