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Japan win group after VAR erroneously confirms go-ahead goal vs. Spain [VIDEO]

Japan got some good fortune at Germany’s expense.

Japan v Spain: Group E - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
Ao Tanaka of Japan scores a goal to make it 2-1 during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group E match between Japan and Spain at Khalifa International Stadium on December 1, 2022 in Doha, Qatar.
Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

Fulltime update: VAR has faced plenty of criticism over the years but it usually has gotten calls right. This time, the video review system did not give out the correct call for Japan’s second goal against Spain. The goal would give Japan the 2-1 lead en route to an eventual win, and Germany got eliminated despite a 4-2 win over Costa Rica. If this goal is rightfully overturned, Germany would be going through over Japan with more goals scored overall. There’s bound to be some discussion here, because the video replay should be able to get this right.


Japan have come out firing in the second half of their Group E match against Spain, quickly adding an equalizer to keep their knockout hopes alive. Those hopes only grow stronger with Ao Tanaka putting another one in the back of the net for Japan, with VAR confirming a good goal. Japan would go to the top of Group E if these results hold.

Here’s another look at this goal, which gives Japan the top spot in the group at the moment.

It’s an amazing turnaround for the Asian side in a six minute span. They went from being eliminated with a loss to going to the top of the group with a win. Group E was considered a possible “Group of Death” heading into the competition, although most of the focus was on the two European powerhouse teams. Japan are proving they can hang with the big boys in international competitions and look poised to make the last 16.