Japan comes back to shock Spain and the top group

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japan comes back to shock spain and the top group

Japan defeated 2010 World Cup champions Spain 2-1 on Thursday, December 1 (Friday, December 2, Manila time) to advance to the round of 16 along with their defeated opponents and eliminate Germany in one of the finest nights for the Samurai Blue.

At halftime, facing the danger of an early World Cup elimination, Japan set up a round of 16 matchup with 2018 runner-up Croatia, while Spain had to rely on goal differential to defeat Germany. Now, they face Morocco.

Japan’s recovery was founded on coach Hajime Moriyasu’s reorganization of his team during the halftime break when they were behind 1-0.

Within three minutes of coming in, Ritsu Doan blasted a drive from the edge of the box that Spain goalkeeper Unai Simon could not keep out. Simon’s bad clearance had created the danger in the first place.

Ao Tanaka scored from close range in the 51st minute, bundling the ball in after Kaoru Mitoma, the other halftime substitute, cut the ball back from the sideline.

The VAR system required several minutes to certify that the ball was still in play prior to Mitoma’s touch. Replays revealed that a fragment of the ball had not crossed the goal line, and the ruling provoked frenzied celebrations comparable to those that greeted Japan’s 2-1 comeback victory over Germany last week.

“We played against Spain, one of the top teams in the world, and we knew before the game that it would be very tough and challenging, and it was,” said Moriyasu, whose team lost their second match in Qatar against Costa Rica.

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“The players conceded one goal, but they persevered and performed admirably under extremely challenging conditions,” he told reporters.

Spain appeared to be in complete control in the first half, but suddenly they were clutching to a World Cup spot as Costa Rica and Germany fought out their own drama in the other Group E encounter.

Germany triumphed 4-2, but the victory margin was insufficient to keep them in the competition.

Alvaro Morata gave Spain the lead with his third goal in three games in Qatar when he powered a header past Japan’s goalkeeper Shuichi Gonda in the eleventh minute after a cross by his former Chelsea teammate Cesar Azpilicueta.

Dani Olmo came closest to equalizing in the final minutes, but his angled attempt was easily collected by Gonda.

Japan clinched first position in Group E with their stunning victory, followed by Spain in second and Germany in third on goal differential.

Fans of Japan were in tears at the conclusion of the game, which gives them a chance to advance further than ever before in a World Cup. Japan has previously reached the round of 16 three times, losing each time.

“Many fans traveled all the way from Japan, as well as those who remained in Japan,” remarked coach Moriyasu. This victory is a gift to the Japanese people, and we are ecstatic about it.

Luis Enrique, who made five substitutions to his starting lineup in order to rest his top players, was not pleased.

“There was no danger in the first half, but I warned them at halftime to be cautious in the second half because they would attack since they have nothing to lose,” he added. “I have no cause for celebration.”

Japan’s Kou Itakura received his second yellow card of the competition and will miss the match against Croatia.

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