Japan vs Spain and Germany vs Costa Rica


Japan’s Ao Tanaka celebrates after scoring his team’s second goal against Spain. (Aijaz Rahi/AP)

It was an incredible game.

Spain were expected to dominate the ball in the first half, keeping Japan chasing, and then striker Alvaro Morata also secured Spain’s first goal early in the game.

But Japan had a phenomenal campaign against La Roja Fuera, scoring twice in quick succession in the 48th and 51st minutes. Spain could not reply throughout the second half.

The Blue Samurai’s triumphant advance to the Round of 16 atop Group E is particularly dramatic given the stats: the team only had possession of the ball for less than 20% of the entire game, and less shot attempts towards the Spanish goal as well.

Spain also qualified for the round of 16 as Costa Rica failed to defeat Germany.


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