World Cup | Band of Death… and the show!
Chaos. Drama. The show. Emotions. It was all there at the end of Group E on Thursday. And the first place was not Spain, but Japan and not even Germany. Real feat.
Because after taking down the Germans as a curtain-raiser, the Blue Samurai did it again to the Spaniards on Thursday, winning 2-1.
Result: The Japanese won the group of death. Spain took the second place. Germany was defeated. Costa Rica, a source of momentary chaos during their 4-2 loss to the Mannschaft, finished last.
This two hours of football was probably the most eventful hour in recent World Cup history. So let’s try to sum up this crazy evening in Qatar.
Spain and Germany quickly took the lead in their respective matches. Logical goal openings in favor of dominance in game, naked eye and all statistics.
Alvaro Morata hit the mark in the 11the Minute for La Roja, nice pass from César Azpilicueta. In “Khalifa” stadium, the first half ended in favor of the Spaniards with 83% possession. It’s simple: Japan didn’t actually touch the ball and were very lucky to return to the locker room late with a goal.
Serge Gnabri opened the scoring in the 10th minute at Al-Beit Stadiume for the Germans, and the era was similar, though a little more shared.
At this point we were heading for a very quiet sequence.
But the Japanese and even the Costa Ricans were not done surprising us.
Japan coach Hajime Moriyasu brought on Ritsu Doan and Kaoru Mitoma at halftime and the game changed immediately. Remember that in the game against Germany, the Japanese scored consecutive goals in a few minutes.
So they needed a genius or two to replicate this work.
In the 48the minute, it happens. Doan allows himself a powerful shot from distance. Spanish goalkeeper Unaï Simon touches it, but the speed of the ball goes straight past him. 1-1.
Japanese pressure increased. It is 51e minute. Doan again sends a long pass to the far post. Mitoma alone and still manages to keep the ball in deep play. The skin goes back to the mouth and Ao touches Tanaka’s thigh. What signs. Japan 2-1!
But is the ball out? We check the video replay. We have the impression that the goal will be cancelled.
But he is not. They say that the ball survived, simply. A controversial decision that would have dramatic repercussions.
“We kept the match under control, Sergio Busquets spoke on Spanish television. At least we believed. But they were waiting for our bullet losses to start a counter attack. The second half, that’s what happened. »
Let’s go back and see what happened in this Costa Rica-Germany. At 58e, Los Ticos secured a 1-1 draw through Yeltsin Tejeda’s foot. If Costa Rica leads, not only will they qualify, but Spain will be eliminated. Just like Germany.
In the 70se, Costa Rica scores. And it is 2-1 against the Germans.
“Within three minutes we were eliminated,” says Spanish coach Luis Henrique. But I didn’t know it, I was going to have a heart attack. »
The goal was the result of a blunder by Manuel Neuer, one of the great goalkeepers in international football. The order of world football has been turned upside down.
Until Kai Havertz came to restore it. Almost. The Chelsea midfielder made it 2-2 in the 73rde. Then bring it back to 85e ; 3-2. Niclas Füllkrug confirms German victory in 89e4-2 score. But the qualification has not been received yet.
Nope. For this, he takes the equalizing goal from Spain. That would pass both La Roja and the Mannschaft.
But the samurai have other ideas. Their defensive block is solid. Spain continues to pass the ball; he made 968 passes in that game! Against a total of 153 for Japan. An absolutely amazing difference. Especially since Japan is still in the lead.
And Japan wins. His six points against two world powers put him on top. With four units, Spain is ranked by goal difference.
“It can’t happen again,” Alvaro Morata said. Because otherwise you will go home. They gave us two goals in five minutes. Don’t think about it anymore, the important thing is that we are on 1/16. »
Therefore, the Japanese will face the Croatians on Monday. Spain face Morocco on Tuesday.
And the Germans will continue to ask questions in 2018 and after early elimination at Euro 2020.
“I never look at other teams, it’s just us,” head coach Hansi Flick said. We are solely responsible. We had enough chances against Japan and Spain. »
“It’s like a horror movie,” Havertz said.
“It’s a complete disaster,” said Thomas Müller. It hurts incredibly, because our result could have been enough. We have a feeling of helplessness. »
With Agence France-Presse