Japan’s dramatic 2-1 win over the 2010 World Cup champions Spain on Thursday in the Group E match of the FIFA World Cup 2022 marked another turnaround of the big tournament as Japan drew way to the knock-out stage. This is the second time that Japan amazed the world on the group stage, first by winning the match against Germany and now against Spain.
With 2 quick-fire goals against Spain, Japan pulls Germany out of the tournament. Now, both Japan and Spain qualified for the Round of 16 while Germany and Cost Rica were eliminated from the show.
With Alvaro Marta’s 11th-minute goal, Spain has a 1-0 lead in the halftime break. Then Japan’s coach Hajime Moriyasu reorganized the side preventing Japan’s early World Cup exit. He has given them an attacking side and within six minutes, Samurai Blue was ahead.
Then Ritsu Doan thrashed a shot from the edge of the box and Spain goalkeeper Una Simon couldn’t resist the goal because of the poor clearance. In the 48th minute, Japan made the equalizer.
Just 3 minutes later, in the 51st minute, the halftime substitute Kaoru Mitoma cut the ball from the byline, and Ao Tanaka scored the most controversial goal from close range.
Even though Japan took several minutes to confirm the goal, the opponents claimed the ball has gone out of the line before Mitoma’s touch. The VAR system later confirmed the ball had not gone out completely before Mitoma’s touch and it can be considered a goal as per the existing rules.
“From my angle I think the ball was clearly half out but more than that I could not see because of the speed but I was concentrating on scoring. But there was always a possibility it was out so if it was out and not a goal I would not have been disappointed. But in the end it was a goal so that was great”, Tanaka said.
Spain had total control over the game in the first half but everything changed suddenly as Japan won the match. The breathtaking 2-1 win over Spain has given Japan 6 points in the Group stage that lead them to top Group E followed by Spain in the second position, who were on top earlier. Germany also had the same points as Spain after the match against Costa Rica, but only on goal difference, they finished in third. Costa Rica remained on 4th place.
Germany were at the center of a war against Cost Rica when they were knocked out of the World Cup by the controversial goal of Japan. Germany defeated Costa Rica 4-2 on Thursday but that wasn’t enough to secure a spot in the round of 16. The four-time champions Germany were once again eliminated from the Group stage.
Japan stunned the two giants in Group E and now going to face Croatia in the last 16 while Spain will meet Morocco.
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