‘The whole ball wasn’t out of play’ – FIFA explain why Japan’s controversial winner against Spain was valid

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FIFA have confirmed that Japan’s controversial winning goal against Spain was valid as the whole ball didn’t go out of play in the build-up.

Ao Tanaka’s strike was initially disallowed, as the ball appeared to have crossed the byline before Kaoru Mitoma pulled a cross back into the box.

But after a long VAR review, the goal was given, sparking much debate as different angles from television images made it difficult to discern exactly where the ball was in relation to the line.

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It was a crucial goal, as it earned Japan a famous 2-1 win over Spain that earned them top spot in Group E, securing Germany’s early elimination in the process.

FIFA sought to draw a line under the matter with an explanation on Friday.

“Japan’s second goal in their 2-1 win over Spain was checked by VAR to determine if the ball had gone out of play,” world football’s governing body wrote on Twitter.

“The video match officials used the goal line camera images to check if the ball was still partially on the line or not.

“Other cameras may offer misleading images but on the evidence available, the whole of the ball was not out of play.”

Japan topped Group E after earning shock wins over Spain and four-time world champions Germany.

Spain snuck through in second place thanks to having a better goal difference than Germany, while Costa Rica finished bottom.

Japan’s reward is a last 16 clash with Croatia, while Spain face Morocco next.

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