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Qatar 2022

Pulse of the Day: Impressive Atlas Lions & the compelling suspense in Group E

If matchday 10 was a disappointment and the least productive day in Qatar, day 11 delivered the most entertaining and suspense filled.

Moroccan players thank their God.

For 72 minutes, Spain and Germany were sensationally on their way out of the FIFA World Cup in, with Costa Rica and Japan going through to the round of 16.

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Spain went into the final group game of the stages needing at least a draw while Germany must take all three points from Costa Rica to even have any hopes.

Crucially for Die Mannschaft, they just needed to handle the Los Ticos business and hope that fellow Europeans, Spain, would help them take three points off the Samurai Blues of Japan.

In effect, Germany needed a favour from Spain but the reverse was the case after 90 minutes as La Roja nearly dramatically exited the tournament.

After 70 minutes, Costa Rica and Japan led 2-1 respectively against Germany and Spain, who had beaten Los Ticos 7-0 in the same group.

It looked like the biggest shock in Qatar 2022 was on the cards. But while the Samurai Blues held on to their lead, Los Ticos couldn't as Germany, inspired by a substitute, Kai Havertz, produced a stronger final 17 minutes to win 4-2.

Havertz scored two goals and Niclas Fullkrug added a third to give Die Mannschaft the much-needed win - but it wasn't enough in the end.

For the 2010 winners, La Roja, it was a huge relief that Germany turned out to be the one who did them a favour.

The Atlas Lions of Morocco became the second African team to win their group twice at the World Cup after another brilliant performance on Thursday.

Morocco defeated Canada 2-1 in their last game to finish at top of Group F, with giants like second-placed Croatia and Belgium, who crashed out.

It was an impressive outing again for the North Africans, the second team and group of Lions from the continent to make it to the round of 16.

Hakimi Ziyech and Youssef En-Nesyri were the scorers on the day for the Atlas Lions while Canada's goal came courtesy of Naif Aguerd's own goal.

Africa has been represented superbly at the 2022 FIFA World Cup and will have at least two teams in the next round of the competition.

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