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Germany maintains hope against Spain, and promises a crazy final in the group

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Sacred game of chess in the tent of Qatar. Announced shock of the group stage of the World Cup, the meeting between Spain and Germany delivered its promises, Sunday, November 27. In this duel between two teams cornered by a coach with fixed ideas, Spaniards and Germans could not decide between themselves, in the Al-Bayt stadium in Al-Khor (1-1).

Luis Enrique and Hansi Flick don’t have much to do. One is tall, the other a bit stockier. But the man who leads Spain and the man who coaches Germany share a love of the beautiful game – even if not quite the same – and the desire to see their troops play at full speed. In the temperate atmosphere of the north of Qatar, two teams without stars – a formula which should no longer be valid from the next major competition – but not without ideas have had a field day.

Read also: Relive Spain-Germany of the World Cup

Between two formations with opposite pasts – Spain beat Costa Rica (7-0) when Germany lost to Japan (1-2) – for their opening matches, the two coaches had chosen to deprive themselves a leading striker, each favoring a “false number 9” (attacking midfielder placed in attack), for more variety in the game. And the first period saw Roja and Mannschaft advance their first pieces.

“I’ve been there for many games against Spain in the past, when we lost in 2008 and 2010”, observed Hansi Flick on Saturday. The German coach was then loyal assistant to Joachim Löw. “But all that doesn’t matter anymore. Previous games are in the past, and tomorrow is the future. » But the future at first looked wildly like some past encounters.

Two attacking goals

On the Roja side, as expected, the partners of an omnipresent Sergio Busquets in the middle monopolized the ball, changing position like so many pawns. And Dani Olmo, Jordi Alba then Ferran Torres try to deceive the vigilance of Manuel Neuer, after actions chiseled by the pair of young Barcelonans, Gavi and Pedri. On the other side, more vertical, the Mannschaft projected and tried to take the Spanish rearguard from behind. And Serge Gnabry tests the gloves of Unai Simon, before Antonio Rüdiger deceives the Spanish goalkeeper on a free kick. But the German defender was quickly flagged offside.

On Saturday, Luis Enrique had confessed to “feel more comfortable when [il] had to raise [son] team, when everything is against us”. And the Asturian coach to don a hardly flattering nickname. “I must really be an asshole”, to prefer managing failure to success. Fortunately for him, the Germans did not intend to let his troops shine without adversity.

Read also: World Cup 2022: without stars, La Roja still shines

Plan A not working, the two coaches brought in new pieces. Despite a still fluid game, Spain could not weigh in the opposition box, so Luis Enrique brought Alvaro Morata into the equation. A pure striker, the Atletico de Madrid player proved him right without delay. Less than ten minutes after entering the game, the Spanish number 7 concluded in a gesture a triangle action launched by Dani Olmo (1-0, 62e). His second goal of the competition after the one against Costa Rica, the second coming off the bench.

The four teams in the group can still qualify

Led and badly embarked, in turn, Hansi Flick revealed his game. And the appearances of Leroy Sané, Lukas Klostermann and striker Niclas Füllkrug helped to balance the debates. On an action by Jamal Musiala, who got the better of Rodri, once again shifted in central defense, the 29-year-old striker from Werder Bremen, a neophyte in the selection just ten days ago, equalized with an unstoppable shot (1-1, 83e). And despite a few skirmishes, the two teams leave on a deserved draw.

“He’s a pure number 9, a real goalscorer, who scores when we need him”, greeted after the meeting Ilkay Gündogan at the microphone of the BBC. For the Manchester City midfielder, the Mannschaft “needed a result like this” to put their minds back in place after their disappointment in the inaugural match.

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers World Cup 2022: is there a Flick to save Germany?

Beauty of this competition, no team of this group is assured of its fate as the second day ends. Thursday 1er December (8 p.m. Paris time), the four rivals will try to get out of a group that is ultimately uncertain. A defeat would have gotten Germany’s business off to a bad start (without eliminating them entirely), but Thomas Müller’s partners once again have their chances of advancing to the round of 16.

For their part, despite their landslide victory in the first game, the Spaniards can still be eliminated – on an alignment of planets exceeding, admittedly, the solar system. Finished on a “pat”, the game of chess continues in four days.

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