Spain was on the board first, but Japan turned the tide in the second half when Ritsu Doan and Ao Tanaka scored within three minutes of each other to take the lead. Spain had a few big chances to tie the game but wasn’t able to make it happen, and Japan held on to win 2-1 and advance to the upcoming Round of 16.
On the latest “World Cup Now,” former USMNT players Jimmy Conrad and Sacha Kljestan broke down Japan’s win, what to look forward to from this resilient team, and all the chaos that happened in Group E.
Conrad: Japan was so good and made the plays they needed to make to win. I think what makes them different and difficult to play against moving forward is that they can cope with adversity better than any other team I’ve seen so far in this tournament. The other team scores first? No problem. Japan makes a few adjustments and figures out a way to get the desired results. They started this game with four in the back, but they ended it with three in the back. They started to push more numbers up forward and started to press Spain, making them play on more difficult stations, and Spain didn’t really have any answers. If they can do that to Spain, it makes you wonder what they can do to Croatia in the next round (Monday, 7 a.m. ET, FOX).
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