Japanese Fans Thrilled by Another World Cup Giant-Killing
Doha, Dec. 2 (Jiji Press)--Japanese supporters in Doha desired to witness a stunning moment in the final group stage match for Japan against Spain in the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar Thursday night, and they did see it--another giant-killing that left them in a storm of excitement.
The Japanese national soccer team's dramatic come-from-behind victory over the European giant, currently seventh in FIFA rankings, occurred at Khalifa International Stadium in the Qatari capital, the same venue where Japan, ranked 24th, defeated powerful Germany, ranked 11th, in their Group E opener last week. With the latest win, Japan qualified for the round of 16 for the second straight World Cup.
Although the stadium was packed with supporters of Spain, fans of the Samurai Blue, the nickname of the Japanese national team, continued to send cheers to its players, shouting, "Nippon!" Nippon means Japan in Japanese.
After Spain led Japan 1-0 at half-time, Ritsu Doan of Japan, 24, scored in the third minute of the second half, his second goal in the Qatar World Cup, prompting supporters on the Japanese side to rise to their feet and yell. At the moment, many supporters of other countries also celebrated Japan's game-tying goal by pumping their fists in the air, suddenly changing the mood to that of a home game for the Asian team from an away match.
About three minutes later, Ao Tanaka, 24, put the ball in the net after Kaoru Mitoma, 25, cut it back to him.
[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]