Japan beat Spain 2-1 and knocked out Germany at the World Cup

Japan had stunned Germany once in this World Cup. They did it again on Friday – this time, also upsetting Spain. And they also did it in the same location: the Khalifa International Stadium.

On one of the most dramatic nights in World Cup history, the Asian giants staged an incredible second-half comeback, beating 2010 world champions Spain 2-1 and in the process knocking out 2014 world champions Germany, who exited the World Cup. for the second time in a row in the group stage.

With the fortunes of all four teams in Group E swinging from one extreme to the other, Japan led the group six points ahead of Spain, who were tied with Germany (4), but thanks to a superior goal difference. Costa Rica, who struggled to progress for a few minutes as they led Germany but lost 4-2, finished bottom of the group with three points.

But the night belonged to Japan, who caused another huge upset thanks to inspired substitutions in the second half.

Japan coach Hajime Moriyasu’s team selections have been heavily scrutinized in the past two games. After his substitutions worked wonders in the second half against Germany, the players who turned the game around against Costa Rica remained on the bench, resulting in a loss. And when he kept them out of the starting line-up against Spain on Thursday, one wondered if Moriyasu had again blundered, especially after Spain dominated the first half, leading 1-0 after an 11th-minute Álvaro Morata header put Japan on top. field remained. edge of elimination.

Maybe he did. But he corrected course and Japan came back from the dead to win the match and make it to the Round of 16.

Moriyasu brought Ritsu Doan – one of the impact players of Germany’s win – off the bench early in the second half. And it proved to be a game-changing move, as Doan scored within a minute of coming on and turned not only the game, but the entire Group E equation upside down.

Until then, things had gone smoothly for Spain and Germany. While Spain never suffered from Japan, Germany asserted itself over Costa Rica at Al Bayt stadium.

A Serge Gnabry header off a David Raum cross in the 10th minute had put Germany ahead and they looked on course to secure their place in the last 16, given that Japan – who were on points ahead of them before kick-off lag – lost to Spain at the time.

It remained that way until half-time in both games. After the restart, however, the tables turned.

Japan came out on top and after Doan’s equalizer in the 48th minute, Tanaka tapped the ball past Spanish goalkeeper Unai Simon in controversial circumstances. It looked like the ball had crossed the touchline before Ao Tanaka was played over it to score. But after a painful VAR wait, the decision was ruled in favor of Japan.

Spain pushed hard for the equalizer, but failed to break through the Japanese wall despite possession of the ball.

Japan survived anxious moments late in the game to record a famous win. It didn’t matter that Germany had beaten Costa Rica in the other game. A week after upsetting Germany, they dealt a bigger blow this time by knocking them out of the World Cup.

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