They did it ! Placed in a “group of death” along with Costa Rica, Germany and Spain, the Samurai Blue had a lot to do to reach the round of 16 of the 2022 World Cup. After their opening victory against Germany, and then a surprise defeat by Costa Rica, the dream of qualification was still alive last night against Spain.
SIMPLY JAPAN 😍
— AS Monaco EN (@AS_Monaco_EN) December 1, 2022
As against the Germans, the teammates of Takumi Minamino, on the bench at kick-off, did not come into this match against the Spaniards as favorites, who were undefeated in the tournament. The game started badly for coach Hajime Moriyasu’s men, as La Roja opened the scoring in the eleventh minute through Alvaro Morata.
Five crazy minutes
As against Germany in the first match, Japan found themselves trailing at halftime. However, even with just 17.7% of possession, the lowest total in the history of the World Cup the Samurai Blues did not give up. At the start of the second half the substitute Ritsu Doan equalized with a powerful shot from the left (1-1, 48′).
It happened barely three minutes later, when Kaoru Mitoma turned and fired the ball towards Ao Tanaka, who only had to finish into an empty goal. Luis Enrique’s men, despite a spell of domination at the end of the game, would not come back into the match. 2-1 was the final score, and it was another big result for Taki’s teammates, who finished first in their group. Monumental!
In the Round of 16, Japan will take on 2018 runners-up Croatia, who finished second in Group F behind Morocco — it’s another big match to come!
Well done, Taki! 🇯🇵