Japan’s momentous 2-1 victory over Germany in their opening game was offset by a 1-0 defeat by Costa Rica. They can only be sure of prolonging their stay at the FIFA World Cup 2022™ if they win their final Group E fixture against Spain, who will go through if Japan avoids defeat and are guaranteed the top spot if they win. This match is the first competitive meeting between the teams.
Japan had a chance to lead the game in the opening minutes when they almost scored in the 6th minute. The shot went wide. Spain opened the score with Alvaro Morata with an easy header where Cesar Azpilicueta floated an inch-perfect cross from the right side. This goal marks his third goal in the FIFA World Cup. Spain leads the game, 1-0.
The Japanese committed a couple of cynical fouls on Spain players, frustrated with the lack of possession. As the game continues, Spain has wholly dominated it, and Japan is struggling to even get out of their half.
The officials added one additional minute to the play. Right before halftime, 3 out of 4 Japan backlines got themselves with Yellow Cards with poor tackles. Both teams went into halftime rest, with Spain 1 to Japan 0.
2nd half was a game-changer. The substitute Ritsu Doan made the team’s first attempt and converted it into a goal. Shortly after, Japan again had the ball in the back of the net. The ball looks like it was out of the line. The VAR intervention confirmed Ao Tanaka’s strike stood. Japan 2, Spain 1.
Spain has pinned Japan back, but they’re struggling to find the pass to unlock their defence. Spain’s Marco Asensio tested the Japanese keeper Shuichi Gonda with a fine strike from a distance, and a second later, Dani Olmo rebounded, but Japan held firm.
The official in the final quarter added seven minutes of extra time. Although Spain kept attacking, but nothing changed. The final whistle blew and marked the end of the game. Japan and Spain will advance to Round 16 of the FIFA World Cup, where Germany and Costa Rica exited the FIFA World Cup 2022.