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Major VAR controversy as Japan take the lead against Spain

Marcus Chan

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| Last updated 

Major VAR controversy as Japan take the lead against Spain

VAR has taken centre stage once again as Japan scored a controversial goal against Spain in the World Cup Group E clash.

Heading into the match, all four teams were still in with a chance of qualifying and Japan needed a positive result.

Spain though made the perfect start as Alvaro Morata headed his side in front after 12 minutes. Spain went into the half time interval 1-0 up.

In the second half, Japan came out fighting as they knew their hopes of reaching the last 16 were hanging by a thin thread as Germany were ahead against Costa Rica.

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Ritsu Doan scored the equaliser in the 48th minute to get his side back on level terms.

In the 51st minute, a huge controversial moment as Ao Tanaka scored to make it 2-1. However, the goal was originally chalked off as the ball seemed to be out of play before Kaoru Mitoma played it back across.

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But after a lengthy VAR check, the goal was given as the ball was deemed still in play. A huge moment as that goals mean Japan will finish top with Spain finishing second.

Coming into the game, there were talks about Spain potentially finishing second in order to avoid Brazil before the final. However, manager Luis Enrique squashed those rumours, he said: "We have reflected on it. But from a professional point of view, imagine that we speculate. ‘OK, we want to be second, that’s in our interests.’

"We get to the 95th minute and in both games it’s 0-0, 0-0, [thinking:] ‘Everything’s going great.’ And then Costa Rica go and score and Japan score. And in 15 seconds you’re out because you have been speculating for 90 minutes. Or the other way round: Germany are winning 5-0 and we’re drawing and that will do and then Japan score and you’re out.

"When you’re a very good team and you want to play seven games, you want to be first. We play the team that’s second in Group F, right? And then in the quarter-final … in theory it’s Brazil. OK, great. We play Brazil then. We can’t count like the milkmaid."

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The winners of Group E will face Croatia in the next round whilst the second-placed team will be up against Morocco.

Featured Image Credit: ITV

Topics: Spain, Japan, Football World Cup, Football

Marcus Chan
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