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FIFA World Cup 2022: Spain 1, Germany 1

TRK1HX Wolfsburg, Germany, March 20, 2019: German footballer Niklas Sule during the international soccer game Germany vs Serbia.

The Group E battle between two giants of world soccer ended in a hard-fought 1-1 draw.

Spain now controls whether they top Group E. Germany must beat Costa Rica and will be hoping that Spain beat Japan so they can avoid tie-breakers and progress.

The two sides played high-quality football in the first half, but neither was able to find a breakthrough. Both opted to bring on traditional center-forwards in the second half, and both substitutes repaid this decision with a goal. 

Spain will feel as though they should have won after taking the lead, but the reality was that Germany squandered the biggest chances: Antonio Rüdiger’s disallowed goal was centimeters from passing the VAR offside check, and Jamal Musiala missed an excellent chance early in the second half.

Expected goals (xG): Spain 0.68, Germany 0.93

Man of the Match: Jordi Alba, Spain

Alba put on a solid all-around performance and added his second assist of the World Cup. His most noticeable contribution to the match was the cross for Álvaro Morata to finish, but he created another chance during the game. His distribution was excellent throughout, as he produced seven line-breaking passes.

Best Passer: Sergio Busquets, Spain

Spain’s captain showed all of his experience with a calm and controlled passing performance. He had the highest passing completion percentage in the game at 96%, and he completed a game-high eight line-breaking passes.

Best Challenger: Niklas Süle, Germany

The Borussia Dortmund defender looked much more comfortable playing in his usual center-back position rather than playing right back, as he did against Japan. He recorded the highest challenge-win percentage of any player, going unbeaten on aerial duels, 50-50s and dribbles defended.

Goalkeepers

Both goals were short-range shots driven into the top of the net, so neither keeper can be faulted there.

Unai Simón was the most encouraging, as he produced the best save of the match when he stopped a close-range effort from Joshua Kimmich.

Manuel Neuer was lucky at the other end of the pitch after a weak hand pushed a Dani Olmo shot onto the crossbar early on. 

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