Manuel Neuer expressed relief that Germany are “still alive” in the World Cup after they salvaged a 1-1 draw with Spain on Sunday.
Germany’s hopes of reaching the round of 16 suffered a shock blow when they lost their first match against Japan.
Yet Costa Rica responded to a 7-0 thrashing at the hands of Spain by beating Japan 1-0 to leave all to play for in Group E’s final games.
Alvaro Morata put Spain ahead in the battle between the Group E heavyweights at Al Bayt Stadium, but Germany’s Niclas Fullkrug came off the bench to equalise and secure his team’s first point.
In order to progress, Hansi Flick’s Germany side must beat Costa Rica in their last group match on Thursday and hope Spain do them a favour against Japan.
Goalkeeper Neuer, who denied Dani Olmo an early goal when he palmed his shot against the crossbar, is just pleased Germany still have a chance of avoiding a second successive World Cup exit at the group stage.
“It was a tough match against a very good Spain side,” said the Germany captain. “We took on the fight and didn’t allow them many chances over the 90 minutes.
“Our defensive work was superb from front to back. Our compactness made it difficult for them to score a goal against us. Their goal was simply quality and very hard to defend against. Nevertheless, we continued to believe in ourselves.
“The main thing is that we’re still alive. The thing we can have influence over is getting three points against Costa Rica.”
Hansi Flick’s ace up the sleeve #GER #FIFAWorldCup #ESPGER pic.twitter.com/HbAgj4qQ9j
— Germany (@DFB_Team_EN) November 27, 2022
Fullkrug only made his full international debut earlier this month and scored his first competitive goal for Germany in a cameo appearance after being given a late call-up to the squad.
The 29-year-old Werder Bremen striker said: “We were determined to get a result from the game, and it was very important for our confidence.
“We still have room for improvement. We don’t need to get carried away, but we can go into the final game with hope that we can make it through.”