Maya Yoshida tops group to reach World Cup knockout stage

Maya Yoshida and Japan have reached the last 16 of the World Cup after a 2-1 win over Spain on Thursday (01/12). The Blue Samurai topped the group ahead of Spain, Germany and Costa Rica after taking six points from three games.

Maya Yoshida

Like in the Japan’s previous two group games, the Schalke defender wore the captain’s armband and was played the full game against Spain.

The 34-year-old saw his side turn the game around with two quickfire second-half goals. After Atlético Madrid’s Alvaro Morata opened the scoring for Spain in the eleventh minute, Japan answered through Freiburg’s Ritsu Doan (48’) and Düsseldorf’s Ao Tanaka (51’) after the break.

Japan will take on 2018 runners up Croatia in the last 16 on Monday (05/12) at 16:00 CET.

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