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FIFA World Cup 2022: Ritsu Doan, Japan’s Ao Tanaka star beats Spain, BOTH teams advance, WATCH | Football news

Same stadium. Same result. Similar shocking victory for Japan at the World Cup. After beating Germany in the team’s opener, Japan worked their way to the round of 16 of the 2022 FIFA World Cup on Thursday (December 1) by beating Spain 2-1 – the same score as last week. Spain also advanced despite the loss, knocking Germany out of the tournament.

Japan scored twice early in the second half to come from behind to beat another European powerhouse to reach the knockout stages for their second World Cup in a row. It is the first time Japan has progressed past the group stage in back-to-back tournaments.

“For Asia and for Japan, our wins over Spain and Germany, two of the best teams in the world, are something that gives us a lot of confidence and we are very happy,” Japan coach Hajime Moriyasu said. “Of course we still have a lot to learn, but Asia can win on the world stage, Japan can win on the world stage.”

Ao Tanaka scored the winning goal from close range early in the second half. It took about two minutes for video review officials to confirm that the ball had not gone out of bounds in front of goal at Khalifa International Stadium, where Japan had shocked Germany in the opener. Players from both teams looked surprised when it was announced that the goal counted, and the Japanese started running back to their bench to celebrate with their teammates.

“From my angle I think the ball was clearly half out, but I couldn’t see more than that because of the speed,” said Tanaka. “I focused on scoring. There was always a possibility that it was out… But in the end it was a goal, so that was great.

Japan finished top of Group E and will next face Croatia. Spain will face Group F winner Morocco. Spain and Germany – who defeated Costa Rica 4-2 in a simultaneous game – both had four points in the group. But Spain had a superior goal difference.

Watch Japan beat Spain in a FIFA World Cup 2022 match here…

The group standings bounced back and forth during both matches. Costa Rica at one point defeated Germany. If that result had stood, Costa Rica would have eliminated Spain. Spain coach Luis Enrique said he was unaware that Costa Rica was winning at one point.

“If I had known, I could have had a heart attack,” he said.

Álvaro Morata scored for Spain in the 11th minute and the 2010 champions were in control until Japan rallied after the break. Ritsu Doan equalized in the 48th with a left footed shot from outside the box and Tanaka added the second three minutes later. Luis Enrique said Spain “went into collapse mode”.

“We completely lost control in those five minutes. We panicked,” said Luis Enrique. “If they should have scored more goals, they could have done that. They passed us like an airplane.”

Morata became the first Spanish player to score in the team’s first three matches at the World Cup since Telmo Zarra in 1950. Spain had started in a 7–0 defeat to Costa Rica before conceding a late 1–1 draw against Germany.

Japan, which lost to Costa Rica in its second game, was eliminated four years ago in Russia by Belgium in the last 16. The Japanese have never progressed beyond the eighth finals at the World Cup. By finishing second in the group, Spain can avoid Brazil in the quarter-finals and Argentina in the semi-finals.

“There is nothing to celebrate,” said Luis Enrique. “I’m not happy. We wanted to finish in first place with a win.”

The coach said he was surprised that Japan’s second goal was confirmed by VAR. He said he was shown a picture of the ball out of bounds. “That picture they showed me must have changed,” said Luis Enrique. “That’s the only explanation.”

(with PTI inputs)

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