First in Pool E to everyone’s surprise in front of La Roja, Japan, who beat Germany by the same score for their entry into the tournament, will face Croatia on Monday while Spain will face Morocco on Tuesday . The second goal of the Blue Samouraïs is however likely to fuel controversy, the ball having seemed to have left the field on the action concretized by Tanaka.
Anyway, the Japanese selection reaches the knockout stages of the World Cup as in 2002, 2010 and 2018, a stage of the competition that it has never managed to cross so far.
Spain set the pace
Very active from the start, the Japanese proved to be the first to be dangerous through Stade de Reims striker Junya Ito, whose shot from the right side from a tight angle narrowly missed Unai Simon’s goal (8th ).
But the Japanese desires and enthusiasm were showered three minutes later when Alvaro Morata, preferred to Marco Asensio at the forefront of the attack, opened the scoring with a header, receiving an impeccable cross from the right side. of Chelsea Cesar Azpilicueta (11th).
The Atlético Madrid striker scored his third World Cup goal on this occasion and joined the top group in the scoring charts. The match then slackened in intensity, the Spaniards contenting themselves with playing at a false pace while opposite the Japanese did not spare their efforts, but in a way too disorderly to worry the opposing defence.
But the first thunderclap three minutes after the restart: Ritsu Doan, the Freiburg striker, who had already scored the first goal against Germany, equalized with a powerful shot from the left at the entrance to the surface on which Unai Simon, the Spanish goalkeeper, did not seem free from reproach (48th).
And a second thunderclap six minutes later (54th) when Japan took the lead on a late cross from Kaoru Mitoma for Ao Tanaka who scored from close range. In TV footage, the ball appeared to go out of bounds when Mitoma lunged to cross, but South African referee Victor Gomes allowed the goal after watching VAR.
Unable to react and ultimately very disappointing, Spain no longer managed to impose their game, hampered by the fighting spirit of Blue Samurai unleashed and determined to maintain an advantage which opens the gates of paradise to them. Spain, it finds the round of 16 which had not succeeded in 2018 with an elimination on penalties by Russia, the organizing country.