Arab News Japan
AL RAYYAN (Qatar): Japan, who were riding a high wave after shocking four-times World Cup champions Germany a few days ago, were suddenly brought down to earth by Costa Rica on Sunday after they conceded a goal in the 81th minute to lose the Group E match 1-0.
Both teams are now with three points after two games.
Keysher Fuller took advantage of a defensive error from Japan to find the net from 18 meters just off the fingertips of leaping Japan goalkeeper Shuichi Gonda.
The match at Ahmad Bin Ali stadium was tactical and largely lacklustre, particularly in a first half that did not yield a single shot on goal. The second half was slightly better with Japan pressing throughout until Costa Rica broke through.
Costa Rica keeper Keylor Navas came up with several rapid fire saves in the final minutes to save the victory.
Japan has one Group E game remaining with Spain, and Costa Rica faces Germany in its final group match.
With a victory, Japan could have all but wrapped up a place in the knockout stage after a 2-1 upset of Germany in its opener. Costa Rica were pounded by Spain 7-0 in its first game and just trying to survive.