Japan cheated Spain. He made her believe that she was defeated and surrendered, eliminated, and when he saw her with her hands in her pockets, confident, napping with the ball and thinking about the next phase, she stabbed him twice. A trap in which the selection entered like a linnet. When she wanted to return to the game, after leaving it falsely closed, asleep, she no longer knew how. And he lived at the expense of Germany, so that they did not lose to Costa Rica and saw themselves out not only of first place but of the entire World Cup (he came to be for three minutes). He without playing, but biting his nails. Finally the Germans complied with his part and left Luis Enrique a few more days with his twicht. Japan goes first. And Spain, second, on goal difference, but embarrassed. Morocco awaits you in the round of 16.
Spain started as always. Luis Enrique has more different combinations in his elevens for the national team than can be achieved in a ticket for the primitive. The technician never repeats. And it’s not that you press the random button to fill them, or that you give up your talismans, but no matter how hard you search, there is no one the same as the other. What he does not touch is the goalkeeper, nor Busquets and his lieutenants, nor Dani Olmo, whom he sees arrested. And now neither to Rodri, his favorite center-back even though he is not. Possibly for this reason, so that he continues to adapt to the position and not get involved, he does not lower him from the sign.
Some novelties of the lineup were not so much. Pau Torres was a regular, Azpilicueta already started against Costa Rica and Morata is the number nine of a lifetime (he doesn’t do as much as Morata and ten more). The exotic this time was on the left side and on the far right, Balde and Nico Williams, debutants at the start, although both had already enjoyed minutes in the two previous games. More youth on the sand.
The promise was not to speculate. Neither playing with the tempting idea of a draw is enough nor risking the possibility of choosing the side of the box to advance on (cheating by forcing second place, the one that was ultimately left to him). And Spain on the way out complied (although later it paid fairly to do so). He played as usual, ball, ball and ball, against an opponent who invited him to do so. Japan was 3-4-3, or rather 5-4-1. He shrank from the sick possession of the selection.
Gonda; Itakura, Yoshida, Taniguchi; Ito, Tanaka, Morita, Nagatomo (Dona, m.46); Kubo (Mitoma, 46), Maeda (Asano, 60) y Kamada (Tomiyasu, 68).
Unai; Azpilicueta (Carvajal, 46), Rodri, Pau, Balde (Alba, 68); Gavi (Ansu Fati, 68), Busquets, Pedri; Nico Williams (Ferran, 57), Morata (Asensio, 57) and Olmo.
0-1, m.11: Morata. 1-1, m.48: Doan. 2-1, m.51: Tanaka
Gomes (South Africa). Amarilla at Taniguchi, Yoshida at Itakura.
Spain also had the calming benefit (ultimately harmful) of a goal as soon as they got out of bed. Insultingly simple. A very pumped cross from Azpilicueta that Morata finished off unguarded from the small area, with the absolute permission of the two central defenders that surrounded him and the goalkeeper that he supposedly commanded in the area. A difficult goal to assume in the professional game. A goal from third grade of BUP to eighth grade (or the equivalent to the educational system that you prefer)
The team found more difficulties from below, but more because of Morata’s propensity to go offside than because of the defensive diligence of the Japanese. The athletic forward fulfilled his cadence in Qatar, a goal per game. And he looked eagerly, not expertly, for you to uncheck them. He wants the position. He doesn’t let go, like picking the ball.
Two do not hit each other if one does not want to and there is no football game if one does not touch the ball. She kept Spain yesterday as if it were hers alone. All the time. There was a bad delivery, by Busquets, in a dangerous area, or prohibited (edge of the area), which caused a scare even before the 0-1. But a failure was not seen again or the decisive object was shared in the entire first part. The selection moved it from one side to another, without apparent intention, for having it. A bore. He opened the scoring and played for nothing to happen.
Japan was not noticed at any time the need. Not when they conceded the goal, nor before, when the Germans’ goal cry against Costa Rica was heard from the other end of Doha. They were eliminated, but they didn’t seem to care. Or the incapacity was too noticeable. They accepted the sleepy Spanish circulation without rebellion or intelligence. They ran, or moved, behind the tick tock tick tock of those in red. Or they looked at them. It was a trap.
Because suddenly, as soon as the second part started, another Japan came out, revolutionized, as if its previous complacency was premeditated, it was part of the plan. The face change surprised Spain asleep, blocked by its own drowsiness. Unai multiplied his overconfidence and got Bucket into trouble, which was eaten by the Japanese. Ito’s robbery and a left-footed shot from the recently released Doan. The scare left Spain groggy, who instantly suffered another slap. With the help of the VAR, which established that the center had not come out of the bottom, Tanaka punished the Spanish laziness with a second goal.
In three minutes, the game and the World Cup was turned around. Spain was left without first place and even saw second place in danger with Costa Rica’s equalizing goal against Germany. One more and the selection was out. Fear washed over her face. Spain had the ball, but no longer knew what to do with it. He no longer played not to play, but he did not know how to scratch Japan. And Vargas’ goal came, which left him out of everything. Twenty minutes ahead of torture.
Germany tied again, but Spain was warned. She had to level her game yes or yes, but she couldn’t think of how. Not even with the long-awaited Ansu Fati. Anguish minimized the head and magnified the conviction of having spent a whole time for nothing. He thought he had put his rival to sleep and the one who was getting ironed was himself. In the end, the job was done by Germany, who defeated Costa Rica, and sent Spain as second to the round of 16 meeting with Morocco. But embarrassed. And a lot.