World Cup·ROUNDUP

Japan stuns Spain to win Group E, relegating Germany to latest World Cup group stage exit

Croatia draw Belgium and survive Group F behind Morocco. Japan scored twice to come from behind and defeat Spain 2-1 and advance to the round of 16. Germany beat Costa Rica 4-2 Thursday but it wasn't enough to move on.

Germans eliminated despite 4-2 win over Costa Rica; Belgium out after scoreless draw

Ao Tanaka (17) celebrates after scoring the team's second goal in Japan's 2-1 upset of Spain at Khalifa International Stadium Doha, Qatar on Thursday. (Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Japan scored twice early in the second half to come from behind to defeat Spain 2-1 on Thursday in a result that put both teams into the last 16 of the World Cup.

Ao Tanaka scored the winning goal from close range early in the second half. It took about two minutes for video review officials to confirm the ball hadn't gone out of bounds before the goal.

Alvaro Morata scored first for Spain in the 11th minute at Khalifa International Stadium, but Japan rallied after halftime. Ritsu Doan equalized in the 48th with a left-footed shot from outside the box, and Tanaka added the second one three minutes later.

Germany was eliminated from the tournament even with a 4-2 win over Costa Rica in the other Group E match. A victory by Costa Rica would have eliminated Spain.

Germany out despite beating Costa Rica

Germany was eliminated from the group stage of the World Cup for the second tournament in a row.

The four-time champions beat Costa Rica 4-2 Thursday but it wasn't enough to advance to the round of 16. Japan's 2-1 victory over Spain allowed both of those teams to advance instead, with the Japanese team at the top of the group.

Playing as defending champions at the last World Cup, Germany also was knocked out in the group stage.

Germany, which lost to Japan in its opening match in Qatar, needed help from the other match in order to advance with a victory at Al Bayt Stadium, but things didn't go its way. If Spain had beaten Japan, the Germans would have finished second in the group.

It all started so well with Serge Gnabry putting Germany in front against Costa Rica with a 10th-minute header and Spain taking an early lead against Japan at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha.

Both matches were turned upside down in the second half.

Yeltsin Tejeda evened the score in the 58th minute and Juan Vargas scrambled another in the 70th, putting Costa Rica ahead 2-1 and on target to advance.

But Germany substitute Kai Havertz made it 2-2 three minutes later and then restored Germany's lead in the 85th. Another substitute, Niclas Fullkrug, added the fourth.

Croatia draws Belgium, finish 2nd in group

The win and a place in the round of 16 at the World Cup was there for Belgium. All the team needed was for Romelu Lukaku to score as the ball reached him in front of goal in the final seconds.

Somehow, he missed.

Belgium and its aging generation of players were eliminated Thursday after a 0-0 draw with Croatia, which advanced as the second-place team in Group F behind Morocco.

Belgium forward Romelu Lukaku, right, battles with Croatia defender Dejan Lovren during Group F action on Thursday. (Gabriel Bouys/AFP via Getty Images)

While Croatia — the 2018 runner-up and a 1998 semifinalist — aims for another deep run at the World Cup, Belgium is facing the breakup of its talented but underachieving squad after failing to live up to its status as the second-ranked team and one of the tournament favourites.

Lukaku, who came on as a halftime substitute and squandered several great chances, punched the side of the dugout as he walked off, knocking the plexiglass screen out of place.

Not only did he fail to guide in that late chance from close range, he hit a shot against the post with the goal beckoning. Another chance, from a header in front of goal, sailed over the bar, but it's not clear if the goal would have counted.

What has long been called Belgium's "Golden Generation" — now featuring six players with more than 100 appearances — is set to split with the World Cup semifinal appearance in 2018 as its peak.

The team, which has faced questions of infighting between players during the tournament in Qatar, scored only one goal in three games and saved its best performance until its final match. It came too late.

Belgium coach Roberto Martinez, who has been in charge for more than six years, was asked after the game if he will remain coach.

"Now is not the moment," he answered.

Croatia will play the winner of Group E on Monday.

Frappart makes World Cup history

French referee Stephanie Frappart became the first woman to take charge of a men's World Cup game on Thursday as she blew her whistle to start Germany's game against Costa Rica.

Frappart also had two women as assistants — Neuza Back of Brazil and Karen Diaz Medina of Mexico — to complete an all-female refereeing team on the field.

Kathryn Nesbitt of the United States was also working at the Al Bayt Stadium as the offside specialist in the video review team.

Three female referees walk side by side wearing teal officials jerseys, with the ones on the left and the right carrying flags while the one in the middle carries a ball.
Referees Neuza Ines Back, left, Stephanie Frappart, centre, and Karen Diaz Medina were the first all female officiating team to call a FIFA World Cup Game during the Group E match between Costa Rica and Germany at Al Bayt Stadium on in Al Khor, Qatar. (Alex Grimm/Getty Images)

FIFA has two other women, Salima Mukansanga of Rwanda and Yoshimi Yamashita of Japan, on its list to referee games at the tournament in Qatar.

Frappart had been picked previously for duties as the fourth official.

The 38-year-old Frenchwoman was promoted in the men's game by European soccer body UEFA and in her home country and she has already refereed men's games in World Cup qualifying and the Champions League. She also took charge of this year's men's French Cup final and the 2019 Women's World Cup final for FIFA.

Add some “good” to your morning and evening.

A variety of newsletters you'll love, delivered straight to you.

Sign up now

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?

now