Before the start of the World Cup in Qatar, many included Belgium and Germany among the favorites. As a result, they failed to reach even the playoffs.
Croatia - Belgium - 0:0
The first halftime was mixed: first a series of mutual attacks, and then the game somehow calmed down. It was felt that the Croats, for whom a draw was acceptable, were unlikely to force the issue. The Belgians, on the other hand, had to do so, because Morocco had a strong lead in the parallel match.
The second half was a tragedy for Belgium's golden generation. Look at their squad: Courtois and de Bruyne, two Azar, Alderweireld and Vertonghen, Mertens and Lukaku. And also the second place in the FIFA rankings! But all we saw was a series of chances not realized by Lukaku. He kept hammering and hammering but his chances to postpone his departure to Brussels kept melting and melted away. The Croats patiently made it to the playoffs without any fancy dressing or workmanship.
Canada v Morocco - 1:2
Only an insane person, or a Moroccan optimist, would have bet on Morocco winning the group before the tournament. Meanwhile, the guys from North Africa showed that the main thing is to form a team with good understanding and team spirit.
The match with the Canadians was not bright: the Moroccans led quickly after the goals of Hakim Ziyesh (4) and Youssef En-Nesiri (23), then scored in their own goal and in the second half played rationally to hold on. "The Maple Leafs, playing in the World Cup for the first time since 1986, showed good soccer in the tournament, but the level of the team's players is low.
Japan - Spain - 2-1
Only an insane person, or a Japanese optimist, would have bet that the Japanese would win this group before the championship. Indeed, in a group with the Spaniards and Germans, it was difficult to count on more than third place. But Japan, tenacious and speedy, thought differently and gained momentum as the tournament progressed.
The Spaniards, on the other hand, were puzzling. Alvaro Morata opened the scoring as early as the 11th minute, but instead of tackling the opponent, the Red Fury relaxed, got involved in positional play, and at times made inexcusable mistakes. After the break, a tsunami happened: Ritsu Doan (48) and Ao Tanaka (51) hardly came on as substitutes turned the game upside down. The Japanese, of course, went on the defensive, but the Spaniards created only one scoring chance in the remaining time. Japan has already had a good tournament, but Spain, on the other hand, is troubled by its inability to concentrate. That is no way to win World Cups.
Costa Rica - Germany - 2:4
For the second World Cup in a row, the Germans are not out of the group. The famous saying "22 men play soccer but the Germans win" has become an anecdote. Yes, it was obvious that Hans-Dieter Flick's squad was not a champion's squad. But strong enough to be at least in the quarterfinals. After all, in each of the three bouts in Qatar, there was a period in which the Bundestim dominated. And in each there was a period in which it played disgustingly.
The Costa Ricans took the lead in the 70th minute after a goal by Yeltsin Tejeda and an auto-goal by Manuel Neuer, and at least the Germans were able to win. Thirty-two shots on goal for Costa Rica was already desperate as Japan defeated Spain and left Germany without a playoff spot. What will Flick's team remember in Qatar? An action of protest against the many restictions at this World Cup - before the first match, the Germans had their pictures taken with their mouths covered. It would have been nice to play soccer instead.