‘First Final’ As Germany Aim To Avoid Early Exit

Germany boss Hansi Flick says the World Cup game against Spain is a “first final” as they try to avoid another early exit at a major tournament.

A group-stage elimination in 2018 was Germany’s earliest for 80 years and they reached the last 16 at Euro 2020.

After a shock 2-1 defeat by Japan in their opening game, another loss to Spain could end Germany’s hopes of progressing in Qatar.

“The past two tournaments were not [good],” Flick said.

“We want to avoid a repeat of this. The focus is on concentration. This is the first final for us at the World Cup and that’s what it’s about – to avoid a repeat of that.”

Spain come into the match aiming to book a place in the knockout stage after a 7-0 thrashing of Costa Rica in their opener.

Head coach Luis Enrique, however, expects a tough game against the under-pressure Germans.

“Without a doubt, they are the team that is most similar to Spain in terms of dominating the play and controlling it,” he said.

“That is a beautiful challenge for us. I think it will be an open game.”