Eliminated for three minutes. Costa Rica had overtaken Germany in the Al Bayt Stadium and also lived the Japan comeback to Spain in the Khalifa International ; the Bayt thing would be restored by Germany (4-2), but the Spanish would not get up in their game and finished second in the group, behind the indomitable Japanese.
Spain owes one to Germany, after an unforgettable chapter of grotesque against Japan. In a world in which they were already sitting at the table of the favorite teams, the Spanish did not have enough football to qualify on their own and they had to do it from the german comeback, unproductive for their own purposes.
Luis Enrique foresaw it, who revolutionized his eleven with up to five changes, looking for freshness and insisting on the figure of Rodri as a central defender, the only survivor in a completely changed defense; searched the depth with Bucket and the overflow of Nico Williams. Before a defense of five he had to open the field. nothing came out. His team fell victim to monotony.
From the overwhelming mastery of possession in the first actSpain accelerated when Pedro upped gear and mobility Gavi appeared between spaces; only from the mistake, in a bad ball out of paul torres or a serious mistake Busquetswith shot of Junya Ito to the side of the net, Japan felt the option of being able to do damage early. Protecting himself on his ground. Waiting for his moment.
The relaxation came caused from the advantage on the scoreboard by the hunger for success of alvaro morata. I had already tried the goalkeeper Shuichi Gondawhen found the measured center of César Azpilicueta to head, free of marking, at will, chopped down to place his name at the height of Zarra. Three goals in his first three games in a World Cup.
felt it done Spain, who had not suffered in the World Cupjust a few minutes of impotence before Germany in the final stretch, without knowing how to execute an alternative plan when he advanced lines in the German need. He resurrected that horizontal unproductive possession that left wounds in the past, installed in unproductiveness. In a nap from which only Morata’s hunger seemed to send a contrary message.
With unai simon walking again through the wire in avoidable starts of play that not only scares the fan, but also awakens rivals; he cut left-footed towards his goal and he was about to score his own goal. The first traces of the Japanese awakening came with a race of Takefusa Kubo against the world, bringing out harshness in a message to a rival who felt classified.
An unknown weakness with Luis Enrique in command, appeared in a few minutes of uncertainty at the start of the second act. As soon as Japan went to plan b, with tweaks of his selector Hajime Moriyasucame out to bite and brought to light all the unsuspected shortcomings of Spain. Soft in the fight for a Balde ball, as not in Unai’s risky pass after an avoidable transfer of Rodri. The goalkeeper’s slow reaction to Doan’s centered shot led to the equalizer.
In two minutes that go down in the black history of the World Cups in Spain, Japan turned the score. The VAR took longer to validate his second goal than the ‘blue samurais’ to slap La Roja with reality. Balde’s cross from the wing, Unai not daring to take a step forward and fighting heartily for a ball that seemed to have gone over the end line before it hit. Ao Tanaka will score at will.
The evils went beyond what was happening in the Khalifa International. Japan was first. For a few minutes Spain was eliminated. Costa Rica came back from Germany and the first time they saw themselves behind on the scoreboard, the punishment was huge.
Panic was felt. Luis Enrique’s changes returned to the initial plan, the entry of Marco Asensio, Ferran Torres and even the debut of Ansu Fati in search of a goal that he first needed and then, when Germany reacted, it would have saved the honor but complicated the road. And Spain was unable even though she wanted to.
Marco Asensio with a left-footed shot that knocked Gonda down and a chance pardoned by Dani Olmo were the only dangerous actions of a team that went from showing off against Costa Rica to doubt as punishment for a lack of competitive attitude. Spain will not cross paths with Brazil in the hypothetical Quarters, but not due to speculation. His reality was worse against Japan, which meets with Croatia. Morocco will measure the reality of Luis Enrique’s selectionprepared for the wave of criticism that is coming.