FIFA Men's World Cup
World Cup Daily: Japan fends off Spain and Germany to win Group E
FIFA Men's World Cup

World Cup Daily: Japan fends off Spain and Germany to win Group E

Updated Dec. 1, 2022 5:19 p.m. ET

In a group headlined by Germany and Spain, Japan surprisingly came out on top by beating La Roja 2-1 at Khalifa International Stadium on Thursday. 

Meanwhile, Germany was eliminated from the World Cup in the group stage for the second consecutive tournament. The Germans weren't the only European powerhouse that didn't reach the knockout stage, though.

Here's everything that happened in the World Cup on Thursday and what to watch for on Friday.


Croatia 0, Belgium 0

Belgium's so-called Golden Generation won't get to ride off into the sunset after all, as its scoreless draw against Croatia eliminated it from the tournament. The game shouldn't have ended scoreless — Belgium had an xG of 3.7 — but Belgium couldn't put its chances away. Not even the sitters.

For Croatia, a draw was enough for it to advance, but not enough for it to win the group. That might not be a bad thing for them, though, as Croatia will now play Japan on Monday (10 a.m. ET on FOX and the FOX Sports app) instead of Spain.

Croatia vs. Belgium Highlights | 2022 FIFA World Cup

Morocco 2, Canada 1

Morocco advanced to the knockout round for the first time since 1986 with its 2-1 win over Canada. Its reward? Playing Spain on Tuesday (10 a.m. ET on FOX and the FOX Sports app).

Canada vs. Morocco Highlights | 2022 FIFA World Cup

Japan 2, Spain 1

Japan's dream scenario came true on Thursday, when it beat Spain and Germany topped Costa Rica, clearing its path to win the group. Had Japan not mounted a comeback in the second half, Germany and Spain would have advanced. As the winners of Group E, Japan will play Croatia on Monday (10 a.m. ET on FOX and the FOX Sports app).

Japan vs. Spain Highlights | 2022 FIFA World Cup

Germany 4, Costa Rica 2

Germany held up its end of the bargain, beating Costa Rica 4-2 in its final group stage match, but it needed Spain to win or draw against Japan to have any shot of advancing. By the time Germany has another opportunity to make it to the round of 16, it will be 12 years since its last appearance.

Costa Rica vs. Germany Highlights | 2022 FIFA World Cup


Ritsu Doan's rocket from the edge of the box sparked Japan's incredible comeback.

Japan's Ritsu Doan scores goal vs. Spain in 48'


The Assist of the Day wasn't an assist on the scoresheet, but Joshua Kimmich played the ball in so well that he deserves the honor. Leroy Sané's actual one-touch assist to Niclas Füllkrug wasn't too shabby either.


In the end, it didn't count for anything, but Manuel Neuer's save from point-blank range was as good as any save of the tournament so far.


At halftime, it looked like Japan's World Cup was coming to an end. By the final whistle, it had won the group. That's the magic of the group stage and the resilience of the Samurai Blue.

South Korea vs. Portugal, 10 a.m. ET on *FOX

Portugal already secured its spot in the knockout round; it just needs a win or tie to win Group H. South Korea, on the other hand, needs a win and a Uruguay loss vs. Ghana to advance on points. It can also advance if Uruguay beats Ghana, but only if it wins a tiebreaker. A loss eliminates South Korea.

Ghana vs. Uruguay, 10 a.m. ET on *FS1

Ghana is in the best position of all the teams below Portugal in Group H. If Ghana beats Uruguay, it's in. If it ties Uruguay, it's still in unless South Korea beats Portugal and wins the tiebreaker with Ghana. The only result that outright eliminates Ghana is a Uruguay win.

Serbia vs. Switzerland, 2 p.m. ET on *FS1

Unless Cameroon gets its first win of the tournament against a very good Brazil side, Serbia-Switzerland will be game that decides the runner-up in Group G. If Switzerland wins or ties, it will advance to the knockout stage. Serbia needs a win and Cameroon to lose to advance. If Serbia and Cameroon both win, it will head to a tiebreaker.

Cameroon vs. Brazil, 2 p.m. ET on *FOX

Like Portugal, Brazil only needs a win or a draw to win its group, and even if it loses, it has a three-goal advantage on Switzerland in the goal differential tiebreaker. Brazil is in a good spot; Cameroon needs a few things to go its way to advance, starting with a Serbia win vs. Switzerland.

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