Costa Rica Stuns Japan With a Late Winner; Spain and Germany Wait in the Wings
At a time when Spain and Germany have been the favorites to win the World Cup, it was the Costa Rican team that won the match to give the host nation not only its first World Cup victory but its first one in 14 years. It was a hard-fought final, with Germany scoring first in the 33′ minute and Costa Rica making it difficult for the Germans to score again. At the end, the win gave Costa Rica its first-ever win over Japan.
Spain played in the final only once during Spain’s glorious Euro 2006 run, and when they went out in the quarterfinal-round match against Sweden they were out done by Germany. This Spanish team, like Costa Rica, are much in the same vein. It seems like, every time Spain play, they are knocked out of the competition. They came close last year, and then, it seemed, they lost again at the expense of Chile (who would go on to lose in the quarterfinals to Brazil) and Costa Rica. After this loss last year, the question became: “if Chile or Costa Rica win the World Cup, who will be the next to go out of the competition?” And the answer was, nobody.
Not so this time.
Spain is still no threat to Costa Rica, but they did come close. But once again, this was not a loss that should be celebrated. The real surprise may have come from Germany, who is one of the favorites for the World Cup, but is currently out of sorts with a 6-1 loss to Russia, and a disappointing loss to Belgium in the quarterfinals. It is very much in Germany’s interest not to lose to Russia and also Belgium, but instead to win the World Cup.
Germany still has not been able to find its form of late. A lot of the injuries sustained to key players, and the lack of quality depth has not helped. This has forced the team to rely on young players to fill in the gaps. In the absence of veterans like Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski from the team, which should make Germany a better team this year, they have started to rely more on young players and the Germans have struggled, and sometimes gone out