Germany coach Hansi Flick reckons that his team’s hard-fought 1-1 draw with Spain could be the spark they need to qualify for the knockout stage and turn things around in the FIFA World Cup 2022.

Substitute Niklas Fuellkrug scored in the 83rd minute to cancel out Spain’s lead and give the four-time world champions their first point after a shock loss to Japan. Fuellkrug’s goal kept Germany’s hopes of progressing to the knockout stage alive ahead of their final Group E match against Costa Rica on Thursday, which they must win.

“We knew what was at stake. Spain played good football but the teams were level and we had a huge chance in the end to win it but these things happen,” Flick told reporters.

“Things come to you when you start winning. Maybe it is the spark we need.”

Germany’s Leroy Sane missed a golden chance in the box minutes before the end, but Flick was pleased with his team’s performance.

“The team fought hard and I am very satisfied with their mentality. These are the things we want and we know that we did take the first step.

“We want to have the conditions against Costa Rica to reach the knockout phase,” said Flick.

Germany were teetering on the brink of elimination in the group stage for the second World Cup in a row but their draw combined with Japan’s surprise loss to Costa Rica now moves the Germans into positive territory.

“Costa Rica showed good mentality to come back from a 7-0 loss to Spain (and beat Japan),”

Flick said. “Football is like that. Sometimes it’s not those with the most chances that win. We experienced that against Japan.”

Germany are at one point with Costa Rica and Japan at three. Spain, who next play the Japanese, are on four.

Flick said he would not rush to focus on Costa Rica, knowing that his players needed to process Sunday’s game first.

“It is still too far away to think about Costa Rica. We have to let this game sink in and generate self-confidence.”

Asked whether he had watched Costa Rica’s win earlier, Flick said he had not but heard “a small celebration” from his team following the result.


India today