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Alamy Stock Photo Thomas Mueller of Germany applauds the crowd after the end of the match.
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'Absolute catastrophe' - Mueller on Germany World Cup debacle
The Germans beat Costa Rica 4-2 but Spain slumped to a 2-1 defeat to Japan.

GERMANY FORWARD Thomas Mueller said his country’s exit from the World Cup at the group stage for the second tournament in a row on Thursday was an “absolute catastrophe”.

The Germans beat Costa Rica 4-2 but Spain slumped to a 2-1 defeat to Japan that meant Germany finished third in Group E behind Spain, with the teams equal on four points and the positions decided only by goal difference.

“It is unbelievably bitter for us because our result would have been enough,” Mueller said.

“It’s a feeling of powerlessness.”

Mueller was part of the 2014 World Cup-winning team and was also in the side that was eliminated at the same stage four years ago in Russia.

Meanwhile, Japan coach Hajime Moriyasu said he was setting his sights on a best-ever finish for the country at the World Cup after they stunned Spain 2-1 to finish top of Group E on Thursday.

The Samurai Blue will face Croatia in the next round, but Moriyasu is looking even further down the line, having beaten and helped eliminate four-time champions Germany.

It is the fourth time Japan have finished in the last 16 but they have never progressed beyond that stage.

“In terms of a finish, the new aim for us is the last eight,” said Moriyasu.

“The players are showing us a different and new view of being able to fight on the world stage.

“I would like to set a new record of the last eight or better.”

Spain took the lead against Japan through Alvaro Morata’s header, but like in their comeback against Germany, Moriyasu’s side turned the game on its head after the break.

Ritsu Doan blasted home from outside the area in the 48th minute and three minutes later Ao Tanaka bundled home from on the goal-line.

The controversial goal was given after officials decided the ball had not gone out of play using VAR.

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“Big thanks to all our supporters, the people of Japan, for their support,” added the coach.

“Thanks to everyone’s support, we were able to make it through this difficult match.

“I’m happy that I was able to deliver the victory to everyone and produce results that we can all be happy with.”

– © AFP 2022

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