THE BALL – Incredible: Japan beats Spain and goes to the round of 16 (World Cup 2022)

Epic game in Doha, with Japan winning after comeback and qualifying in first place in group E, with Spain also moving forward but in second place.

Unsurprisingly, it was the Spaniards who took the lead in the match, with more possession of the ball, making good circulation between sectors and thus entering the match very strongly. Japan strengthened the defensive line, closing in at 5x4x1 when they didn’t have the ball, dropped back a lot and conceded the goal in the first quarter of an hour: a good cross from Azpilicueta and Morata, stronger than the opponents, jumped for the first goal. In fact, apart from that move, little else was seen of real danger materialized by Luis Enrique’s selection. A lot of ball, yes, but a lot of dry powder too. Morata was the one who tried the hardest, but found a worthy opponent in goalkeeper Gonda.

Japan, with the Sporting player Morita in the starting line-up (a good game and with a lot of work in his heart) came back much more aggressive after the break. Mitoma and Doan entered and it was they who changed the game: Doan took advantage of a mistake by Baldé to shoot from outside the area and saw Unai Simón facilitate; then Mitona built the second, next to the back line, crossed to the heart of the area where Tanaka operated the turnaround of the blue samurai.

Spain got nervous, changed the stones, but did not find themselves again, surprised by the aggressiveness and speed that Japan put on the field. Only after 90′ did Dani Olmo and Asensio bother the Japanese networks again, but Gonda was again stronger.

Japan heads to the round of 16 where it will measure forces with Croatia, while Spain will face Morocco.

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