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Miracle in Doha: Japan celebrates superb World Cup progress | News Qatar 2022 World Cup

Miracle in Doha: Japan celebrates superb World Cup progress | News Qatar 2022 World Cup

Elation in Japan as the team stuns Spain, topping a tough group of football powerhouses.

Japan erupted in cheers and tears after the national team’s 2-1 win over Spain, with crowds filled with public spectators in the chill of dawn screaming with delight as they stunned another powerhouse football world during the World Cup.

Japan, who also shocked Germany in their opener in Qatar, finished top of Group E to reach the round of 16, a stage where they had already failed three times.

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

“Doha delights again!” one newspaper headlined its online edition, evoking memories of what the media called the “Doha miracle” after Japan’s victory 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.

Fans inside Khalifa International Stadium [AP Photo]

“I never thought that Japan would win first place in the group. Thank you Japan! Love you!” said Yusei Sato, 19, wearing the Japanese national team’s Samurai Blue jersey.

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

“I’m so happy,” he said. “Honestly, I never thought Japan would do this so well. I’m really thrilled.

Fans lingering in Shibuya pressed high-fives on bloodied commuters heading to work from one of Tokyo’s busiest stations.

“I thought this match would be a bit difficult,” said Munehiro Hashimoto, 36, wearing a Japan jersey, with blue and silver garlands around his shoulders.

He had spared no effort with his outfit, capping it with an improvised blue samurai helmet that had the inscriptions “must win” and “samourai spirit” on each side.

“It started at four in the morning (in Japan), so I was watching it at home. Then they won, so I rushed here. We did it!”

Social media exploded with joy, with some fans posting manga-style drawings of a cheering player in a team uniform.

Another posted a cartoon of three dragons draped in national flags. The Japanese dragon roared while the Spanish dragon looked at Germany, who looked confused.

The sense of triumph even reached Japan’s normally established political highs, with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida telling reporters the victory was “historic” and phoning Japanese coach Hajime Moriyasu and Japan Football Association president Kozo Tashima to congratulate them.

Japan’s Ritsu Doan celebrates his first goal with Kaoru Mitoma[DylanMartinez/Reuters[[DylanMartinez/Reuters[[DylanMartinez/Reuters[[DylanMartinez/Reuters[

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