FIFA World Cup 2022: Controversial VAR ruling gives Japan 2-1 win over Spain; Germany knocked out despite 4-2 victory against Costa Rica

This was the controversial moment during the FIFA World Cup Group E fixture between Japan and Spain as the ball seemed to have crossed the line but VAR ruled it in at the Khalifa International Stadium on Thursday night. Image Source: Twitter

Xtra Time Web Desk: A stunning left footed strike by Ritsu Doan was marred by a controversial VAR ruling that paved the way for Japan’s 2-1 win over Spain in FIFA World Cup Group E clash at Khalifa International Stadium on Thursday night. It was a hugely controversial decision as the ball seemed to have crossed the line but VAR ruled it otherwise.

It was Spain who took an early lead (11’) with Alvaro Morata climbing on top of the Japanese defenders to head the ball in. It was the third goal in the tournament for the Atletico Madrid striker. The score line remained 1-0 in favour of Spain at the interval.

But it all changed in an extraordinary spell after half-time as substitute Ritsu Doan equalised for Japan with a pile driver from the edge of the box (48’) and Ao Tanaka scoring the controversial goal in the 51st minute from a Kaoru Mitoma cut-back which initially appeared to have gone out of play.

A lengthy VAR check surprisingly ruled in that the ball was in as Spanish camp looked perplexed.

The result saw Japan top Group E with Spain being second. The Asian side will now face Group F runners-up Croatia in the last 16 on Monday while Spain will take on Group F winners Morocco in the last 16 on Tuesday.

In another Group E fixture, Germany came from behind to register a stunning 4-2 over Costa-Rica but that was not enough to take them to the next stages. Hansi Flick’s side were knocked out from the group stages (on goal difference) in World Cup for the second successive time.

Serge Gnabry gave Germany the lead in the 10th minute from a header at the Al Bayt stadium. But Costa Rica equalized through Yelstin Tejeda in the 58th minute. A rare mistake from Manuel Neuer (own goal) saw Costa Rica taking the lead in the 70th minute.

But the drama did not end there. Substitute Kai Havertz turned the game around again for Germany with a well-taken double (73’ & 85’) before fellow substitute Niclas Fullkrug made it 4-2 in the 89th minute.

The victory was not enough though as the 2014 tournament winners finished third in Group E, with Spain and Japan above them.