Following on from the previous day, there was a huge upset in day four of the FIFA World Cup
Like Saudi Arabia the day before, Japan put their hand up as the shock side of the tournament as they overcame an early deficit to beat Germany 2-1 in their World Cup opener.
The day began with a lacklustre draw as Croatia and Morocco remained scoreless before the day burst into life with the Japan result. Spain then laid out a marker with a dominant win over Costa Rica while Belgium were lucky to get past a spirited Canada side.
Croatia 0-0 Morocco
The fourth day of the World Cup got off to a slow start with an early 0-0 stalemate between the 2018 runners up Croatia and Morocco.
Chances were few and far between throughout the game although there was a high intensity with end-to-end action, just lacking a cutting edge from both sides.
2018 Player of the Tournament Luka Modric was everywhere, despite making an abundance of fouls and escaping a yellow card but couldn’t find a way through a stalwart Moroccan defence.
A point was a fair result for both sides in the end, a point gained for Morocco more so than Croatia.
Germany 1-2 Japan
Another day and another shock in the World Cup as Japan secured a historic victory over Germany.
The 2014 World Champions dominated the opening exchanges and were rewarded for their efforts with a penalty just after the 30th minute mark following a bizarre foul from Gonda in goal. Ilkay Gundogan was cool from the spot and gave Hansi Flick’s men a deserved lead.
They continued to pressurize the Japanese defence and found the back of the net again only for the goal to be ruled out for offside and the Japanese players were relieved to hear the half-time whistle.
And they returned from the interval with a different spirit and began to ask questions of the German defence, which tended to look shaky at times. With fifteen minutes remaining, Ritsu Doan pulled one back for Japan with an impressive finish and the pendulum began to swing.
Eight minutes later, a lofted ball was taken down sweetly by substitute Takuma Asano and he fired past Manuel Neuer from an acute angle to give them a deserved lead.
Germany failed to create any clear-cut chances in the remaining minutes and the final whistle was blown to the joy of the Japanese National Team and the importance of the win could be seen from their reaction. It was certainly one for the history books and they’ll believe they can break into the knockout stages from the win.
Spain 7-0 Costa Rica
2010 champions Spain set out their stall early with the biggest win of the tournament thus far as they put seven past a helpless Costa Rica.
The writing was on the wall early on when Dani Olmo and Pedri combined before the former produced a beautiful dink into the net. Marcos Asensio doubled the lead, flicking home from a Jordi Alba delivery with Ferran Torres converting from the penalty spot for a 3-0 half time lead.
Torres doubled his advantage on 53 minutes, capitalizing on a mix up in the defence. Twenty minutes later, star teenager, Gavi got in on the act, nonchalantly volleying home from an Alvaro Morato delivery. Carlos Soler made it six approaching stoppage time before Morata rounded out the scoring.
Belgium 1-0 Canada
Tournament dark horses Belgium were made to rely on Thibaut Courtois and a misfiring Canada attack as Michy Batshuayi grabbed the games only goal in the final minutes of the first period.
The first half belonged to Canada as they did all but put the ball past the imperious Courtois. He was at the rescue early in the half, saving a penalty from Canada talisman Alphonso Davies.
The North American’s continued to pressure their opponents but couldn’t break the deadlock. Then with one of their only real chances, Toby Alderweireld set Batshuayi clear on goal with an audacious pass with the former Chelsea man making no mistake for a half time lead.
The second half was much better from Belgium’s point of view but neither side created any clear cut oppoetunites as the European side held out for a valuable win.