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Tears of joy in Japan after nail-biting win over Spain

Tears of joy in Japan after nail-biting win over Spain
December 2, 2022 Reuters

DOHA (Reuters) - Japan erupted in cheers and tears after the national team's 2-1 win over Spain early on Friday, with crowds packing public viewing areas in the pre-dawn cold shrieking with joy as they stunned another global football power at the World Cup.

Japan, who had also shocked Germany in their opener in Qatar, finished top of Group E to reach the last 16, a stage where they have faltered three times before.

They will play 2018 runners-up Croatia for a place in the quarter-finals. 

"Doha Delights Again!" one newspaper headlined its online edition, evoking memories of what the media called the "Miracle in Doha" after Japan's win over the Germans.

Fans chanting "Nippon" poured into Tokyo's iconic Shibuya crossing before sunrise, jumping up and down and shouting "Fight, fight, fight!" as police struggled to control the crowd.

"I never thought Japan would advance first place in the group. Thank you Japan! I love you guys!" said 19-year-old Yusei Sato, wearing Japan's Samurai Blue national team jersey.

Takuya Kudo, 23, was in tears as soon as he saw Japan win.