News Matches

Japan v Spain Live Commentary, 02/12/22

2 - 1
R. Dōan (48)
A. Tanaka (51)
Álvaro Morata (11)
Khalifa International Stadium


Thanks for joining the live text commentary for this match. Until next time, goodbye.
Japan face Croatia in the Round of 16 this Monday with Spain locking horns with Morocco the following day.
All over and both Japan and Spain progress to the Round of 16. Spain took the lead in the first half through Morata only for Japan to mount a dramatic comeback in the second half following goals from Doan and Tanaka. That, coupled with the fact that Germany beat Costa Rica in the group's other game, means that Japan go through as group winners while Spain go through as runners-up.
90' + 6' Spain are struggling to create the clear-cut chance they desperately need.
90' + 4' Spain are continuing to search for that elusive equaliser but Japan retain a threat on the break. We're set for a tense final few minutes.
90' + 2' Fati and Pedri combine promisingly in the final third only to lose the ball following a stray pass.
90' There will be seven minutes of additional time at the end of this second half.
90' CHANCE! Asensio stings Gonda's palms with a fine strike from distance and then, seconds later, Olmo tests him again. But Japan hold firm.
88' Mitsoma breaks into space down the left flank only for Rodri to recover the ball impressively.
W. Endo
A. Tanaka
86' Endo has replaced Tanaka to bring fresh legs to Japan's midfield.
84' Ito, played clean through on goal, loses the ball after jostling with Carvajal. A dangerous moment for Spain.
82' Asano directs a header on goal following a free-kick from the left side. But Simon makes a comfortable save.
80' Olmo tries his luck with a driven effort from distance but it strikes a Japanese defender before reaching the goal.
78' Spain have pinned Japan back but they're struggling to find the pass that will unlock their defence.
76' Ferran tries to play a lofted ball into the box to find Fati only for Japan to clear their lines.
74' Germany have equalised against Costa Rica - meaning as things stand Japan and Spain will be progressing.
72' Costa Rica have taken a 2-1 lead over Germany in the group's other game - meaning that as things stand they and Japan will progress to the Round of 16 while Spain and Germany will be eliminated.
70' CHANCE! Mitoma breaks down the left wing before squaring the ball for Asano just outside the area - but his shot is miscued and flies wide.
T. Tomiyasu
D. Kamada
70' Tomiyasu has replaced Kamada to shore up Japan's defence.
Jordi Alba
Alejandro Balde
68' Alba has come in for Balde to bring more experience to Spain's defence.
Ansu Fati
68' Fati has replaced Gavi to bring something more to Spain's attack.
66' Japan's defence is looking far more solid and impregnable than it did in the first half.
64' Spain's midfield aren't operating with the same swagger and poise as in the first half. They're in a firefight.
T. Asano
D. Maeda
62' Asano has replaced Maeda up front to inject fresh legs into their attack.
60' Conversely, Japan are playing with a great deal more confidence.
59' The game has returned to its regular pattern but everything has changed. Spain are now chasing this game.
Marco Asensio
Álvaro Morata
57' Asensio has come in for Morata through the middle.
Ferran Torres
Nico Williams
57' Ferran has replaced Williams on the right flank.
55' Spain have been rattled by Japan's comeback.
53' In an amazing sequence of events, the referee ruled Tanaka's goal out as he judged the ball to have gone out of play in the buildup. But a subsequent VAR check went against the referee and awarded Japan the goal.
K. Mitoma
51' Mitoma did well to cut the ball back for Tanaka to score.
A. Tanaka
51' GOAL! Tanaka scores to fire Japan into the lead. Doan did superbly to square the ball across the face of goal to find Mitoma, who did well to cut the ball back to Tanaka, who managed to bundle the ball over the line and make it 2-1.
50' Spain will be disappointed with how they defended for that goal.
J. Ito
48' Ito did well to move the ball to Doan so quickly.
R. Dōan
48' GOAL! Doan gets Japan back on level terms. The substitute, just on the pitch, seizes the ball at the edge of the box after sloppy defending by Spain before unleashing a fine effort into the top corner of the net, too much power on the shot for Simon to save it.
46' We're back underway here at Khalifa International Stadium.
Dani Carvajal
César Azpilicueta
46' Carvajal has replaced Azpilicueta at right-back.
K. Mitoma
Y. Nagatomo
46' Mitoma has come in for Nagatomo on the left flank.
R. Dōan
T. Kubo
46' Doan has replaced Take in the final third.
Spain are a goal to the good at half-time. They've been utterly dominant from the first whistle, pinning Japan back in their own half and not allowing them a second to breathe. Morata was the man to provide the decisive goal, arrowing in a fine header after Azpilicueta's cross from the right side. As things stand, Spain are going through and Japan are going out - Germany are beating Costa Rica 1-0 in the group's other game.
45' There will be one minute of additional time at the end of this first half.
M. Yoshida
Yellow Card
45' Yoshida is booked after snapping into Morata.
S. Taniguchi
Yellow Card
44' Taniguchi is issued a yellow card for a poor tackle on Gavi.
42' Olmo, played in by Balde, does well to cut back inside before trying to funnell the ball into the box. The move breaks down although Spain manage to retain possession.
40' Spain lose possession to Tanaka in a dangerous position, only for Balde to recover possession without breaking a sweat.
K. Itakura
Yellow Card
38' Itakura is booked for a late challenge on Pedri.
36' Japan have put together a couple of competent sequences of possession in these last few minutes - but Spain are live to any danger and quick to cut it out.
34' Kamada thinks he has the ball in space inside Spain's half - only for the linesman's flag to be raised. Caught offside.
32' Japan, growing frustrated with their lack of possession, have committed a couple of cynical fouls on Spain players.
30' Pedri misplaces a line-breaking pass - a rare moment in an opening half-hour where he's hardly put a foot wrong.
28' Japan are still struggling to even get out of their own half, here. Spain completely dominant.
26' CHANCE! Azpilicueta drives forward down the right before playing in Morata, who does well to chop the ball back across the face of goal for Olmo to get a shot off. It's ultimately unsuccessful, although Morata had strayed offside in the build-up so it would have been ruled out in any case.
24' Rodri and Pau are operating a space usually reserved for central midfielders. So confident in possession, dictating the pace of the game.
22' Morata has another strike on goal from a tight angle - although he does draw a save from Gonda. Gavi was the chief architect of the opportunity.
20' Spain are really pinning Japan back into their own half. Not giving them one second on the ball.
18' Spain are treating the ball with care but, when they do lose it, they're pressing with aggression and intensity to win it back.
16' Gavi, Busquets and Pedri are running the midfield and Japan's defence is being stretched by how wide Spain are going courtesy of their marauding full-backs.
14' Spain have dominated virtually all of the possession, here. Playing with such confidence.
12' Spain have a spring in their step after taking the lead.
César Azpilicueta
11' Azpilicueta's ball in from the right side was perfectly delivered.
Álvaro Morata
11' GOAL! Morata makes it 1-0 to Spain. The forward arrows a fine header past Gonda after Azpilicueta floats in an inch-perfect cross from the right side.
10' Olmo whips in a cross from the left flank for Morata, whose header is easily saved by Gonda. The Spaniard looked clearly offside in any case.
8' CHANCE! Busquets is caught on the ball at the edge of his own area and, while Japan don't exactly scythe through Spain's defence, they do get a shot off when the ball falls to Ito wide right of the goal. But his effort crashes into the side netting.
6' Williams gets down the right flank before pulling the ball back across the face of goal. Japan manage to clear their lines as far as the edge of the box, where Busquets seizes upon the ball before chancing an effort with a shot on goal. But he fails to trouble the goalkeeper.
6' Japan, set up to counter Spain, are playing with a quite strict flat back five.
4' Spain, setting their stall out early doors, have seen virtually all of the ball so far. They're going to dominate possession.
2' Williams and Gavi combine down the right wing before the latter tries to arrow a ball into the box. But it finds nobody and runs out of play.
1' We're underway here at Khalifa International Stadium.
Spain have made five changes from the side that drew 1-1 with Germany. Azpilicueta, Pau and Balde have replaced Carvajal, Laporte and Alba in defence, while Williams and Morata have come in for Ferran and Asensio in the final third.
Japan have made five changes from the side that lost 1-0 to Costa Rica. Taniguchi has replaced Yamane in defence, Ito and Tanaka have come in for Endo and Doan, while Take and Maeda have replaced Soma and Ueda.
SPAIN SUBS: Robert Sanchez, David Raya, Eric Garcia, Hugo Guillamon, Jordi Alba, Dani Carvajal, Aymeric Laporte, Marcos Llorente, Koke, Carlos Soler, Marco Asensio, Ferran Torres, Yeremi Pino, Pablo Sarabia, Ansu Fati.
SPAIN (4-3-3): Unai Simon; Cesar Azpilicueta, Rodri, Pau Torres, Alejandro Balde; Gavi, Sergio Busquets, Pedri; Nico Williams, Alvaro Morata, Dani Olmo.
JAPAN SUBS: Eiji Kawashima, Daniel Schmidt, Miki Yamane, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Hiroki Sakai, Hiroki Ito, Wataru Endo, Gaku Shibasaki, Ritsu Doan, Kaoru Mitoma, Takumi Minamino, Yuki Soma, Takuma Asano, Shuto Machino, Ayase Ueda.
JAPAN (3-4-3): Shuichi Gonda; Ko Itakura, Maya Yoshida, Shogo Taniguchi; Junya Ito, Hidemasa Morita, Ao Tanaka, Yuto Nagatomo; Diachi Kamada, Daizen Maeda, Take Kubo.
Spain are top of Group E having taken four points from their opening two games. They're a point clear of both Japan and Costa Rica and are three clear of bottom-placed Germany. All they need is a point to secure their place in the Round of 16. That will also be enough to win the group should Costa Rica fail to beat Germany, but if they do beat Germany only a win will ensure they finish first.
Japan are second in Group E having taken three points from their opening two games. They're a point behind group leaders Spain and level with third-placed Costa Rica. Germany, rooted to the bottom of the table, are two points behind them. Japan need at least a point to qualify for the Round of 16 - and that's dependent on Costa Rica and Germany drawing in the group's other game. If that game is won by either of those sides Japan need to win, provided Germany make up the goal difference in their case.
This is the final game of the group phase for both these sides and neither are mathematically sure of their place in the Round of 16.
Hello and welcome to the live text commentary for the World Cup Group E clash between Japan and Spain.