Spain appeared poised for straight forward evening when Morata struck early.Ritsu Doan began turnaround shortly after half-time.Ao Tanaka completed comeback with goal awarded after VAR delay.
Japan makes history (again)!
Witness how the Samurai Blue finished on top of Group E!
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) December 1, 2022
Japan are only the third team in World Cup history to win two different games at a single edition in which they were losing at half-time, after Brazil in 1938 and Germany in 1970.
Japan created a sense of déjà vu with a stunning second-half recovery to beat Spain, finish top of FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group E and set up a last-16 tie against Croatia.
The startling consequence of Japan’s improbable victory at Khalifa International Stadium is a second successive group-stage exit for Germany, the team Hajime Moriyasu’s side trailed eight days ago before roaring back for a 2-1 win.
Alvaro Morata scored his third goal in as many matches – heading in a cross from old Chelsea ally Cesar Azpilicueta – to put dominant Spain firmly in control after 11 minutes. Shuichi Gonda held a scorching Morata effort but a victory for Luis Enrique’s team to rival the seven-goal thumping Costa Rica last week seemed a legitimate prospect.
Alvaro Morata became the second player to score in his first three FIFA World Cup appearances for Spain, after Telmo Zarra in 1950.And also he is now Spain’s fifth highest scorer of all-time with 30 goals in 60 appearances.
This World Cup is making fools of a lot of observers and despite a possession share hovering around the 20-per-cent mark, Japan achieved parity three minutes after the restart.
Moriyasu’s players hounded the Spanish, trying to play from the back, and when the ball alighted with substitute Ritsu Doan, who came on to equalise against Germany, the 24-year-old belted an attempt that Unai Simon couldn’t keep out despite getting two hands to the ball.
The game was turned entirely on its head three minutes later. Doan rolled a ball to the far post, where it was kept alive by Karou Mitoma. His chopped pass from the byline invited Ao Tanaka to prod home what would be the decisive goal.
Tanaka’s strike was initially ruled out but a VAR review concluded the whole ball had not crossed the byline before Mitoma squeezed back his cross for the midfielder. Japan could have extended their lead but Takuma Asano’s first-time shot squirted wide following excellence approach play from Mitoma.
The best Spain could muster after falling behind was an opening for Dani Olmo, whose weak effort was easily saved by Gonda after a brisk exchange of passes with Ferran Torres. Luis Enrique’s team go through in second and will meet Morocco in the Round of 16.
Player of the Match:Ao Takama