Goals from Ritsu Doan and Ao Tanaka helped Japan reach the World Cup last 16 as Group E winners with a remarkable 2-1 victory over Spain, with La Roja joining them as Germany were dumped out.

With both sides knowing a win would see them advance, Spain wasted little time in hitting the front as Alvaro Morata headed beyond Shuichi Gonda for his third goal of the tournament early on.

However, Spain failed to capitalise on their huge dominance of possession as Japan turned the game on its head with a quickfire second-half double, Doan firing home from range before Tanaka bundled in a second.

Spain were briefly on their way out of the World Cup when Costa Rica took the lead against Germany in the group's other fixture.

But Germany's late comeback in a 4-2 win ensured La Roja survived an incredible finale to go through as runners-up.

Alvaro Morata would be content to start each of Spain's World Cup games on the substitutes' bench if it meant La Roja won the tournament.

Atletico Madrid striker Morata has come off the bench in both of his country's games in Qatar so far, scoring in the win over Costa Rica and the draw with Germany.

Those four points mean Luis Enrique's side need only a point against Japan on Thursday to qualify for the knockout stage.

Should he not be selected in the starting XI for that match, Morata insists he will have no complaints and will gladly cheer his team-mates on.

"At club level you've got more time to train, more space, and obviously, you want to play," he told Onda Cero. "But here, I can assure you that it doesn't bother to me at all [to be a substitute].

"In fact, if I had to choose coming on from the bench in all the games, or even not playing, but the team wins the World Cup, I would sign up for it. I would cheer the team on from the bench.

"In the end, we have a goal, a dream, and all of us feel important. Everyone is important in different ways. All of us are important and everyone has his function.

"Many players who don't play can be the ones who give more to the group. Historically, it has been like that in the national team.

"I always give an example to the people that want to play but don't play as much as they want. They have to look at Pepe Reina and Iker Casillas.

"They were here [previous World Cups] without playing, but they always gave their best, so they are examples to follow, and they got the credit that they deserved, whether they played or not."

Morata is Spain's joint-fifth highest scorer of all time with 29 goals, yet he has often been criticised by supporters.

The 30-year-old admits he has spent too much time listening to other people's opinions of him, but says his own criticism has been the most damaging.

"I enjoy doing my job," he added. "People can call me crazy, but I have spent maybe eight or nine years of a career that can last 15, thinking about what, how, and when people say.

"A person has to be happy as he is, assume the good and bad things, and don't let anyone take away your happiness.

"If there is one thing I regret in my professional career and in my life, it is having been my own worst enemy many times."

Alvaro Morata says there will be no complacency from Spain when they attempt to seal a place in the World Cup round of 16 against Japan after a 1-1 draw with Germany.

Morata came off the bench to score his second goal of the tournament to put La Roja in front at Al Bayt Stadium on Sunday, but substitute Niclas Fullkrug salvaged a point with a late equaliser for Germany.

Group E leaders Spain only need a point against Japan next Thursday to qualify, while Germany must beat Costa Rica and hope Luis Enrique's side can do them a favour.

All four teams can still qualify from the group following Costa Rica's 1-0 win over Japan, with Germany bottom following their shock 2-1 loss to the Samurai Blue on Wednesday.

Striker Morata stressed there is no chance Spain will take Japan lightly at Khalifa International Stadium.

"Japan is a tough team, they run a lot, they are good tactically. It's another tough game, it's a World Cup." he said.

The Atletico Madrid frontman says he has no problem with being among the substitutes again after also finding the back of the net in a 7-0 rout of Costa Rica.

"We are on the bench for this [to score]. Germany are a great team, this match could have been a semi-final or final in the World Cup," he said.

"It's the same [starting of being a substitute], the most important thing is to win. They scored an amazing goal, so we didn't have the victory, but we keep training and pushing with good vibes and positivity."

Morata has scored eight goals at European Championships and World Cups, at least double the amount of any other player for Spain since 2016.

 

Niclas Fullkrug came off the bench to salvage a first Qatar World Cup point for Germany as they held Spain to a 1-1 draw at Al Bayt Stadium.

Spain substitute Alvaro Morata opened the scoring in the second half of the clash between Group E heavyweights in Doha on Sunday.

Yet Fullkrug ensured Germany avoided back-to-back defeats after they were stunned by Japan in their opening match, equalising with seven minutes of regulation time to play.

The draw leaves Spain top, ahead of their final group game against Japan, with Germany needing to beat Costa Rica and hope La Roja do them a favour to have any chance of qualifying.

Gavi marked becoming Spain's youngest player at a major tournament with a goal in an emphatic 7-0 win over Costa Rica as La Roja began their Qatar 2022 campaign in record style.

Group E rivals Germany suffered a shock 2-1 loss to Japan earlier on Wednesday, but Spain did not look under any threat after Dani Olmo gave them an 11th-minute lead.

That was La Roja's 100th World Cup goal and another two followed inside the opening 31 minutes through Marco Asensio's strike and a Ferran Torres penalty.

Torres doubled his tally early in the second half and Gavi then steered in a delightful volley, before substitutes Carlos Soler and Alvaro Morata added two more late on in Spain's record win at the tournament.

 

Spain were well on top when Olmo controlled a deflected Gavi pass and lifted the ball over Keylor Navas for La Roja's earliest World Cup goal since 2002.

Costa Rica struggled to get a foot on the ball and were two goals down with less than a quarter of the game played as Asensio swept home Jordi Alba's left-sided cross.

Alba was also involved in the third goal, the full-back being felled by a clumsy Oscar Duarte challenge in the box for Torres to put Spain out of reach with his casual spot-kick.

Torres slotted under Navas after some poor defending from Costa Rica and Gavi then got himself on the scoresheet with an outside-of-the-boot volley off the post.

Soler guided goal number six out of Navas' reach and fellow substitute Morata exchanged passes with Olmo before firing in to round off a superb Spain display.
 

What does it mean? Scintillating showing from Spain

Following shock defeats for Argentina and group rivals Germany in the opening round of games, Spain used this opener to put on a display and send out a message.

They scored seven goals in a World Cup match for the first time, with this the 2010 winners' biggest ever win in the competition.

Costa Rica were poor and become only the second side since records began in 1966 to fail to register a shot – the other instance being... Costa Rica against Brazil in 1990.

Torres torments Costa Rica

Torres scored at least twice as many goals in qualifying (four) than any other Spain player and he brought that form into the tournament with his double.

The Barcelona forward is the third player to score twice on his World Cup debut for Spain after David Villa (v Ukraine in 2006) and Jose Iraragorri (v Brazil in 1934).

Gavi behind only Pele

Both sides named their youngest ever players in a World Cup match – Gavi (18 years, 110 days) for Spain and Jewison Bennette (18y, 161d) for Costa Rica.

While winger Bennette managed just two passes in his hour on the pitch, Gavi became the youngest scorer in a World Cup match since Pele (17y 249d) in the 1958 final.

What's next?

Spain face fellow heavyweights Germany, who enter that game needing a result, while Costa Rica take on Japan in Sunday's other Group E match.

Gavi marked becoming Spain's youngest player at a major tournament with a goal in an emphatic 7-0 win over Costa Rica as La Roja kicked off their Qatar 2022 campaign in style.

Group E rivals Germany suffered a shock 2-1 loss to Japan earlier on Wednesday, but Spain did not look under any threat after Dani Olmo gave them an 11th-minute lead.

That was La Roja's 100th World Cup goal and another two followed inside the opening 31 minutes through Marco Asensio's strike and a Ferran Torres penalty.

Torres doubled his tally early in the second half and Gavi then steered in a delightful volley, before substitutes Carlos Soler and Alvaro Morata added two more late on.

 

Alvaro Morata is a doubt for Atletico Madrid's Champions League clash with Porto after suffering an ankle injury early in Saturday's defeat at Cadiz.

The Spain striker looked in great discomfort when he was replaced by Matheus Cunha just 10 minutes into Atleti's 3-2 LaLiga loss.

Morata underwent tests on Sunday, which revealed he has not sustained serious damage to his right ankle.

Atleti will monitor Morata ahead of a final Group B clash with Porto on Tuesday, when they will attempt to secure a Europa League spot after failing to qualify for the round of 16 of Europe's premier club competition.

"Alvaro Morata suffers from soft tissue edema in his ankle, according to the medical tests which he underwent this Sunday morning," Atleti stated.

"The Spanish international striker was substituted after 10 minutes of play in the game that we played this Saturday in Cadiz and the evolution of his discomfort will determine his incorporation into the group."

Diego Simeone's side were unbeaten in six games before slipping up at lowly Cadiz.

Atletico Madrid head coach Diego Simeone felt his side paid the price for "not being forceful" enough as a 92nd-minute Radamel Falcao penalty earned Rayo Vallecano a late 1-1 draw on Tuesday.

Alvaro Morata's first-half strike looked to be enough to give Atletico their fourth straight LaLiga win, despite missing a number of chances to add a second goal.

They were left to rue not taking those opportunities, as the referee awarded a penalty after Jose Gimenez handled in the box from Randy Nteka's header, before Falcao fired home the penalty to deny his former side the win.

Simeone was frustrated over his side's inability to kill the game off, telling reporters: "We had good goal situations to score the second and close out the match.

"The second was not scored and we remain in a situation in which they can equalise.

"In the second half we had a lot of counter-attacks to finish the game, we didn't convert the much-needed second goal and we lost two important points."

The two dropped points Simeone referenced would have put Atletico just three points behind leaders Real Madrid, and the 52-year-old feels his players must be more ruthless in future.

When asked what his team did wrong against Rayo, Simeone replied: "Not being forceful.

"If you come up against the goalkeeper several times, it has to be a goal.

"You have to improve the forcefulness and train it and when that situation appears, there is the mettle to finish."

Radamel Falcao's 92nd-minute penalty frustrated former club Atletico Madrid as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Rayo Vallecano on Tuesday.

Atletico looked to be on course for a fourth straight LaLiga win after Alvaro Morata netted a first-time finish from their only shot on target of the opening 45 minutes.

Diego Simeone's men protected that advantage until the final seconds of normal time, when Jose Gimenez handled and then, following a short delay, Falcao netted from the spot.

A point at home leaves Atletico still third, but they lost further ground on champions and leaders Real Madrid, who are five points better off with a game in hand.

Atletico were ahead within 20 minutes, Antoine Griezmann winning the ball high up the pitch before delivering an inch-perfect cross to Morata, who exquisitely swept past Stole Dimitrievski.

Axel Witsel then dragged a shot wide of the left post as Simeone's side looked to add a quick second, but Rayo improved as the half continued, and Ivan Balliu stung the palms of Ivo Grbic with a fierce drive before the break.

Pathe Ciss had a decent chance to level soon after the interval but could only head wide, before Morata nodded off target at the other end.

Sergio Camello sent a low effort agonisingly past the right post as Rayo pushed for an equaliser, and it appeared as though Grbic's save from Falcao when one-on-one would deny the visitors.

However, Gimenez handled from Randy Nteka's header with time almost up, allowing Falcao to snatch a point against his old side.

Head coach Luis Enrique "had the feeling that the goal was going to come" for Spain as a late Alvaro Morata strike earned victory over Portugal to reach next year's Nations League Finals.

Spain needed to win in Braga if they were to top Group A2 above Portugal, but the hosts had the better of the first-half opportunities.

However, substitutions from Luis Enrique turned the game in Spain's favour, before they found a dramatic 88th-minute winner when Morata smashed in from Nico Williams' downwards header.

Luis Enrique claims he knew his team were going to score, telling reporters: "It is a wonderful sport in which victory is the best antidote for any depression or state of sadness.

"Portugal are a top team. In the first half, I insisted a lot, perhaps too much, on having the ball, and we did. It is clear that we prefer to make the passes in the opposing half.

"The first half is necessary to show that the ball is ours; in the second half, I had the feeling that the goal was going to come.

"We repeat reaching the final four, and it is a great joy."

The important victory will no doubt stir hopes of Spain repeating their 2010 heroics, when Vicente del Bosque led the nation to their first and only World Cup crown.

The 2022 tournament in Qatar is fast approaching, and Luis Enrique faces tough decisions in picking his final squad.

"It is wonderful to train these players," he told reporters. 

"The list is not 26; there are 40 who can come to the World Cup. It is a pleasure to train players of such quality.

"The pity is that players are going to stay out [of the final squad]. It changes continuously. It will be difficult for me."

Real Sociedad came from behind to claim a 1-1 draw from an entertaining clash with Atletico Madrid in LaLiga, as Alexander Isak's replacement Umar Sadiq scored on his debut.

La Real fell behind early on when Alvaro Morata pounced to continue his fine start to the new season, but the hosts gave as good as they got in a first half that saw both teams hit the woodwork.

Having been introduced as a half-time substitute, Sadiq met Momo Cho's hanging cross to nod home a leveller, making an instant impact for his new club.

Diego Simeone's men stood firm despite the hosts enjoying the better of a lively second half, ensuring the two teams remain locked together on seven points from four games in LaLiga.

Atleti needed just five minutes to hit the front, with Morata on hand to lash home the rebound after Yannick Carrasco hit the near post directly from a corner.

But Jan Oblak was the busier of the two goalkeepers in the early stages, producing a strong save to deny Mikel Merino from long range 20 minutes in, shortly after the Sociedad captain had volleyed against the left-hand post. 

Morata was denied a brace 10 minutes later when Joao Felix handled in the build-up to his sweeping left-footed finish, before Jose Gimenez rattled the crossbar with an incredible long-range strike as the break approached.

The hosts continued to push after Sadiq replaced Alexander Sorloth, and the 6ft 4in striker made use of his frame when climbing to power a left-wing cross beyond Oblak at the back post after 55 minutes. 

The offside flag came to Atleti's rescue with 13 minutes remaining when Sadiq latched onto Takefusa Kubo's pass to lob Oblak, but the visitors ultimately stood firm to claim a share of the spoils.

What does it mean? Atleti struggle in San Sebastian 

Atletico Madrid came into this match having won each of their two away games at the start of the season, but can hardly have any complaints with the draw after allowing La Real to take charge.

By fighting back to level the scores, La Real avoided suffering three successive home league defeats for the first time since February 2007, and ended Los Colchoneros' run of four consecutive wins on the road.

Morata's revival continues

Morata has been in fine form since returning from an underwhelming two-year loan spell at Juventus, and needed just five minutes to score his third league goal of the campaign.

Meanwhile, the Spain international has now contributed to at least one goal on each of his last four appearances against La Real in LaLiga (four goals, one assist).

Sadiq strikes early

Having impressed for Almeria in the early weeks of the campaign, Sadiq was the man selected by Imanol Alguacil to fill the shoes of Newcastle United's new record signing Isak, and the Nigeria striker did not need long to make an impression.

Having netted within 10 minutes of making his Sociedad bow, Sadiq has now scored on each of his last three appearances in LaLiga. 

What's next?

Atletico Madrid begin their Champions League campaign at home to Porto on Wednesday, while Sociedad face a trip to Manchester United in the Europa League one day later.

Diego Simeone hopes Antoine Griezmann will stay with Atletico Madrid on a long-term basis after the France international helped Los Colchoneros make a positive start in LaLiga.

Griezmann came off the bench to score Atletico's third goal in a dominant opening-day win at Getafe on Monday, with Joao Felix recording three assists and Alvaro Morata scoring twice in a 3-0 triumph.

The 2018 World Cup winner is 12 months into a two-year loan spell in the Spanish capital, having endured a largely unhappy period with Barcelona between 2019 and 2021.

Reports suggest Atletico have an obligation to buy Griezmann should he hit a minimum number of appearances in LaLiga this season, and Simeone is keen to keep the 31-year-old.

"We talked about it in the Getafe post-game. I have spoken a lot about him, he is very complete, he knows what we want," Simeone said.

"Last year he already played some games in that role. We see him as adaptable because he has vision of the game, technique, he allows us to play with a more offensive player elsewhere. 

"I hope he continues with us, I appreciate him and I love him. 

"Hopefully he can continue in the line that he had in pre-season and in this Getafe game."

Only Joao Felix (13), Angel Correa (13) and the since-departed Luis Suarez (10) bettered Griezmann's tally of eight goals in all competitions for Atletico last season, despite the France forward making just 27 starts.

Meanwhile, Griezmann will be looking to build on his opening-day goal against a favoured opponent when Atletico host Villarreal on Sunday, having scored four goals in his last four outings against the Yellow Submarine in LaLiga.

It was Griezmann's fellow attacker Joao Felix who stole the headlines last time out, however, becoming the first player to provide three assists on LaLiga's first matchday since Jordi Cruyff did so against Las Palmas in 2000.

But Simeone was unwilling to get carried away with his praise for either him or in-form strike partner Morata, adding: "We are starting LaLiga. It is early to make such a deep reflection. 

"They are in a good moment, they had a great pre-season, they are both excited. They have maturity. Let's hope they continue like this."

Newcastle United are reportedly engaged in discussions with Chelsea about a quartet of players, with the club said to be interested in Conor Gallagher, Christian Pulisic, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Armando Broja.

Pulisic is the oldest of the four players at 23, and while that could mean Newcastle are looking for long-term building blocks, they are said to be interested in securing one on a loan deal, with a report from The Evening Standard indicating that would be Hudson-Odoi.

The St James' Park club have been relatively unsuccessful this transfer window, with goalkeeper Nick Pope and centre-back Sven Botman highlighting their business thus far, but they could change that quickly if Chelsea are willing to play ball.

 

TOP STORY – THE MAGPIES TURN TO STAMFORD BRIDGE FOR REINFORCEMENTS

According to The Telegraph, there is "widespread belief that several players at Stamford Bridge will be offloaded in the last few days of the window", and Newcastle are making sure they are in prime position to take advantage.

The report also mentions that the club are hampered by financial fair play rules, and despite their wealth, they will likely only be able to sign one player on a permanent basis, adding importance to the potential loan of Hudson-Odoi.

In another recent report from The Sun, it claims Newcastle view Conor Gallagher as their top overall target, although he would likely be the most expensive of the quartet at more than £40million.

 

ROUND-UP

Atletico Madrid would be willing to swap one of Antoine Griezmann or Alvaro Morata to Manchester United in exchange for Cristiano Ronaldo, according to The Times.

– Marca is reporting United are also interested in Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro, although SB Nation's Lucas Navarrete claims it would take an "impossible to reject" offer to make Madrid budge.

– According to Foot Mercato, Nice are in talks with Arsenal about a loan move for Nicolas Pepe.

– Mundo Deportivo claims 21-year-old American right-back Sergino Dest "is feeling pressured" to leave Barcelona as they search for another full-back, and United are said to be a potential landing spot.

– Sky Sports are reporting West Ham are hoping to complete a £10.1m move for Paris Saint-Germain defender Thilo Kehrer in time for Thursday's Europa Conference League tie against Viborg FF.

Alvaro Morata's agent has not ruled out a move for the in-form Atletico Madrid star but declared "at the moment I say that he stays".

The Spain international scored twice as Atleti started the LaLiga season with a 3-0 win at Getafe on the back of a hat-trick in a 4-0 friendly rout of his former club Juventus.

Morata has been linked with Manchester United and a return to Juve, where he was on loan for the past two campaigns.

The 29-year-old's representative, Juanma Lopez, says the ex-Real Madrid forward will remain with Diego Simeone's side as it stands, but suggested he could depart before the transfer window closes on September 1. 

He told Chiringuito: "At the moment I say that he stays at Atletico Madrid, we are in August. Will he stay? Yes, he has a contract with Atletico."

Simeone was unable to give any assurances over Morata's future following the victory over Getafe.

"I am not the owner of the club, I am the coach," the Atleti boss said. "He is doing very well, working in an extraordinary way, and we hope that Morata will continue with us.

"I think that all footballers have to have confidence to do important things. He came with humility, desire to work, without demanding anything, striving to get to this shape and that is what we want to see."

Manchester United are reportedly engaged in discussions with Atletico Madrid about a potential move for striker Alvaro Morata in an effort to add some much-needed firepower up front.

Morata, 29, spent the past two seasons on loan at Juventus, where he racked up 32 goals and 21 assists in 92 club appearances, but with the Italian giants opting not to make it a permanent move, the Spaniard's future is unclear.

He has been starting for Madrid in pre-season games – including netting a hat-trick against Juve earlier this month – but with Antoine Griezmann, Joao Felix and the club's top-scorer from last season Angel Correa all available, it appears Diego Simeone may prefer to cash in.

 

TOP STORY – RED DEVILS LOOK TO FORMER CHELSEA STRIKER FOR ANSWERS

The report from The Athletic claims the Old Trafford side view a move for Morata as "a genuine possibility", with the price tag said to be in the neighbourhood of £30million.

It highlights the state of United's current forward stocks, with Edinson Cavani and Jesse Lingard departing, while Cristiano Ronaldo has reportedly requested a transfer, and the futures of Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial are considered up in the air.

After a horrible beginning to their Premier League campaign, United are expected to be active for the remainder of the transfer period – with Metro also reporting Frenkie de Jong has told team-mates he will likely be headed to Manchester.

 

ROUND-UP

– The Daily Mail are reporting Chelsea have agreed to personal terms with 21-year-old Leicester City centre-back Wesley Fofana, although they have had two bids rejected as the asking price remains above £80m.

– The Daily Mail also claims United have told Paris Saint-Germain that Rashford is not for sale, with the Times adding that the French giants view him as a long-term partner to Kylian Mbappe.

– According to Sunday Express, Newcastle United have engaged Benfica in discussions about 21-year-old Portuguese midfielder Goncalo Ramos, who is said to be valued at £35m.

– Fabrizio Romano is reporting 19-year-old Udinese full-back Destiny Udogie is in England for a medical to confirm his £15m move to Tottenham, although he will be loaned back to Udinese for the remainder of the season.

Nottingham Forest have agreed to a £15m move for Brighton striker Neal Maupay, per The Athletic.

Page 1 of 7
© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.