Fri, 03 Feb 2023

By Oliver Trust

BERLIN, Nov. 29 (Xinhua) -- Germany is facing the decisive last group game against Costa Rica in an optimistic mood but feels far from a high flying state.

"What makes us wear a smile is the second chance to get to the next round. But the truth is we have one point and a negative goal record," Bayern icon Thomas Muller stated.

Bremen striker Niclas Fullkrug mentioned "it's not entirely in our hands. Spain was an important step and the 1-1 gives us energy, but after all, it was only a draw."

To proceed to the knock-out stage of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the struggling 2014 world champion needs to beat Costa Rica and at the same time hopes for the "help" of Spain against Japan.

"We didn't get anywhere so far, but now have a second chance and we are desperate to use it," Fullkrug said after the 29-year-old had scored the important equalizer in an intense encounter against the Spaniards.

Muller said Germany is ahead of a different game and it is important to show an intense box presence.

The 33-year-old is expecting Germany to have a high rate of ball possession "which has to come along with a solid number of players in the opponent's box to benefit."

The 120-time capped forward is optimistic that things will lead to a happy end as the duel against Spain taught the German side an important lesson.

"We experienced what we can achieve when we throw in joint efforts as a group," Muller added.

The German team showed a satisfying reaction after its disappointing 2-1 defeat in their tournament opener against Japan as it is a good sign from Mullers' perspective to keep heads up and implement the match plan set up by coach Hansi Flick.

The draw against Spain coming along with a good performance level is creating confidence, "but we need to take a close look at the Japan - Spain game," Muller said, referring to the complicated group standings.

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