Germany, the four-time FIFA World Cup champions, have for the second successive time been knocked out of the group stages of the tournament. 

Die Mannschaft started the tournament by losing to Japan, and then drew against Spain. Despite beating Costa Rica by a scoreline of 2-4, they have to pack their bags home thanks to Spain losing against Japan in their group stage encounter.

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Had Spain managed to defeat Japan, Germany had the chance of qualifying after beating Croatia. Japan would’ve then stayed at 3 points while the Hansi Flick-managed side would have managed to reach the round of 16 with 4.

In 2002, Italy, USA, Paraguay, and Turkey managed to qualify for the knockout stages with 4 points each, as have Poland and Spain this time around. Germany also have 4 points, but Spain’s 7-0 demolition of Costa Rica crashed them out of the group stages based on goal difference.

Germany began their campaign by protesting against FIFA’s orders to not wear the One Love armband by posing with their hands on their mouths during their team photo. They could have made a stronger statement had they continued to show their support for LGBTQ rights in the knockout stages of the tournament.

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Costa Rica, at one point, were leading the match against Germany, and as things then stood, they would have qualified ahead of Spain, leaving the two European footballing powerhouses out of the biggest sporting event in the world.

Spain will now face Morocco in the round of 16 while Japan will face Croatia, the finalists of the 2018 World Cup. After tomorrow’s Group G and Group H encounters, we will have a clear picture of all the teams that have qualified for the knockout stages.