Japan come from behind to beat Spain and ensure World Cup progress while Germany’s victory against Costa Rica in vain.
World Cup 2022 – Group E concluded with another big upset as Japan beat Spain and Germany are out at the group-stage for the second consecutive time.
Football is madness; but this World Cup has been really bringing madness to the next level!
- Japan came from behind to beat Spain 2-1
- Germany pulled a comeback and thrashed Costa Rica 4-2
- Spain and Japan went through, as Germany and Costa Rica were out.
Japan 2-1 Spain: Samurai Blue top Group E after remarkable fightback
Goals from Ritsu Doan and Ao Tanaka, which came after controversial VAR decision, helped Japan reach the World Cup last 16.
With both sides knowing a win would see them advance, Spain was leading as Alvaro Morata headed beyond Shuichi Gonda in the 11th minute.
However, Japan substitute Ritsu Doan needed just three minutes to make an impact after his half-time introduction, firing a ferocious 20-yard strike to equalize for the Asian side..
Japan completed a remarkable turnaround just three minutes later as Tanaka bundled home Kaoru Mitoma’s cross, with a drawn-out VAR review ruling the ball in play.
News from Germany leading Costa Rica forced Spain to fight back to avoid a shocking elimination.
However, Luis Enrique’s men also knew that they could still advance by the 1-2 scoreline, provided that Germany did not score more to surpass their 6+ goals difference at that time.
Spain was in total control of the ball for the rest of the game, but no sign of another goal coming, as Japan also held firm in defending their achievement.
When the whistle was blown, tears were flooded from on and off the pitch, with the two teams heading to latter stage.
Japan have progressed to the knockout rounds in consecutive World Cup tournaments for the first time, but it’s been 20 years since the last time they top their group (2002).
Samural Blues have become the third team in World Cup history to be losing at half time and come back to win two matches in a single edition, after Brazil in 1938 and Germany in 1970.
Costa Rica 2-4 Germany: Flick’s men crash out following six-goal thriller
Kai Havertz put on a show, scoring twice for Hansi Flick’s men as they gave everything in the hope the results would fall their way.
Serge Gnabry opened the scoring only 10 minutes in with a header to the far corner of the net from David Raum’s cross.
However, Costa Rica also played for a win in a slim hope of qualifying while waiting for the other game’s result.
Keysher Fuller tried but failed, then Yeltsin Tejeda was the one who equalised for the South American side with his first international goal in the second half.
The job was easy for him as Manuel Neuer could only save the earlier header from Kendal Waston in the 58th minute.
Shortly after, Juan Pablo Vargas put them in front as it’s closer for Costa Rica to reach the latter stage.
News of Japan leading Spain left Germany fans with headaches, especially when their player kept on hitting the woodwork as many as three times.
Their effort was paid back with Kai Havertz levelled not long after Vargas’ goal and hit another one to put the 2014 World Cup champions back in front.
Then substitute Nicklas Fullkrug added a late fourth goal, but then, it’s all over since Japan beat Spain with a comeback, only to see them both joining hands and advanced through next stage.
Germany left it too late to keep their World Cup hopes alive, paying the price for a surprise loss to Japan in their first game of the tournament.
They finished third, level on points with Spain but falling short after Japan caused another upset to take top spot, with Costa Rica bottom.
For the second consecutive time, Germany was out from group-stage. It could be the very end of the gold generation, or what were left from the 2014 triumph.
Thomas Muller and Manuel Neuer both probably had their last dance….
What’s next for Japan and Spain
While Germany and Costa Rica are packing their bags, Japan will play Croatia on Monday and Spain take on Morocco 24 hours later.
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