Japan’s run on Rally Spain continues


Al Rayyan, Qatar — Japan came back strongly against spain To win 2-1 And have confirmed their place in the round-16 world Cup,

Spain took the lead through an early goal from Alvaro Morata but Japan, who could not find a shot on target in the first half, turned the game around with two goals during a three-minute spell immediately after the break. ritsu don and then come on tanaka,

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Tanaka’s goal was initially disallowed as the ball was ruled out of play kaoru mitomaBut VAR overturned the decision and gave Japan the three points they needed to ensure a place in the knockout rounds.

jump to: player ratings , Best/Worst Performers , Highlights and Notable Moments , postmatch quotes , key figures , upcoming fixtures

Swift response

1. Japan special race continues

Japan gave notice four years ago that they were not phased out by facing heavyweight opposition at the World Cup when they were almost knocked out belgium Went out in the round of 16 but what he has done in Qatar is something special.

Despite being drawn in a tough group, there was a quiet confidence driving home what Hajime Moriyasu’s team could achieve. Very few would have expected them to beat the two to top Group E Germany and Spain. Even more remarkable, Japan were a goal down in both games and made a comeback – a reminder to any team facing the knockout rounds that they will never be out of the competition.

Since qualifying for their first World Cup in 1998, Japan have never reached the quarter-finals, but they’ve already shown that anything is possible, starting with knockout round matchups Croatia on Monday.

It also comes full circle for Moriyasu, who played against the World Cup qualifiers Iraq In Qatar in 1993 what became known as the “Tragedy of Doha” occurred when Japan conceded a stoppage time equalizer to deny them an appearance in the 1994 tournament.

This result will certainly put that painful memory to rest for Moriyasu as his team navigates an improbable run in Qatar.

2. Spain’s struggle boon?

after demolishing Costa Rica 7-0 in the group stage opener, looking comfortable for a big spell against Germany and then taking an early lead against Japan, it’s almost unbelievable that Spain were going out here in the second half.

Japan’s rally within three minutes at the start of the second half – combined with Costa Rica taking an unexpected lead against Germany – meant Spain dropped to third place in Group E and faced an early exit.

Spain manager Luis Enrique Kai Havertz Thanks for turning the game against Costa Rica in Germany’s favor but it will be a matter of concern when la rosa Desperate for goals, looked toothless.

The bonus for Spain is that finishing second in their group means they avoid the toughest side of the draw, which already includes Argentina and likely Brazil, A win in the group would mean a quarter-final matchup with Brazil, but Spain is now in the way Morocco in the second round, probably Portugal in the quarterfinals and maybe France either england in the semi-finals.

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However, it won’t matter if Spain continue to play like they did in the second half – mistakes in defense and lameness in attack – because if they do, they won’t be able to go very far.

3. Morata makes case but depth of attack is an issue

Alvaro Morata has been handed his first World Cup start and repaid Luis Enrique with a trademark header caesar azpilicuetaPinpointed cross from, but what followed was very much possession and not much else.

both in the first half rodri (115) and pau torres (109) completed more passes than Japan as a whole team (89), but as is sometimes the case with Spain, it didn’t really mean anything and seemed to become chants of the game. They wanted to finish second in the group. ,

Morata now has three goals in Qatar – tied with kilian mbappe, marcus rashford, kodi gakpoAnd Ener Valencia in the race for the Golden Boot — and has made a strong case to start against Morocco. However, picking him from the outset would leave Luis Enrique without a direct option off the bench if things start to go wrong. As Spain chased down a goal against Japan, marco asensio, pheran torres And Anu Fati All came but they struggled to make a significant impact.

In the end Spain were lucky that Costa Rica could not hold against Germany but they rarely troubled the Japan goalkeeper Shuchi Gonda in the second half.

player ratings

Spain: unai simon 5, Cesar Azpilicueta 6, Alejandro Balde 6, Pau Torres 6, Rodri 5, Sergio Busquets 6, Gavi 6, pedi 6, Dani Olmo 5, nico williams 5, Alvaro Morata 7.

sub: Dani Carvajal 6, Marco Asensio 6, Ferran Torres 6, Anu Fati 6, Jordi Alba 6.

Japan: Shuchi Gonda 7, shogo taniguchi 7, kou itakura 7, Maya Yoshida 7, uto nagatamo 5, hidemasa morita 7, junya ito 7, Aoi Tanaka 7, takefusa kubo 5, daiichi kamada 7, Dijon Maida 7.

sub: Kaoru Mitoma 8, Ritsu Don 8, takuma asano 6, wataru endo 6.

best and worst performers

Best: Ritsu Don, Japan.

turned the game when he came on at halftime, first with a spectacular goal and then with a cross that netted Japan the game-winner.

Bad: Unai Simon, Spain.

Gave the ball away for Japan’s first goal trying to play from behind.

Highlights and Notable Moments

Watch ESPN’s breakdown on why VAR gave Japan the decisive goal after the ball appears to be out,

After the match: What the players and managers said

Spain manager Luis Enrique, from TVE, on the result: “This is football, I have a lot of experience in football, I have seen everything, all the good and all the bad. Relax, try to make a difference with substitutions, we put more attackers but it is difficult to find space against ” An opponent who defends like Japan.

“We will mourn ours tonight. There is nothing to celebrate, we pass into another, but this should be a warning, to realize that this will happen. If we are lucky enough to advance against Morocco , so it will be.” Again. We need to be a little more confident in those moments when we are under pressure.”

Key Stats (Provided by ESPN Stats & Information Research)

– Japan’s 18% possession against Spain is the lowest by any team in a World Cup game since 1966.

Japan is the second team to beat both Spain and Germany in the same World Cup Austria1978 team.


Spain: The Group D winners will face Morocco in the Round of 16 on Monday. This is the second straight World Cup in which two geographical neighbors will face each other la rosa And the Atlas Lions played out a 2–2 draw in 2018 in the group stage.

Japan: As winners of Group E, Samurai Blue will face Group D runners-up Croatia on Monday.

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