DOHA - Germany gave itself hope of avoiding another embarrassing early World Cup exit when they snatched a 1-1 draw with Spain on Sunday with Niclas Fuellkrug firing home an 83rd-minute equalizer on only his third appearance for his country.
The result leaves the four-time world champions facing a must-win match against Costa Rica on Thursday, and also means Spain has yet to book their passage out of Group E. Japan and Costa Rica could yet qualify, too.
Germany looked to be in severe danger of repeating their group stage failure of 2018 in Russia when Alvato Morata, 8 minutes after coming on from the bench, handed Spain the lead by neatly flicking in a cross from Jordi Alba in the 62nd minute.
A defeat against Spain after Germany's shock 2-1 opening loss to Japan would have left Hansi Flick's men facing a huge challenge to get into the knockout phase.
But in the 83rd minute they battled back into contention as Leroy Sane took advantage of a poor defensive clearance to feed Jamal Musiala, who turned between two Spain defenders, with the ball falling to Fuellkrug who fired high into the net.
Spain tops the standings with four points and now need only a draw in their final Group E game against Japan to progress. A win would send them through to the knockout round in first place.
Morocco 2, Belgium 0
Abdelhamid Sabiri scored from an audaciously tight angle and fellow substitute Zakaria Aboukhlal added a second in stoppage time as Morocco pulled off a shock 2-0 win over Belgium in World Cup Group F on Sunday in Doha.
Sabiri's free kick from near the corner flag caught out Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois at the near post as it curled in for the 73rd-minute winner, securing only Morocco's third victory at the World Cup finals.
Morocco's Zakaria Aboukhlal celebrates with his teammates after scoring his side's second goal during the World Cup group F soccer match between Belgium and Morocco, at the Al Thumama Stadium in Doha, Qatar, Nov. 27, 2022.
Aboukhlal's goal came on the counterattack, set up by Hakim Ziyech, as Belgium was caught pressing forward for the equalizer.
The North Africans also had the ball in the net with the last kick of the first half as Ziyech's free kick eluded everyone in the penalty area and caught Courtois unsighted, but a VAR check found skipper Romain Saiss had been just offside.
Costa Rica 1, Japan 0
Japan squandered an opportunity to advance early to the World Cup last 16 after Keysher Fuller's goal 10 minutes from time gave Costa Rica a surprise 1-0 win in a match in which they had barely any chances, in Al Rayyan, Qatar.
The Samurai blue failed to ride the momentum of its shock win over Germany and will rue missed opportunities after showing little creativity against a Costa Rican side that defended resolutely after their 7-0 drubbing by Spain last time out.
Costa Rica's Keysher Fuller, left, and teammates celebrate after their win in the World Cup, group E soccer match between Japan and Costa Rica, at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan, Qatar, Nov. 27, 2022.
Against the run of play, in Costa Rica's only effort on target in the entire match, Fuller curled a shot from the edge of the area beyond the reach of keeper Shuichi Gonda and into the net, leaving Japan stunned.
Japan battled hard to salvage something from the game but struggled to create space and panicked in the dying moments.
The result left Japan with a tough challenge to advance to the knockout stages, with Spain their final Group E opponents on Thursday.
Croatia 4, Canada 1
Alphonso Davies netted Canada's first goal at a men's World Cup, but it was Croatia, spearheaded by a brace from Andrej Kramaric, that came away with an impressive 4-1 Group F win on Sunday in Al Rayyan, Qatar, that ended any hope of the North Americans advancing while keeping their own alive.
After Davies had scored with a bullet header just over a minute into play, Croatia showed its class with Kramaric levelling in the 36th minute and Marko Livaja putting the 2018 finalists ahead just before the break.
Croatia's Luka Modric fights for the ball with Canada's Kamal Miller during the World Cup group F soccer match between Croatia and Canada, at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, Qatar, Nov. 27, 2022.
Croatia got two more after the break, with Kramaric getting his second in the 70th minute and Lovro Majer scoring in stoppage time.
Croatia joins Morocco at the top of the Group F standings with four points and now needs only a draw in their final game against Belgium to progress. Canada, in the World Cup for just the second time, is at the bottom of the table and still looking for their first-ever win.