For the second consecutive World Cup, four-time winners Germany have crashed out at the very first hurdle.
On a warm Thursday night in Doha, all four teams in Group E – Costa Rica, Japan, Spain and Germany – battled for qualification in what turned out to be pulsating night of football.
Serge Gnabry gave Hansi Flick's side an early lead in their clash against Costa Rica, who suffered a heavy 7-0 defeat to Spain in their opening group game.
But in a surprising turn of events at the Al Bayt Stadium, underdogs Costa Rica took a second-half lead through Yeltsin Tejeda and Juan Pablo Vargas.
To their credit, Germany hit back three minutes later through Kai Havertz, who soon bagged his brace to give his side a 3-2 lead.
Flick's side soon made it four through Werder Bremen striker Niclas Fullkrug but it wasn't enough for the Germans, who struggled to break down the resilient Los Ticos for large spells.
In the other Group E game, Spain managed to squeeze through to the round of 16, despite losing to Japan in another enthralling clash.
Luis Enrique's side, who maintained +6 goal difference after that crucial opening day win against Costa Rica, took the lead through in-form striker Alvaro Morata.
But second-half goals from Ritsu Doan and Ao Tanaka cancelled out Morata's opener and a nervy half hour or so followed.
If that wasn't enough drama to fill your boots, Tanaka's goal was originally chalked off as the ball seemed to be out of play before Kaoru Mitoma played it back across.
But after a lengthy VAR check, the goal was given as the ball was deemed still in play.
As Graeme Souness fumed about the VAR call inside ITV's studio, plenty of social media reacted to a memorable night of football.
One said: "Japan winning a group with Spain and Germany in it is one of the best things that’s happened at a World Cup in years."
Another wrote: "For Japan to top a group with Spain and Germany, while also losing to Costa Rica, is the most bonkers World Cup group stage shock of my lifetime."
A third commented: "Take me back to 15 mins ago when Costa Rica were leading 2-1 and Spain and Germany out fairytale was real."
Thoughts on a quite incredible finale to Group E?
Let us know in the comments.
Featured Image Credit: ITV/BBC
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