There was an added pain for Germany in the basic jauntiness of Costa Rica’s designated goal music, a taunting, cajoling blast of trumpets and maracas, the kind of thing that might get played on a gameshow as a bucket of gunge descends over the dunce’s booth.
With 48 minutes gone in the Doha-orbit World Cup zone, Germany had been bossing this Group E endgame, cruising a little uneasily, but with their eyes fixed on the horizon towards the last 16. The campaign had been weird. There was Antonio Rüdiger’s mocking knees-high run. And the Niclas Füllkrug interlude, where a man who could actually score a goal briefly became a kind of Teutonic folk saviour. But this felt like a kind of safety.
Then semi-disaster struck. Japan scored at the Khalifa International Stadium. Germany had to crank the engines, score again and hope for a Spanish revival. At which point outright disaster struck as Japan went 2-1 up, and Germany were freewheeling towards the exit doors. A mild, controlled 1-0…
This article was written by Barney Ronay at Al Bayt Stadium and originally published on www.theguardian.com