World Cup 2022: Spain lose to Japan in Group E and will meet Morocco in last 16

Japan score a second goal against Spain in the teams' World Cup game in Qatar.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Spain suffered a surprise defeat to Japan on Thursday and will face Morocco in the last 16 of the World Cup after finishing second behind the Samurai Blue in Group E.

Luis Enrique made five changes to the team which drew 1-1 with Germany on Sunday and one of the players brought in, Alvaro Morata, gave La Roja the lead with a header after 12 minutes.

The first half was fairly one-sided and Spain seemed comfortable at the break, but Japan scored twice in quick succession to turn the match on its head after the interval.

Just as they had against Germany in their opening match, Japan came from a goal down to win it, this time thanks to goals from Ritsu Doan and Ao Tanaka after 48 and 51 minutes, respectively.

And the second of those came with some controversy as it looked as if the ball had gone out of play, only for a VAR check to confirm it was not fully over the line before it was put back across goal by Kaoru Mitoma for Tanaka to finish.

In any case, the goal stood and Germany went out as Spain were knocked down to second in Group E.

Luis Enrique's side will meet Group F winners Morocco in the last 16, while Japan will play Croatia in the next round.

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Weekend editor

Ben Hayward is Weekend Editor for FourFourTwo. A European football writer with over 15 years’ experience, he has covered games all over the world - including three World Cups, several Champions League finals, Euros, Copa América - and has spent much of that time in Spain. He currently divides his time between Barcelona and London.