FIFA World Cup 2022: Japan stun Spain, qualify for R16
Japan topped the proceedings in Group E after handing Spain a stunning 2-1 defeat at the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar. Japan finished with six points, having earlier beaten Germany before losing to Costa Rica. Spain have also joined Japan in the round of 16, finishing above third-placed Germany. Notably, Germany beat Costa Rica 4-2 but suffered an exit. Here's more.
A fitting end to Group E
Japan claimed six points in Group E (W2 L1), having beaten both heavyweights Germany and Spain. Spain, who started the World Cup in Qatar by mauling Costa Rica, were held by Germany and have now lost to Japan. Spain's goal difference of +6 helped them pip Germany as both sides claimed four points. Costa Rica finished bottom with three points collected.
Spain were heading out at one stage
In a cracking Group E finale, Spain were on the brink of an exit when they were behind versus Japan and Costa Rica were leading Germany 2-1. However, Germany made a comeback to seal the deal which in turn helped Spain progress.
Japan stun Spain 2-1
Alvaro Morata scored a header from Cesar Azpilicueta's cross from close range to hand Spain a 1-0 lead. However, Japan hit back after the break as Ritsu Doan equalized with a fierce shot from the edge of the area. The Samurai Blue then saw Kaoru Mitoma feed Ao Tanaka from Doan's low cross, who bundled home from close range. Japan held on thereafter.
Records for Spain's Morata and Busquets
As per Opta, Morata became the second player to score in his first three FIFA World Cup appearances for Spain, after Telmo Zarra in 1950. Morata now has 30 goals for Spain in all competitions, having made 60 appearances. Meanwhile, veteran midfielder Sergio Busquets made his 16th appearance for Spain at the FIFA World Cup, equaling Andoni Zubizarreta.
Despite 83% possession, Spain see Japan win
Spain enjoyed a stunning 83% possession, clocking 1,058 passes and a 91% accuracy. However, they managed just five shots on target from 12 attempts. Japan had three shots on target from six attempts.
Japan ink these stats, will face Croatia in R16
Japan have now reached the knockout stages for the second successive time. Japan also topped their group for the first time since 2002. Japan will take on Croatia in the round of 16. Meanwhile, Spain will face Morocco.