North Macedonia stun Germany in World Cup Qualifier: Records broken
North Macedonia stunned Germany 2-1 in a crucial World Cup qualifying match. Hosts Germany, who have been world champions on four occasions, lost at home after Eljif Elmas scored the deciding goal in the end. Germany made mistakes and paid the price for a poor show against a side ranked 65th in the world. Here we present the key details.
Goran Pandev helped North Macedonia go ahead at the stroke of half-time. The in-form Ilkay Gundogan equalized from the penalty spot early in the second half after Leroy Sane had been fouled. The visitors, ranked 65th in the world, snatched victory with five minutes remaining when Elmas struck from close range. For Germany, Timo Werner missed a glorious chance just before Elmas' goal.
Germany coach Joachim Low said the defeat is bitterly disappointing and felt his team made several mistakes. "This is bitterly disappointing," Low said. "We were not fresh enough, we made mistakes. When we played quickly we were dangerous but we did not find the tools to be really threatening." "Overall, it was disappointing to lose like that at home," he added.
This was a first defeat in Group J for Germany and the first goals they conceded in qualifying. The 2-1 loss also ended their 35-game unbeaten run in World Cup qualifying, stretching back to their 5-1 defeat by England in 2001.
Germany mid-fielder Ilkay Gundogan has now scored 14 goals in 21 starts for club and country in 2021. He has 16 goals for Manchester City in the 2020-21 season and has scored two goals in three WCQ games.