With all the anguish in the world, Spain made it to the round of 16. An on-track classification was overturned by an ugly defeat against Japan. Ugly because of the national team’s lack of response in the second half and ugly because of the weaknesses discovered by the Japanese team, which sneaked into the round of 16 with greatness and with enough ability to worry their new rival: Croatia. Spain’s will be Morocco. Tuesday, December 6 at 4 p.m.
Japan passed with more dignity than Spain, moved to second place and transferred to the friendlier part of the table as an immediate repercussion of the stumble, surely the only positive one. The first place drew a horizon with qualifiers against Croatia and a hypothetical quarterfinals against Brazil; second place referred to the duel with the Maghreb country and another later with Portugal.
Unless the surprises continue in this group. The trade has already been wrapped up in this World Cup. The first commotion was caused by the United States and the second by Australia. Morocco and Japan upset the odds last night and there are two groups left to decide. The day offered the elimination of Belgium, whose coach, Robert Martínez, immediately left the position, and that of Germany, surprising and unthinkable, even if they beat Costa Rica (4-2), which does not erase of her face the pallor that has remained with the four-time champion with the early return home.
A disaster that Spain flirted with. He played with fire, from an alignment that gave off a certain relaxation, continuing with a football that gradually lost speed until ending up with a more symbolic than effective defeat. It had no irreparable consequences. He just missed it.
Spain was eliminated three minutes later. This was the time that Costa Rica’s victory lasted, between the Costa Rican Vargas’ goal (m. 70) and Havertz’s tie (m. 73). The angst in Doha’s farthest Al Bayt Stadium was immediately transmitted to the Khalifa, where the Japanese triumph was established and Luis Enrique struggled to reverse it with substitutions. Another effort by Costa Rica, closer to the end of Monday’s game, could have been irreparable.
Spain lost the lead at half-time and never regained it. He retired at 1-0, relatively comfortably, with Morata’s easy goal from an accurate Azpilicueta cross that found his team-mate alone, as Yoshima pointed to Itakura to keep an eye on the Madrid man.
Morata played for the first time as a starter and took advantage of the opportunity presented to him to equal Zarra, big words, to score in three consecutive World Cup matches. The unbeaten record dates back to 1950, which can be erased against Morocco in eighths.
Luis Enrique took the opportunity to accelerate the maturation of Balde and Williams as future starters, if such a category exists for the coach. Yes, it does exist. Busquets has it, by the gallons, the thread that unites the new generation with the champions, stuck with glue in the line-up that even the threat of a suspension did not detach.
It was Balde’s first tenure, incorporated as an emergency after Gayà’s injury, and Williams’ first. The sixth appearance – the third for the Blaugrana – of the Athletic winger was from the beginning and he did not finish it. Substituted after the Japanese 2-1, like Morata, Luis Enrique warned Ferran and Asensio to try to fix the problem, although the problem was not in the forward line. He was further back. Japan closed the passing lines well, with two lines of five and four close together and Maeda d’arite, more above Rodri to force Pau Torres to be the one to take the ball from the back.
The ability of their footballers to react quickly, their dynamism to recover the position immediately after being beaten in a duel or a break in the lines ended up exhausting the fortress of Spain, broken completely as soon as they resumed the break. The jaws of Doan and Tanaka were stuck in the Spanish back. They hurt How much will be seen. But at eight