Was Japan’s second goal against Spain legal?

Mitoma's pass came out or not?  Photo: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

Mitoma’s pass came out or not? Photo: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

It wasn’t just Japan’s 2-1 victory over Spain that drew attention in the final stretch of the World Cup group stage, that is, Tanaka’s goal, which gave the Asians victory, still causes discussion . So was Japan’s second goal against Spain legal?

It is worth remembering that the goal was validated after a long analysis by the VAR team. Until then, the video referees never caused so much delay in this World Cup in Qatar. A goal that took Japan to the round of 16 and also eliminated Germany from the knockout round.

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The move happened when Tanaka hit the archer Unai Simon after Kaoru Mitoma’s cross, but by all indications the ball already seemed to be out. At the time of the VAR review, TV images from different countries showed that the ball was not in the field.

However, these referees from the video room used the resource of alternative angles, which have not yet been released by FIFA, but which convinced them during the check that the ball had not really gone out, that is, the goal was legal for these analysts. It is worth remembering that sometimes the normal angle is not ideal to clear doubts about this move, with the aerial view being the best, as shown below. However, FIFA does not currently have this feature for the bottom line.

Many leaders believe that this was the right decision, but it gives rise to endless discussion. Undoubtedly, it was the biggest controversy of this World Cup, which was also involved with political issues in the off-field.


The Japanese were simply the executioners of the Germans in this World Cup. In addition to beating the Germans 2-1 in their debut in Group E, they provoked the German disqualification thanks to Tanaka’s goal and pushed Spain to second place in their group. The team of “Land of the Rising Sun” will face Croatia in the round of 16 this Monday (5), at 12h (Brasília time), at the Al Janoub Stadium.

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