Japan storms into the Qatar FIFA World Cup 2022 after having a tremendous 2-1 victory over the one-time World champion Spain in the final group stage match earlier.
It was a do-or-die match for the Japanese, and how beautifully did they utilize this chance to maximum output. The land of the rising sun has never shone brighter in any previous editions of the World Cup.
After they beat the four-time World champions Germany 2-1 in their inaugural match earlier in a colossal table-turning game, no one had anticipated that Japan’s victory would be more than just a fluke. They have proven their worth again after registering a win against the big and intimidating team of Spain, and they are here to stay.
The Spanish might have dominated the entire match on statistical fronts, keeping the ball possession for more than 80% of the game and having the double number of shots taken. Yet, this time, the most crucial stat was not in favor of the European giants.
Spain registered an early goal from Alvaro Morata’s header, which netted the ball, beating the goalkeeper in the 11th minute of the game. But the Europeans could not maintain their early lead, and after an uneventful full first half of domination from the Spanish front, the underdogs showed their magic.
Ritsu Doan scored the spectacular equalizer for Japan in the 48th minute of the game, netting the ball from a distance out of the box; he maintained Japan’s chances to move ahead. And finally, Ao Tanaka sealed Japan’s position in the knockout stages after scoring the winning goal for the Asian powerhouse from a very close range in the 51st minute of the match.
Japan made history in the Khalifa International Stadium not once but twice, defeating both European powerhouses of Germany and Spain in the same stadium and advancing past the group stages in a FIFA World Cup for the first time in history back-to-back.
With this victory, Japan has also crushed the hopes of Germany to proceed into the knockouts; even though they won 4-2 against Costa Rica earlier, the four-time winners will pack their bags. While Spain, despite losing their match to Japan, proceeded to the round of 16 as the group runners-up.