Day 12 at World Cup 2022: Japan stuns Spain to eliminate Germany; Belgium out; Morocco, Croatia advance
Japan pulled off another stunner at the men's World Cup, defeating Spain 2-1 after toppling Germany earlier.
As a result, four-time champion Germany is eliminated after the group stage despite beating Costa Rica 4-2.
Earlier, Canada finished its group stage without a point after losing 2-1 to Morocco.
Croatia held Belgium to a 0-0 draw, knocking out the world's No. 2 team.
In the Round of 16, Japan will play Croatia, and Spain will face Morocco.
- Watch the matches live on CTV and TSN
- World Cup knockout round clinching scenarios: How each team can qualify for the Round of 16
If you missed Wednesday’s action, Australia stunningly knocked Denmark, while Argentina and Poland qualified dramatically, seeing Mexico head home early.
Here is what you need to know about Day 12 in Qatar.
JAPAN VS. SPAIN
Japan pulled off its second massive upset of the tournament with a 2-1 win over Spain.
The formula was much the same as when defeating Germany, trailing by a goal after the first half and then introducing substitutes who turned around the match.
After Alvaro Morata had given Spain an 11th-minute lead, Ritsu Doan's powerful left-footed strike from outside the box tied the match in the 48th minute.
Just three minutes later, Ao Tanaka scored the winner after a controversial decision that ruled the ball had remained in play when Junya Ito crossed it.
With the win, Japan topped its group with six points and will play Croatia in the Round of 16.
Spain finish second and will play Morocco.
Japan XI: Shuichi Gonda, Shogo Taniguchi, Maya Yoshida, Ko Itakura, Yuto Nagatomo, Hidemasa Morita, Junya Ito, Ao Tanaka, Daichi Kamada, Takefusa Kubo, Daizen Maeda
Spain XI: Unai Simon; Cesar Azpilicueta, Rodri, Pau Torres, Alejandro Balde, Sergio Busquets, Pedri, Gavi, Nico Williams, Dani Olmo, Alvaro Morata.
COSTA RICA VS. GERMANY
Germany won a thrilling match against Costa Rica 4-2 but it was inconsequential because of Japan's win over Spain.
Germany led 1-0 at halftime thanks to a sharp header by Serge Gnabry off a cross from David Raum but the match went into utter chaos in the second half.
Yeltsin Tejeda brought Costa Rica level in the 58th minute before Juan Pablo Vargas put the North American side ahead in the 70th.
Kai Havertz scored twice for Germany, in the 73rd and 85th minute, and Niclas Fullkrug wrapped up the scoring in the 89th minute.
Germany has now crashed out after the group stage for the second consecutive World Cup.
Costa Rica XI: Keylor Navas, Juan Vargas, Kendall Waston, Oscar Duarte, Bryan Oviedo, Yeltsin Tejeda, Celso Borges, Keysher Fuller, Joel Campbell, Brandon Aguilera, Johan Venegas
Germany XI: Manuel Neuer, Antonio Rudiger, DavidRaum, Joshua Kimmich, Leon Goretzka, Serge Gnabry, Thomas Muller, Jamal Musiala, Niklas Sule, Leroy Sane, Ilkay Gundogan
CROATIA VS. BELGIUM
In a thrilling all-European match, Croatia and Belgium went head-to-head for one of the top spots in Group F with Croatia moving on after a 0-0 draw.
It was a tense affair first half, and Belgium breathed a sigh of relief after Croatia was handed a penalty mid-way through. But after the Video Assistant Referee review, Luka Modric was not allowed to take the penalty.
Then in the second 45 minutes, the Belgians ramped up the pressure with Romelu Lukaku finally making his World Cup debut after recovering from injury. The Inter Milan striker, however, missed multiple opportunities to score and the second-ranked side exited early.
CANADA VS. MOROCCO
Morocco claimed the top spot in Group F after beating already-eliminated Canada 2-1.
The match was all Morocco during the opening 45 minutes, with Hakim Ziyech making the most of an error by goalkeeper Milan Borjan after four minutes before Youssef En-Nesyri doubled the lead.
Canada looked dejected after the two goals, only for Sam Adekugbe to force an own-goal and turn things 2-1 at the break.
Yet despite more pressure in the second half from John Herdman’s side and an Atiba Hutchinson effort cleared off the line, Canada ends its World Cup campaign with zero points.
Following Mexico’s stunning elimination from the group stage for the first time in 44 years, head coach Gerardo Martino admitted his time with the national team was over.
When questioned about his Canadian men’s national team's future, head coach John Herdman admitted he does remain interested in leading the team at the 2026 World Cup. Canada will act as one of three tournament hosts alongside the United States and Mexico.
Twelve years after Luis Suarez’s controversial handball drama, Ghana and Uruguay meet again with Round 16 action on the line. Get ready for more fireworks!
- Japan vs. Spain at 2 p.m. on TSN
- Costa Rica vs. Germany at 2 p.m. on TSN
All times listed are Eastern Standard Time