Spain were shocked 2-1 by Japan in their final Group E match as they were made to sweat on their place in the second round.
Japan scored twice early in the second half to come from behind to defeat the European heavyweights in controversial circumstances. Ao Tanaka scored the winning goal from close range early in the second half, but It took about two minutes for Var officials to confirm the ball hadn't gone out of bounds before the goal. However, fans were left bemused as to the decision with the ball seemingly, to the naked eye at least, out.
Earlier, Alvaro Morata had scored first for the Spanish in the 11th minute at Khalifa International Stadium, but Japan rallied after half-time. Ritsu Doan equalized in the 48th with a left-footed shot from outside the box, and Tanaka added the second one three minutes later.
The result meant Spain finsihed second in the group with Japan first. Their result meant Germany were eliminated from the tournament despite their 4-2 win over Costa Rica in the other Group E match. A victory by Costa Rica would have eliminated Spain - and the Central Americans were indeed 2-1 ahead until the Germans rallied to victory.
Spain World Cup 2022 squad
Goalkeepers: Unai Simon, Robert Sanchez, David Raya
Defenders: Dani Carvajal, Cesar Azpilicueta, Eric Garcia, Hugo Guillamon, Pau Torres, Aymeric Laporte, Jordi Alba, Jose Gaya
Midfielders: Sergio Busquets, Rodrigo, Gavi, Carlos Soler, Marcos Llorente, Pedri, Koke
Forwards: Ferran Torres, Nico Williams, Yeremy Pino, Alvaro Morata, Marco Asensio, Pablo Sarabia, Dani Olmo, Ansu Fati
Who is their best player?
Gavi is a teenager who has been handed an extended run in the Barcelona first team as well as the Spain senior squad.
With 10 caps before his 18th birthday in August, the midfielder's technical abilities have earned him comparisons with Xavi, and he impressed in Spain's opening game thrashing of Costa Rica, getting on the scoresheet and winning the player of the match award.
Elsewhere, Pau Torres is a commanding centre-back constantly linked with moves away from Villarreal, where he made 33 league appearances last season. He has earned 21 caps for Spain at the age of 25 and he will be a solid presence at the back for Luis Enrique’s side.
Along with Gavi, Pedri is one of the players at the forefront of the new generation of young Spanish talent. Still only 19, the creative midfielder was a key figure for Barcelona during the 2020-21 season and it was only injuries and fitness issues that prevented him making as many appearances the year after. A roaming playmaker with outstanding technical ability, this will be Pedri’s first World Cup and a chance to impress on the biggest stage of all.
What are Spain's results and fixtures?
November 23: Spain 7 Costa Rica 0
November 27: Spain 1 Germany 1
December 1: Japan 2 vs Spain 1
What is Spain’s World Cup record?
Spain’s 2010 success in South Africa is their only World Cup title so far. A star-studded line-up containing Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Xavi, Iniesta, David Villa and Fernando Torres came out on top against Netherlands in the final, thanks to Andreas Iniesta's extra-time winner.
They have qualified for every World Cup since 1978 but have failed to make it past the quarter-final stage in any other tournament. Spain are in a somewhat difficult group for Qatar, with Germany, 2018 excepted, typically rising to the occasion plus the gritty Costa Rica and slick Japan.
It may be a tournament too soon for them to fulfil their potential but Luis Enrique is building something special.
Argentina | Australia | Belgium | Brazil | Cameroon | Canada | Costa Rica | Croatia | Denmark | Ecuador | England | France | Germany | Ghana | Iran | Japan | Mexico | Morocco | Netherlands | Poland | Portugal | Qatar | Saudi Arabia | Senegal | Serbia | South Korea | Spain | Switzerland | Tunisia | Uruguay | USA | Wales
What are the latest odds?
Spain are currently a best price of 6/1 to win the World Cup.