Spain vs Japan WC 2022 Post-match Analysis: Samurai Blue’s shocking comeback
We stated from the beginning that, if you could do it, placing second in Group E was the way to go. The vast differences in the routes to the World Cup final may have also been noted by Spain, but given how Thursday night's events transpired, they ran the risk of not progressing at all. Nevertheless, Japan put up a courageous effort that wrecked Matchday 3 in ways we could never have anticipated. The way things turned out, Japan won the group of death, played a second half to remember, defeated a World Cup champion for the second time in the group, and will play Croatia in the round of 16, while Spain will play Morocco. After Brazil in 1938 and Germany in 1970, Japan is now the third side in World Cup history to trail at the break before coming back to win two games in a single tournament.
With a recover in a risky area close to the Spain goal, Japan was forewarned right away. In the eighth minute, Japan moved the ball to Junya Ito, who was unable to slip his effort inside the near post after Sergio Busquets was dispossessed at the top of the box. The anticipated second-half comeback would be ignited in a similar manner. But it didn't take long for Spain to start hurting in those early minutes. Lvaro Morata scored his third goal of the competition by heading home a cross from right back César Azpilicueta. Azpilicueta contributed to eight of Morata's 24 goals across all leagues for Chelsea, but this was the first time he did so for Spain.
Morata became the second Spaniard to score in each of his first three World Cup games after Telmo Zarra in 1950 after entering the game with two goals in 69 minutes throughout Spain's first two matches of the tournament. He scored his third against Japan in the 11th minute. His third goal against Japan came in the 11th minute, making him the second Spaniard after Telmo Zarra in 1950 to score in each of his first three World Cup games. Spain held the lead match with two goals in 69 minutes throughout Spain's first two matches of the tournament.
Morata opened the scoring for Spain.
That meant that Japan would advance to the top of the group of death, followed by Spain, but while all of that was going on, Costa Rica was constructing toward a goal of their own in the 58th. When another team gained the lead in the 70th minute, Spain would have been eliminated. The most hopeless situation belonged to Germany, but three minutes later, the four-time champions saved Spain by scoring the first of three goals that helped to calm Spain's nerves.
Ritsu Doan equalized for the Sumurai Blue
Possibly obscured by the mayhem of the Group E second halves was Japan's tactical performance. A selective press was a component of that. Japan just managed one shot from 16 high turnovers prior to the contest. Against Spain, they scored twice from a possible six, including the crucial opening goal. Japan won a World Cup game with the lowest possession percentage ever seen in a competition with 17.7% of the ball. With the victory, Japan advances to the knockout stage for the first time ever, topping its group for the first time since hosting the event 20 years ago. What a gang to beat, too!
Japan finishes top in the "Group of Death"