Japan Reaches Last 16 of Soccer World Cup in Qatar


Doha, Qatar, Dec. 1 (Jiji Press)--Japan reached the last 16 of the soccer World Cup in Qatar with its dramatic victory over Spain, the 2010 World Cup champion, in their final group-stage game Thursday.

Japan qualified for the FIFA World Cup round of 16 for the second straight time, becoming the first Asian team to achieve such a milestone. Japan secured a World Cup last 16 place for the fourth time.

In the Group E game in Doha, the capital of Qatar, on Thursday, Japan pulled off a 2-1 upset win over Spain and finished at the top of the group.

Spain led Japan 1-0 at half-time. Shortly after the start of the second half, Ritsu Doan scored to tie the game, as he did in Japan's opener game against Germany on Nov. 23. Then, Ao Tanaka scored the next goal to place Japan in the lead.

"The players fought tenaciously and hanged really tough," Japan coach Hajime Moriyasu said. "I think the victory was thanks to cheers from people in Japan."

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

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