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Japan-Spain 2-1, they are both in the round of 16 of the World Cup

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Japan-Spain 2-1, they are both in the round of 16 of the World Cup

Clamorous victory for the Japanese (2-1) who conquer the primacy in the group. The Red Furies qualify for the best goal difference compared to Germany: in the round of 16 they find the North African national team

The second fundamental principle of Bushido, the creed of the samurai, is Yu: “heroic courage”. Japan, once again, has been able to honor him as best it could. It is as if the epic narrative exalts Hajime Moriyasu’s national team, capable of replicating incredible feats. So the round of 16 is an almost reductive goal when Germany and Spain are battling in such a competition. The past has not taught humility to Luis Enrique’s men, who look in the mirror with more passion than they seek the goal and it is only the goleada trimmed against Costa Rica that promotes the Red Furies to the next round on goal difference. The dispute revolves around the entry of Ritsu Doan, as happened with the Germans: he enters, scores a draw and gives an impetus to the action which is worth the feat.

always marks morata

No one wants to give up the offensive attitude, so two tridents face each other: on the one hand Kamada, Maeda and Kubo; on the other Williams, Morata (first as owner) and Olmo. Moriyasu reintroduces the 3-4-3 which earned him a comeback against Germany during the match, Luis Enrique does not deviate from the 4-3-3 with the immovable Busquets in the control room and Rodri still in central defense alongside Pau Torres. From the first minutes the defensive principles of Japan are evident, in search of an orderly density. The wingers descend on the line of defenders, the only Maeda to deal with the first central pressure. When Spain pour forward, the markings in the box are zoned but it’s not a wise choice. Before having proof of it, the Samurai made themselves dangerous in the 8th minute on a bad turnover under construction by Busquets, which led Ito to kick from a good position into the outside of the net. Three minutes later, the Red Furies unlock the match. Azpilicueta collects a ball away from the defense, on his cross Morata crushes his head undisturbed despite the fact that the whole opposing team is enclosed in the last sixteen meters. And the first half is pretty much all here. The advantage does not change the inertia of the game in favor of the Spaniards, who however give up on sinking, indulging in an essay on ball possession that Japan can’t find a way to counter except with foul interventions, which in the end of the fraction cause three yellow cards close together.

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the comeback

For the second half Luis Enrique decides to spare Azpilicueta and inserts Carvajal, Moriyasu instead removes Nagatomo and Kubo for Mitoma and Doan. Thus began the déjà-vu of the Germany-Japan final. The draw was born from an exasperated build from below by Spain which puts Balde in difficulty, Ito anticipates it and the ball reaches Doan who shoots from the edge at the near post and surprises Unai Simon, far from blameless (48′). The comeback was served in the 51st minute, again originating from a cue from the Freiburg attacker who this time puts out the back line with a diagonal trajectory; Mitoma in the slide kept the action alive and while Rodri got distracted to claim the goal kick, Tanaka supported with an empty goal. The ritual checks begin in the Var room and after about three minutes the verdict confirms the validity of the goal. Luis Enrique runs for cover by restoring the titular trident with Ferran Torres and Asensio, to which he adds Ansu Fati. The colleague reacts accordingly, reinforcing the defense with Tomiyasu in place of Kamada. The siege is inconclusive for a long time, for a noteworthy conclusion towards Gonda’s goal we have to wait for the 89th minute: it is Asensio who worries him with a left-footed shot from the edge and after the approximate rebound Yoshida takes care of avoiding Torres’ tap-in . Japan’s resistance is commendable, the journey continues for both.

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