Wednesday, 8 February, 2023
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Costa Rica ‘still alive’ after late winner over Japan

Costa Rica ‘still alive’ after late winner over Japan

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DOHA: Luis Fernando Suarez said his Costa Rica team were "still very much alive" at the World Cup after a 1-0 win over Japan on Sunday blew Group E wide open -- and handed a potential lifeline to Germany, reports AFP.

Japan, who shocked four-time champions Germany 2-1 in their opener in Qatar, would have taken a giant stride towards the last 16 with a win.

Instead they laboured in the first half against a Costa Rica side who were hammered 7-0 by Spain, then defender Keysher Fuller scored in the 81st minute with a deflected strike on the counterattack.

It was Costa Rica's first shot on target at this World Cup and left them, leaders Spain and Japan all on three points. Spain face Germany later Sunday in a group widely seen as the toughest at the tournament.

Japan's early promise melted in the Doha sun and the first shot at goal -- a tame effort which sailed high and wide -- did not come until 10 minutes from half-time through Costa Rica's Joel Campbell. A dreary first half came to a close with "Los Ticos" having had more of the ball but neither side mustering a shot on target.

Moriyasu had seen enough and made a double change at the break, one of them the introduction of Bundesliga-based striker Takuma Asano, who scored the winner against the Germans.