As a result of Costa Rica’s heroics in Group E and Keysher Fuller’s late goal, Japan was unable to advance further into the World Cup knockout stages.
After their unexpected victory over Germany, Japan struggled against a solid defensive line before Fuller scored with Costa Rica’s first chance on goal of the competition.
As a result, both teams have three points after two games, with Spain facing Germany later on Sunday. Spain still leads the group on goal differential (19:00 GMT).
If Spain wins, they will almost certainly advance to the round of 16.
After beating Germany in their opener, many expected Japan to account for a Costa Rica side reeling from a 7-0 thrashing by Spain.
However, Japan boss Hajime Moriyasu opted for rotation over continuity, making five changes, and that resulted in a subdued performance and a scoreline that blew the group wide open.
It was a remarkable victory for Costa Rica, who had failed to lay a glove on the Japan defence before Fuller’s deflected shot from the edge of the box escaped goalkeeper Shuichi Gonda’s grasp nine minutes from time.
After a first half devoid of goalmouth action in the searing heat at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium, Japan dominated for large spells. However, they struggled to create clear-cut chances until the 88th minute, when Daichi Kamada could not turn the ball home after a driving Kaoru Mitoma run.
Having achieved redemption following their humiliation at the hands of Spain, the Costa Rica players celebrated emotionally at full-time as Japan were left to rue a disappointing display that failed to back up their heroics against Germany.
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