Japan fans sweep stadium after causing Germany’s 2022 Qatar World Cup exit
For the second consecutive World Cup, four-time winners, Germany, have crashed out at the very first hurdle.
On a warm Thursday night in Doha, all four teams in Group E – Costa Rica, Japan, Spain and Germany – battled for qualification in what turned out to be pulsating night of football.
Serge Gnabry gave Hansi Flick’s side an early lead in their clash against Costa Rica, who suffered a heavy 7-0 defeat to Spain in their opening group game.
But in a surprising turn of events at the Al Bayt Stadium, underdogs Costa Rica took a second-half lead through Yeltsin Tejeda and Juan Pablo Vargas.
To their credit, Germany hit back three minutes later through Kai Havertz, who soon bagged his brace to give his side a 3-2 lead.
Flick’s side soon made it four through Werder Bremen striker Niclas Fullkrug but it wasn’t enough for the Germans, who struggled to break down the resilient Los Ticos for large spells.
In the other Group E game, Spain managed to squeeze through to the round of 16, despite losing to Japan in another enthralling clash.
Luis Enrique’s side, who maintained +6 goal difference after that crucial opening day win against Costa Rica, took the lead through in-form striker Alvaro Morata.
But second-half goals from Ritsu Doan and Ao Tanaka cancelled out Morata’s opener and a nervy half hour or so followed.
If that wasn’t enough drama to fill your boots, Tanaka’s goal was originally chalked off as the ball seemed to be out of play before Kaoru Mitoma played it back across.
But after a lengthy VAR check, the goal was given as the ball was deemed still in play.
As Graeme Souness fumed about the VAR call inside ITV’s studio, plenty of social media reacted to a memorable night of football.
One said: “Japan winning a group with Spain and Germany in it is one of the best things that’s happened at a World Cup in years.”
Another wrote: “For Japan to top a group with Spain and Germany, while also losing to Costa Rica, is the most bonkers World Cup group stage shock of my lifetime.”
A third commented: “Take me back to 15 mins ago when Costa Rica were leading 2-1 and Spain and Germany out fairytale was real.”
Japan fans clean up stadium
Meanwhile, Japan fans continued their tradition of cleaning up football stadiums, taking time to clear any mess before celebrating their side’s World Cup shock win over Germany.
The full-time whistle was unsurprisingly met with a huge celebration from the whole Japan squad, with the substitutes even shown celebrating a clearance during injury time.
However, one group of fans waited until a while after the game had finished to start their partying, but the Japanese waitied for the rest of the crowd to leave and then helping to clean up the stadium.
It’s not the first time that fans of the Samurai Blue have cleaned up after themselves.
The tradition really came to people’s knowledge during the World Cup in Russia, four and a half years ago, and they’ve continued to do so in Qatar.
Earlier in the week, Japanese fans were spotted cleaning up after everyone after the opening game of the tournament, where Ecuador beat the hosts.
There may have been even more for them to clean up that night, with plenty of debris still around from the opening ceremony ahead of kick off, which Morgan Freeman was involved in.
It’s not just the fans that have been involved in cleaning up after themselves, with the players also known to leave stadiums better than they found them.
In the previous World Cup, Japan managed to make it out of the group stages due to their discipline record, after finishing with identical results to Senegal.
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