Tiki-Taka breakers! Japan defeat Spain with just 17.7% possession to set World Cup record

Takuma Asano Japan Spain WORLD CupGetty Images
  • Japan set World Cup record
  • Beat Spain 2-1
  • Finished top of Group E

WHAT HAPPENED? Japan executed their counter-attacking plan to perfection and scored twice despite barely touching the ball. They have now qualified to the last 16, along with Spain, at the expense of Germany and Costa Rica.

THE BIGGER PICTURE: The Spanish national team have long been a side that thrives with the ball at their feet thanks to their possession-based style, but Japan showed an excellent game plan to counter that approach.

WHAT NEXT FOR JAPAN?: After unexpectedly finishing top of Group E, Japan will face Croatia in the round of 16.