Spain vs Germany 1-1: Fullkrug Balances Morata Strike

The most awaited match of the World Cup first round ended with no winners as Spain and Germany put one goal into each other’s net at the Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor. Alvaro Morata opened the scoring for Luis Enrique’s side while Niclas Fullkrug leveled things up for Die Mannschaft.  

Both players had started the game from the bench, which makes it interesting to note how two sides that deliberately renounced to line up a proper center forward could break the deadlock only when they finally introduced some traditional strikers. 

Tonight’s draw puts Spain with one foot in the door of the knockout stage. Even if they were to lose to Japan in their final group match, the Furia Roja could still take advantage of the sounding goal difference they accumulated in their thrashing of Costa Rica.

But Germany can also rejoice. Japan’s suicide against the Ticos earlier today has made things much easier for Die Mannschaft. If they manage to beat Costa Rica by a two or more goal margin next Thursday, they will still have good chances of making it through. (provided that Japan does not pull off any upset against Spain)

All in all, both sides can be happy with tonight’s outcome even though Spain did perhaps a bit more than their opponents to make a full score in a vibrant match.

Luis Enrique’s side used their key weapons: possession, ball circulation, fast-paced one-touch passes. They were clearly the best team in the first half but risked a lot when Antonio Rudiger headed the ball past Unai Simon from a free kick. They were saved by the automatic offside review, which spotted the former Roma man being just a few inches past the defensive line. 

Prior to that, Dani Olmo had created the best chance for the Furia Roja after just seven minutes with a terrific right foot screamer from the edge of the box that Manuel Neuer managed to finger-tip just enough to make it crash into the crossbar.

Luis Enrique’s side had more opportunities with Jordi Alba, who drove the ball to the near post but just a few inches wide, and then with Ferran Torres, who missed an easy conversion from the center of the box. (good for him that he was caught offside anyway)

The Spanish coach made the first key change a few minutes into the second period as he sent in Alvaro Morata for Ferran Torres. Unai Simon risked a lot with a wrong pass as he built the play from his area but promptly redeemed himself by saving Joshua Kimmich’s subsequent shot.

On 62 minutes, Spain went ahead. Jordi Alba received the ball from Dani Olmo on the left flank and whipped it in the middle of the box, where Morata was quick to deflect it past Neuer, anticipating center back Niklas Sule in the process. 

The Spanish could have scored a second right after that but Marco Asensio, well served by Dani Olmo, wasted it all with a hideous conclusion from a favorable position. That was the second key moment of the game as a second goal would have likely put the Furia Roja out of reach for a Mannschaft lineup that seemed desperately in need of a good solution upfront.

So, the final, decisive turning point came when their coach Hansi Flick made a triple change, sending in Lukas Klostermann, Leroy Sane, and, moreover, Niclas Fullkrug. 

The fresh forces he brought in did help Germany. On 72 minutes, Sane picked Jamal Musiala in the box with a sublime cutting pass but the 19-year-old fired the ball right at Unai Simon rather than looking for a wider angle. 

The German equalizer came courtesy of Fullkrug’s brute force, as the Werder Bremen forward pounced on a ball that Musiala had lost after dashing past his marker into the middle of the box. Fullkrug’s violent conclusion left no chance to Unai Simon, setting a score that both sides could be content with. 

There were still seven minutes left to play though, and nobody can say that Spain and Germany didn’t try to win it. Nico Schlotterbeck had to perform an incredible defensive tackle to block a Morata incursion in the German box, and Leon Goretzka also had to use his tackling skills to defuse a Nico Williams counterattack, while Rodri saved the day for Spain clearing the ball from the Mannschaft‘s last effort. 



November 27, 2022 – FIFA World Cup Group E

SCORERS: 62′ Morata (S), 83′ Fullkrug (G)

SPAIN (4-3-3): Unai Simon; Carvajal, Rodrigo, Laporte, Jordi Alba (82′ Balde); Busquets, Gavi (66′ Williams), Pedri; Asensio (66′ Koke), Dani Olmo, Ferran Torres (54′ Morata) (R. Snáchez, Azpilicueta, E. Garcia, Pau Torres, Llorente, Raya, Guillamón, Yéremy Pino, Soler, Sarabia, Ansu Fati) Coach: Luis Enrique
GERMANY (4-2-3-1):  Neuer; Kehrer (70′ Klostermann), Rudiger, Sule, Raum; Goretzka, Kimmich; Gnabry (85′ Hofmann), Gundogan (70′ Sane), Musiala; Muller (70′ Fullkrug) (Trapp, Ter Stegen, Ginter, Havertz, Gotze, Brandt, Gunter, Adeyemi, Bella-Kotchap, Moukoko) Coach: Flick
REFEREE: Mr. Makkelie (Netherlands)
NOTES: Yellow Cards: Kehrer, Goretzka, Kimmich (G), Busquets (S); Added Time: 1st Half 2′, 2nd Half 6′
Follow us on Google News for more updates on Serie A and Italian football