Germany must beat Costa Rica to have any chance of avoiding another early World Cup exit, and Manuel Neuer is relieved they are in the hunt.
Germany’s hopes of reaching the round of 16 suffered a shock when they lost their first match against Japan.
Still, Costa Rica responded to a 7-0 thrashing at the hands of Spain by defeating Japan 1-0, leaving everyone to play in their final Group E matches.
Alvaro Morata put Spain ahead in a battle of Group E heavyweights at the Al Bayt Stadium, but Germany’s Niclas Fullkrug came off the bench to equalize and secure his side’s first point.
Hansi Flick’s Germany side need to beat Costa Rica in their final group game on Thursday and hope Spain do them a favor against Japan to progress.
Goalkeeper Neuer, who denied Dani Olma an early goal when he tipped his shot against the crossbar, is delighted Germany still have a chance of avoiding a second consecutive World Cup group stage exit.
“It was a tough game against a very good Spanish team,” said the German captain. “We fought and didn’t allow them many chances during the 90 minutes.
“Our defensive work was great from front to back. The compactness made it difficult for them to score against us. Their goal was just quality and difficult to defend against. We still believed in ourselves.
“The main thing is that we are still alive. The thing we can influence is to get the three points against Costa Rica.”
Fullkrug only made his full international debut earlier this month, scoring his first competitive goal for Germany in a cameo appearance after being called into the squad late on.
The 29-year-old Werder Bremen striker said: “We were determined to get a result out of the game and that was very important for our confidence.
“We still have room to improve. We don’t have to get carried away, but we can go into the final game with the hope that we can do it.”