World Cup 2022 Recap: Japan stun Spain, Belgium and Germany out

World Cup 2022 Recap: Japan stun Spain, Belgium and Germany out

Japan beat Spain 2-1 to advance in the last-16 and end four-time world champions Germany’s World Cup berth despite winning against Costa Rica 2-4. The Japanese team emerged as group winners, while Spain and Germany level in points. However, only La Roja advanced on goal difference and finished second in Group E standings. Belgium also ended their World Cup 2022 journey with a goalless draw against Croatia to finish third in Group F.

Spain were initially in control of the first half, with Alvaro Morato opening the lead for Spain in the 11th minute. The Samurai Blue bounced back with controversial Ritsu Doan left-foot equalizer in the 48th minute, just minutes after coming on as a substitute at halftime. Ao Tanaka netted their second from close range three minutes later and held onto it until the final whistle was heard, and the Japanese side stormed the pitch in celebration. 

“It’s not like we have re-written history, but we’ve overcome a big wall,” said Doan, who scored in both Spain and Germany clashes. “I think it’s the result of fighting as a team.” Earlier, Japan came from behind to hand Germany a shocking 2-1 in their Group E opener. Germany joins Costa Rica at the bottom of the group standings. Japan will face Croatia next, while Spain will take on Morocco. Get results and updates about soccer matches today here!

Needing a win to advance, Belgium made a lot of possessions early in the game. Croatia almost broke the deadlock with Luka Modrić only for VAR to rule it out for offside. Belgium’s record scorer Romelu Lukaku also made a lot of chances on the hour mark. However, none of these attempts were converted. Lukaku was given the final chance to rescue Belgium in the added time, but still missed the opportunity.

In the end, Belgium had to settle for a goalless draw, with Croatia ensuring a place in the knockouts, as Morocco won against Canada 1-2 to finish as group winners. This will be the first time that Belgium were eliminated in the group stage since 1998. “It has given us incredible joy. It is the time for me to accept that this is the last game,” said Belgium coach Roberto Martinez, who steps down as their manager after the team’s early World Cup exit. 

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