2022 World Cup: Japan rally past Spain as both sides reach round of 16 & More Trending News


AL RAYYAN, Qatar — Japan staged a heroic comeback in opposition to Spain to win 2-1 and guide their place within the round of 16 on the World Cup.

Spain led via Alvaro Morata’s early objective, however Japan, who could not handle a shot on course within the first half, turned the sport round shortly after the break with two targets throughout a frantic three-minute spell because of halftime substitute Ritsu Doan and Ao Tanaka.

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Tanaka’s objective was initially dominated out after the ball was judged to have run out of play earlier than Kaoru Mitoma’s cut-back, however VAR overturned the choice and gave Japan the three factors they wanted to make sure of a spot within the knockout rounds.

JUMP TO: Player rankings | Best/worst performers | Highlights and notable moments | Postmatch quotes | Key stats | Upcoming fixtures

Rapid Reaction

1. Japan’s particular run continues

Japan gave discover 4 years in the past that they don’t seem to be phased by dealing with heavyweight opposition on the World Cup after they nearly dumped Belgium out within the round of 16, however what they’ve already finished in Qatar is one thing particular.

Despite being drawn in a troublesome group, there was a quiet confidence at dwelling about what Hajime Moriyasu’s crew would possibly be capable of obtain. Very few would have anticipated to prime Group E by beating both Germany and Spain. Even extra outstanding is that Japan have been a objective down in both video games and battled again — a warning to any crew they face within the knockout rounds that they’re by no means out of a contest.

Since qualifying for his or her first World Cup in 1998, Japan have by no means reached the quarterfinals, however they’ve already proven right here that something is feasible, beginning with a knockout round matchup in opposition to Croatia on Monday.

It additionally turns into full circle for Moriyasu, who performed in a World Cup qualifier in opposition to Iraq in Qatar in 1993 which turned identified as “the tragedy of Doha” after Japan conceded a stoppage time equaliser to disclaim them an look on the 1994 event.

This outcome will certainly soothe that painful reminiscence for Moriyasu as his crew proceed an inconceivable run in Qatar.

2. Spain’s struggles a blessing?

After demolishing Costa Rica 7-0 within the group stage opener, wanting comfy for giant spells in opposition to Germany after which taking an early lead in opposition to Japan, it is nearly unbelievable that for a interval within the second half right here Spain have been going out.

Japan’s rally with two targets in three minutes early within the second half — mixed with Costa Rica taking an unlikely lead in opposition to Germany — meant Spain dropped down to 3rd in Group E and dealing with an early exit.

Spain supervisor Luis Enrique has Kai Havertz to thank for turning the sport in opposition to Costa Rica in Germany’s favour, however it is going to be a fear that when La Roja have been determined for a objective, they appeared toothless.

The bonus for Spain is that ending second of their group means they keep away from the hardest facet of the draw, which already consists of Argentina and certain Brazil. Winning the group would have probably meant a quarterfinal matchup with Brazil, however now Spain’s route consists of Morocco within the second round, probably Portugal within the quarterfinals and maybe France or England within the semifinals.

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However, none of that can matter if Spain preserve enjoying like they did within the second half — errors in defence and limp in assault — as a result of in the event that they try this, they will not get very far in any respect.



ESPN FC’s Gab Marcotti defends Morocco after Spain end 2nd of their group and face them within the round of 16.

3. Morata makes case however assault depth a problem

Alvaro Morata has handed his first begin of the World Cup and repaid Luis Enrique with a trademark header from Cesar Azpilicueta’s pinpoint cross, however what adopted was loads of possession and never a lot else.

In the primary half, both Rodri (115) and Pau Torres (109) accomplished extra passes than Japan did as a whole crew (89) however as is typically the case with Spain, it did not actually imply something, and for spells of the sport it nearly appeared like they needed to complete second within the group.

Morata now has three targets in Qatar — tying him with Kylian Mbappe, Marcus Rashford, Cody Gakpo and Enner Valencia within the Golden Boot race — and has made a powerful case to begin in opposition to Morocco. However, selecting him from the beginning would go away Luis Enrique with out a direct choice off the bench if issues begin to go mistaken. As Spain chased a objective in opposition to Japan, Marco Asensio, Ferran Torres and Ansu Fati all got here on, however they struggled to make a major influence.

In the tip Spain have been lucky that Costa Rica could not maintain on in opposition to Germany, however they hardly ever troubled Japan goalkeeper Shuichi Gonda within the second half.

Player rankings

Spain: Unai Simon 5, Cesar Azpilicueta 6, Alejandro Balde 6, Pau Torres 6, Rodri 5, Sergio Busquets 6, Gavi 6, Pedri 6, Dani Olmo 5, Nico Williams 5, Alvaro Morata 7.

Subs: Dani Carvajal 6, Marco Asensio 6, Ferran Torres 6, Ansu Fati 6, Jordi Alba 6.

Japan: Shuichi Gonda 7, Shogo Taniguchi 7, Kou Itakura 7, Maya Yoshida 7, Yuto Nagatomo 5, Hidemasa Morita 7, Junya Ito 7, Ao Tanaka 7, Takefusa Kubo 5, Daichi Kamada 7, Daizen Maeda 7.

Subs: Kaoru Mitoma 8, Ritsu Doan 8, Takuma Asano 6, Wataru Endo 6.

Best and worst performers

BEST: Ritsu Doan, Japan.

Changed the sport when he got here on at halftime, first with a spectacular objective after which with the cross which led to Japan’s game-winner.

WORST: Unai Simon, Spain.

Gave the ball away for Japan’s first objective attempting to play out from the again.

Highlights and notable moments

Check out ESPN’s breakdown on why VAR awarded Japan the decisive objective after the ball appeared to exit.

After the match: What the gamers and managers stated

Japan supervisor Hajime Moriyasu, on the win: “We played against Spain, one of the best teams in the world and we knew before the game that this was going to be very tough and difficult, and indeed it was,” stated Moriyasu whose facet misplaced to Costa Rica of their second match in Qatar.

“The players conceded one goal, but they persisted and in very difficult circumstances, they did very well.”

Spain supervisor Luis Enrique to TVE, on the outcome: “This is football, I have a lot of experience in football, I’ve seen everything, all the good and all the bad. Relax, try to make a difference with substitutions, we put on more attackers but it’s hard to find spaces against an opponent that defends like Japan.

“We’ll do our grieving tonight. There’s nothing to have a good time, we undergo in second, however this must be a warning, to grasp that this may occur. If we’re fortunate sufficient to go forward in opposition to Morocco, this may occur once more. We must be a bit extra convincing in these moments after we’re underneath stress.”

Key stats (supplied by ESPN Stats & Information analysis)

– Japan’s 18% possession in opposition to Spain is the bottom by any crew at a World Cup sport since 1966.

– Japan are the second crew to defeat both Spain and Germany at a single World Cup, becoming a member of Austria’s 1978 squad.

Up subsequent

Spain: Taking on Group D winners Morocco within the round of 16 on Monday. It is the second straight World Cup that the 2 geographical neighbors will face one another, with La Roja and the Atlas Lions enjoying to a 2-2 attract 2018 within the group stage.

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

2022 World Cup: Japan rally past Spain as both sides reach round of 16

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