Japan advanced to the World Cup Round of 16 as two quick-fire goals earned them a dramatic 2-1 win over Spain.
Heading into the match the Asian outfit were second in Group E, but three minutes of madness helped them finish top and send shockwaves throughout the tournament as four-time winners Germany crashed out.
Spain took the lead through Alvaro Morata, with his goal being his third of the tournament so far and making him the joint top scorer in this year’s competition.
However just minutes after the break, Japan scored what would prove to be a crucial equaliser.
Ritsu Doan, who also levelled the scoring in their 2-1 win against Germany earlier in the tournament, fired past Unai Simon with a powerful effort.
Just moments later Ao Tanaka was on hand to put Japan in front, although there is a lot of debate surrounding the goal as the ball looked like it went out of play before it went in the back of the net.
Spain kept pushing in the hopes of a response, with the permutations across Group E changing by the minute.
In the other match, Germany took the lead against Costa Rica but soon found themselves behind in the second half, with the Central Americans’ second goal sending their opponents and Spain out at that point.
However, Kai Havertz later netted a brace to restore their lead and Niclas Fullkrug added a fourth, but it wasn’t enough for the Germans to send them through.
After a couple of hours filled with pure drama, Japan found themselves top of the group and through to the knockout stages, where they will now face Croatia.
Despite the loss, Spain also progressed to the Round of 16 and will next play Morocco, although it will be a wake up call for them as they advance through the rest of the tournament.
Costa Rica and, most surprisingly Germany, have both exited the World Cup, with the latter crashing out at the group stages for the second tournament in a row.
— 𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐒𝐩𝐨𝐫𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐍𝐞𝐰𝐬 (@sportingnews) December 1, 2022
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- Japan finish top of World Cup group with dramatic turnaround win over Spain as Germany are haunted by impact substitute again, as well as tight call
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