After a shock 2-1 defeat to Japan on Thursday night, Luis Enrique’s Spain qualified for the FIFA World Cup 2022 Round of 16 as the second-place team in Group E.
Spain, who started with a magnificent 7-0 win over Costa Rica, was held to a 1-1 draw by Germany in the second game, and Thursday’s defeat pushed it to second place.
In the Round of 16, La Roja will face Morocco, who topped Group F ahead of Croatia with a 2-1 win over Canada, on December 6 at 8:30 PM IST at the Education City Stadium in Qatar.
Thursday’s win was Japan’s second in the Qatar World Cup after it hammered Germany 2-1 in the opening game. With two wins in three matches, Japan topped Group E and will face last edition’s runner-up Croatia in the pre-quarterfinals.
Spain and Germany have four points each, but the 2010 World Cup winner advanced due to a better goal difference (6-1).
Spain could have assured its Last 16 place in the previous game had it beaten Germany, but a late equaliser from Niclas Fullkrug forced it to wait for the final group game. That was also because Costa Rica beat Japan 1-0, ensuring three teams picked up a win each, leaving all four teams fighting for a place in the pre-quarterfinals.