Germany's Niclas Fullkrug Strikes Late to Salvage a Draw with Spain at The World Cup 2022
Niclas Fullkrug's late equaliser snatched Germany a morale-boosting 1-1 draw with Spain in a heavyweight World Cup clash on Sunday, leaving both sides' hopes of qualifying for the last 16 still in the balance
In a heavyweight World Cup clash on Sunday, Niclas Fullkrug's late equalizer gave Germany a morale-boosting 1-1 draw with Spain, leaving both sides still hoping to qualify for the last 16. Spain looked on course to qualify from Group E following Alvaro Morata's flicked finish. But Jamal Musiala and Fullkrug combined to foil La Roja and restore some German pride. After their shock loss to the Asian side, Costa Rica's win over Japan eased some pressure on Germany, but they weren't able to capitalize for long periods in their battle for the ball.
At Al Bayt Stadium, Morata's strike had the four-time world champions on the ropes, but Werder Bremen striker Fullkrug finished brilliantly to divide the points.
With a final round of matches to come, Spain leads Group E with four points, followed by Japan and Costa Rica on three each.
"We really wanted to pull back (this game), that was very important for the camp," Fullkrug told German television network ZDF.
We still have room for improvement, but we can hope everything goes well in the end."
With both sides looking to dominate possession and press extremely high, the only World Cup group-stage match pitting former champions against each other lived up to its billing in intensity and tactical intrigue.
The taut opening exchanges quickly ensured all focus was on the football as Germany coach Hansi Flick rejected suggestions his side had been distracted by the pre-game protest against FIFA 'silencing teams'.
After their shocking opening-day capitulation, flick cut Kai Havertz from his line-up and deployed Thomas Mueller up front.
However, Spain almost took the lead when Manuel Neuer palmed Dani Olmo's powerful drive off the woodwork in the seventh minute.
Despite their 7-0 demolition of Costa Rica, Germany steeled themselves, keeping Luis Enrique's side at bay.