Qatar World Cup redemption for Japan coach 29 years later

Hajime Moriyasu was a midfielder on the Japan national team 29 years ago when the “Agony of Doha” hit.

It’s all over now that he’s the coach.

At the Khalifa International Stadium, Japan beat 2010 champion Spain 2-1 on Thursday to win its World Cup group. At the same venue last week, the team beat Germany by the same score.

He thought about the game in Qatar against Iraq in 1993 that cost the team a spot in the next year’s tournament as time wound down against Spain.

After the win over Spain, Moriyasu said, “I remember the tragedy in Doha one minute before the end.”

In stoppage time, Japan conceded after leading 2-1 and knowing one goal for the opposition would end the qualifier. Both their World Cup hopes and Moriyasu’s chances at playing at the world’s biggest soccer tournament ended.

There was a difference this time. The defense held up this time. After winning Group E, 54-year-old Moriyasu got his Hollywood ending.

Moriyasu said, praising his team’s aggressive defense, that “times have changed.”. “They’re playing a new kind of soccer,” he said.

Japan’s captain, 34-year-old Maya Yoshida, typified their resistance on the field. As a loose ball bounced in front of an empty net in the 90th minute after goalkeeper Shuichi Gonda blocked Jordi Alba’s shot, the veteran defender reacted fastest.

The ball was cleared by Yoshida, who twisted his body to beat Marco Asensio. Minutes later, Spain’s Dani Olmo took control, but Gonda smothered his shot.

On offense, Japan scored in the 48th and 51st minutes. Germany scored in the 75th and 83rd.

“We were dismantled in 10 minutes,” Luis Enrique said.

Croatia is next, a team that reached the final in Russia four years ago. For the first time, Japan would reach the World Cup quarterfinals with a win on Monday.

“We’re gifting this win to the people of Japan,” the coach said.

Kavya Mishra

Hi, I'm Kavya Mishra, an entertainment journalist with a passion for all things Bollywood. I graduated from Lady Shri Ram College for Women–Delhi University (LSR–DU) in 2016, where I honed my writing and communication skills. During my time at LSR–DU, I completed an editorial internship at India Today and gained valuable experience working in the editorial department. After completing my degree, I worked as a writer for missmalini, one of India's top entertainment websites. At missmalini, I wrote engaging and informative articles on the latest celebrity news, movie releases, and fashion trends. My love for all things entertainment, combined with my exceptional writing skills, made me a valuable asset to the missmalini team. I'm known in the industry for my geeky passion for Bollywood and my ability to unearth the juiciest and most exclusive news stories. I have an extensive network of industry insiders, which enables me to get the inside scoop on the latest happenings in the entertainment world. As a driven and dedicated entertainment journalist, I'm always striving to be at the forefront of the industry. I have an innate ability to connect with my readers and am committed to providing them with the latest and most accurate information on their favorite celebrities and movies.

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