Japan Player Ratings vs Spain: Doan and Mitoma Stun La Roja

Against all odds, Japan stunned Spain 2-1 after Ritsu Doan and Kaoru Mitoma turned in incredible super sub performances. Despite Spain’s overwhelming possession in the first half, the Japanese found their rhythm at halftime and clawed their way back to finish at the top of Group E.

Shuichi Gonda – 7

Spain’s finishing was not exactly impressive, but Gonda made several nice saves and helped his side hold on to a tenuous one-goal lead.

Kou Itakura – 7.5

From his position at centre-back, Itakura was one of several defenders who played well, keeping Japan’s backline organized and compact.

Maya Yoshida – 8.5

The captain was a defensive stalwart against the talented Spanish front line. He won several challenges and showed his leadership from the centre of the Japanese defense.

Shogo Taniguchi – 8

Like the other centre-backs, Taniguchi’s play at the back was vital to the Japan’s victory. As Spain whipped in numerous crosses, he dominated in the air, neutralizing Alvaro Morata’s heading ability.

Yuto Nagatomo – 5

In his one half of play, Nagatomo was not impressive. He failed to contribute to the offense and was poor when closing down Spain’s players in the channel.

Junya Ito – 6.5

Ito was not in-form defensively, but he created the equalizer with his play on the wing in the second half.

Hidemasa Morita – 7

In the first half, Morita was a key reason that Spain scored just one goal. He provided a reliable presence in the midfield and did well switching the field when needed.

Ao Tanaka – 8

After a poor first half, Tanaka came alive in the second. He scored the go-ahead goal from point-blank range after Mitoma somehow managed a cross from the byline, and he contributed effectively to Japan’s low-block defense in the midfield.

Daichi Kamada – 5.5

Despite Kamada’s considerable experience, he was unable to influence the hapless Japanese attack in the first half. During the second 45, he departed as Japan switched to a one-striker, park-the-bus system

Takefusa Kubo – 5.5

Kubo was one of the few Japan players who flashed on offense in the first half. The young winger progressed the ball well at times, but Moriyasu removed him after he struggled to consistently receive possession.

Daizen Maeda – 5

During his time on the pitch, Maeda managed just 17 touches and passed at a 50% clip. He ultimately left the match without inspiring much of anything for his country.


Ritsu Doan – 8

The halftime replacement for Kubo made an instant impact for Japan. At the edge of the box, he got on the ball with space and fired a powerful shot past Unai Simon to equalize for his side.

Kaoru Mitoma – 9

As Japan’s other halftime substitute, Mitoma was simply sublime. He injected much-needed pace into Japan’s attack and completely changed the underdogs’ tactical approach. In the 51st minute, he somehow kept the ball in-bounds from the byline and fired a cross back across the face of the goal to create the game-winner.

Takuma Asano – 5

Asano replaced Maeda, but he added practically nothing to the attack.

Takehiro Tamiyasu – N/A

Wataru Endo – N/A