By Selcuk Bugra Gokalp
ANKARA (AA) - Japan beat Spain 2-1 in Group E on Thursday, but both nations reached the 2022 FIFA World Cup Round of 16.
Sergio Busquets missed a good chance for Spain in the sixth minute at Khalifa International Stadium.
Japan's Junya Ito missed the Spanish goal by inches in the eighth minute.
Alvaro Morata's header was saved by Japanese goalie Shuichi Gonda in the ninth minute, but just two minutes later, Morata scored Spain’s first goal with a header.
Spain winger Nico Williams' shot from a narrow angle deflected to the corner in the 46th minute and the first half ended 1-0.
Japan kicked off the second half with the wind on their backs.
Japan's Ritsu Doan, who got into the match in the halftime break, leveled the score in the 48th minute.
Japanese midfielder Ao Tanaka shocked the Spaniards as he netted another one just three minutes later.
Takuma Asano missed a good chance to score for Japan in the 70th minute.
Marco Asensio and Dani Olmo's promising attempts on Japan’s goal were denied by keeper Gonda in the 89th and 90th minutes respectively.
The Japanese held their ground until the final whistle, winning the match 2-1 and topping Group E with 6 points.
Spain reached the Round of 16 as well by finishing in second spot with four points, while former champions Germany, which placed third with goal difference, were eliminated.