Germany score late to snatch 1-1 draw with Spain
Fuellkrug rescues a point for Germany, after Alvaro Morata had given Spain the lead in a lively showdown.
Substitute Niklas Fuellkrug’s close range strike late in the second half rescued Germany a valuable 1-1 draw against Spain in a World Cup Group E showdown, a result which left the group still wide open.
Billed as a heavyweight battle between two giants of European football, this was a pacy, exciting, end-to-end 90 minutes of intenstity which probably deserved more goals for two teams who have both previously lifted the World Cup trophy.
Spain had the better of the first half on Sunday evening, looking the more likely to break the deadlock with the flair and style of their youngsters. A powerful seventh minute effort from Dani Olmo had to be forced onto the crossbar by Germany’s Manuel Neuer.
Germany dug deep, but Spain were rewarded for their creativity early in the second period. Substitute Alvaro Morata beat his marker and flicked the ball in at the near post past goalkeeper Manuel Neuer following a low cross from Jordi Alba in the 62nd minute to give Spain the lead.
“When we are on the bench, we are important to change the game – and it was like this,” Morata told BBC Sport after the game.
“Germany have an amazing team and I think it was an amazing game. Two teams, it could have been a semi-final or a final of a World Cup. The most important thing is to win, and tonight they scored an amazing goal, and we were unlucky not to have the win, but tomorrow we go back into training.”
His goal was enough to pause a second-half German revival, in which Antonio Ruediger found the net with a powerful headed free kick conversion – though the goal was ruled offside by VAR. Spain’s Unai Simon also had to save an on-goal shot from Joshua Kimmich.
Head coach Hanzi Flick rang the changes, swapping out three players. Just 13 minutes after coming on, Niklas Fullkrug equalised for the Germans in the 83rd minute, smashing home a loose ball inside the box.
From then until the six minutes of added time were complete, both teams had chances to win in a frantic finish, but they had to settle for a draw.
“We had a couple of really good chances,” Germany’s İlkay Gündoğan told the BBC after the match.
“In the end the result is fair, against a very tough Spanish side – and now it’s all about the final game of the group. In a World Cup you already know it’s going to be dramatic, full of ups and downs, and then the way Niklas [Fuellkrug] scored – the finish was unbelievable, a typical number-nine, he stepped up when we needed.”
Their draw leaves Spain top of the group, needing just a draw against Japan to guarantee a spot in the final 16 of the tournament.
Germany, who lost 2-1 in their opener against Japan, are bottom of the table on one point. They need to win against Costa Rica on Thursday and their hopes then depend on Japan losing. If Japan draw it’ll all come down to goal difference.