, author: Plackhin A.

Japan defeats Spain: The Samurai have prevented Germany, one of the favorit

In the last round of the group stage, all quartet matches were played in parallel. On that day, the outcome of both games depended on the outcome. The Japanese were more convincing in their desire to make the playoffs.

In Group "E", by the 3rd round, we had a rather interesting situation. The German team, considered on par with the Spaniards as the favorite in the quartet, was at the bottom of the table with one point. And was running the risk of not getting out of the group. And not everything depended on the Germans. The Japanese could easily keep them out of the playoffs in case of a win or even a draw against the Spanish; in case of a tie, they would look at the goal difference. Costa Rica were not to be written off either, as they still had a slight chance of making the playoffs.

The Spaniards began to prove from the start that they were the real favorites. Gavi shot into the penalty area - inaccurate. But after the throw-in the rebound was saved by the Spaniards. Aspilicueta crossed into the net for Morata who jumped high above everybody and headed the ball just to the right of Gonda who could not help.

Morata could have doubled his tally but his shot from under a defender landed straight into the hands of the Japanese goalkeeper.

In the closing stages of the halftime the game calmed down a little, but the advantage was still with the Spaniards. They looked confident that they were going to win. This confidence played a cruel trick on the Spaniards. Almost immediately after the break, Japan evened the score. Mitoma and Maeda forced the Spanish goalkeeper Simon to kick the ball to Balde. The latter robbed Ito on the right edge of the attack, and then the ball picked up Doan, moved to the penalty line and sent it into the near corner.

And after three minutes, the Japanese took the lead. Doan from the right edge of the penalty area from under Balde shot to the far edge of the goalmouth, Mitoma, who took the ball, sent it to Tanaka, who sent it into the empty net. The goal was initially ruled out due to the suspicion that the ball had left the field, but after a VAR review, it was conceded.

The Japanese went on the defensive after the second goal, forming a 5-4-1 formation. The same scheme helped them in the first half, but then the team was losing, while now they could afford to hold on to the score.

Towards the end of the game Spain could have tied the game. Olmo played with Ferran, got a return pass and shot on goal from the right edge of the penalty area, but the goalkeeper took the ball.

The Spaniards were short neither regulation time nor extra time to equalize. But one can't say they needed to. They secured their place in the playoffs, although while Costa Rica beat Germany, they were in a bleak third place.

Japan wakes up in a great mood: their national team is the first and will fight for the right to be called the discovery of the championship. Germany, on the other hand, is heading home. Now they will have enough time to talk about the color of the armbands.

Minutes of the match

Japan v Spain - 2:1 (0:0)

December 1. Aryan. Khalifa Stadium.

Referee - Gomes (South Africa).

Japan: Gonda, Taniguchi, Yoshida, Itakura, Nagatomo (Mitoma, 46), Kamada (Tomiyasu, 69), Morita, Tanaka (Endo, 87), Kubo (Doan, 46), Ito, Maeda (Asano, 62).

Spain: Simon, Aspilicueta (Carvajal, 46), Rodri, P. Torres, Balde (Alba, 68), Busquets, Gavi (Fati, 68), Pedri, N. Williams (Torres, 57), Morata (Asensio, 57), Olmo.

Goals: 0:1 Morata (7), 1:1 Doan (48), 2:1 Tanaka (51).

Warnings: Itakura (39), Taniguchi (44), Yoshida (45).