WORLD CUP: Fuller scores to earn Costa Rica shock win over Japan

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Japan failed to take another step towards the World Cup knockout rounds as Keysher Fuller’s late goal earned Costa Rica a smash-and-grab 1-0 Group E victory.

Following their shock win over Germany, Japan were frustrated by a tight defensive unit, before Fuller struck with Costa Rica’s first shot on target at the tournament.

The result leaves both teams on three points after two games, with Spain – who still top the group on goal difference – facing Germany later on Sunday.

Victory for Spain will all but guarantee their progression to the last 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. (BBC Sport)

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