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Japan’s win over Spain eliminates Germany from the World Cup

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(Last Updated On: December 2, 2022)

Germany isn’t advancing to the knockout rounds for a second consecutive World Cup after Japan hung on for a 2-1 win over Spain.

Germany beat Costa Rica 4-2 on Thursday afternoon but Japan’s win over the Spaniards at the same time meant Japan won Group E with its victories over Germany and Spain while Spain advanced to the knockout rounds in second via goal difference.

Spain built itself a massive goal differential cushion in its first game of the World Cup in a 7-0 win over Costa Rica. That win meant Germany basically had to replicate that effort with a Japan win to have any tiebreaker edge over Spain.

Germany won the 2014 World Cup in a thrilling final over Argentina. But the Germans finished last in their group in 2018 behind Sweden, Mexico and South Korea to become the third consecutive defending World Cup champion to fail to make it out of the group stage. France broke that streak in 2022 by winning Group D.

How Japan beat Spain

The Spaniards took an early 1-0 lead thanks to an Alvaro Morata goal but Japan scored two goals in the first seven minutes of the second half.

The goals came less than four minutes apart. Ritsu Doan scored to tie the game in the 48th minute and then Ao Tanaka scored a controversial goal to give Japan the lead.

The game-winner was initially not given as it appeared the ball went out of play near the Spain goal. But a video review determined that the ball stayed in bounds. In soccer, the entire circumference of the ball has to cross the entirety of the out of bounds line for the ball to be out of play.

There might have been some daylight between the bottom of the ball and the line too.

The win means that Japan will take on Croatia in the Round of 16 after Croatia tied Belgium on Thursday morning. It’s the second consecutive knockout round appearance for the Japanese and they have made the Round of 16 in four of their last six World Cup appearances.

Is Spain’s World Cup path now easier?

Spain probably isn’t too unhappy about finishing second in the group. Yeah, winning the group is nice, but instead of facing a Croatia squad that made the 2018 World Cup final, Spain now plays Morocco to start the knockout rounds.

The loss also means that Spain likely avoids a potential matchup with Brazil in the quarterfinals and is out of the same side of the bracket as both Brazil and Argentina. Portugal would be Spain’s likely quarterfinal opponent instead and Spain is now on England’s side of the bracket.

Costa Rica gave us a few moments of chaos

There was a brief stretch in the second half of both games that had both Spain and Germany provisionally out of the World Cup.

The only way Japan and Costa Rica both advanced out of Group E was if they both won. And Costa Rica took a 2-1 lead over Germany in the 70th minute after Manuel Neuer couldn’t corral the ball after a free kick.

That lead came as Japan was ahead of Spain. But it didn’t last very long. Kai Havertz scored in the 73rd minute to tie the game for Germany and then gave the Germans the lead in the 85th minute.

Had Spain tied Japan in the second half, Germany would have gone through to the knockout rounds thanks to having a better goal difference than the Japanese. Japan beat Germany 2-1 and lost 1-0 to Costa Rica while Germany tied Spain 1-1.

What’s next for Germany?

The German National Team entered this World Cup without many of the stalwarts that powered them to the 2014 win and were a part of the team that crashed out of the 2018 World Cup. While Neuer and Thomas Muller were the notable holdovers, players like Leroy Sane, Serge Gnabry, Jamal Musiala and others got a shot at this World Cup.

And while Germany has a wealth of attacking options, it’s even more clear that it’s in need of a stronger defense. The Germans gave up five goals across three games. The back four was a question entering the tournament and it’s even more of one now. Finding the next era of top-level defenders is a must before the 2026 World Cup.

Where to watch

Afghan fans need not miss out on any of the excitement of this year’s tournament which is being broadcast live and exclusively by Ariana Television in Afghanistan.

For the full broadcast schedule CLICK HERE

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ILT20: Sharjah Warriors match against Dubai Capitals rained out

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(Last Updated On: January 27, 2023)

Rain forced the Sharjah Warriors vs Dubai Capitals to match in the ongoing ILT20 to be called off after five overs of play at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium, in the UAE on Thursday night.

Dubai Capitals were 17 for 4 in five overs when heavy downpour ended the 17th match of the ILT20. As a result, both teams shared one point each.

Sharjah Warriors had won the toss and elected to bowl after a delayed start due to rain. The match started at 7.15pm (UAE time) as a 19 over contest after an hour and 15 minutes of delay from the scheduled start.

Sharjah’s medium pacer Naveen-ul-Haq, fresh from this five-wicket haul in the last match against Gulf Giants, bowled a tight first over giving away just one run.

UAE’s Junaid Siddiqui struck in the second over, bowling out opener Hazratullah Zazai for 1 with the fifth ball and trapping Bhanuka Rajapaksa leg before with the next delivery. When Naveen also had opener Daniel Lawrence play into the hands of Joe Denly at mid-off, Dubai Capitals were tottering at 8 for 3.

The mantle of lifting the team out of trouble fell on skipper Rovman Powell and Dasun Shanaka. Powell hit the first boundary of the innings steering Naveen past point.

Junaid bowled a brilliant fourth over giving away just four runs while Naveen struck again in the fifth over to force Shanaka to edge to wicketkeeper Rahmanullah Gurbaz for 2. At 17 for 4 in five overs, rain returned and forced the umpires to call off the match.

Sharjah Warriors will remain in fourth position with five points from six matches while Dubai Capitals are at the fifth spot with five points from six matches due to a lesser run-run rate.

“The feeling in the camp is pretty good. The guys are still upbeat about their chances in our next game. It’s just unfortunate that the weather took precedence today. But such is the nature of the sport we play,” said Dubai Capitals captain Rovman Powell after the match was called off.

“We had a super start. But you can’t control the weather. Unfortunately, the rain got the better of us. We can take a lot from how we started. Junaid and Naveen were absolutely fantastic with the new ball today,” said Sharjah Warriors’ Joe Denly.

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Desert Vipers secure 7 wicket win against MI Emirates

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(Last Updated On: January 25, 2023)

Alex Hales and Sherfane Rutherford’s sparkling unbeaten half centuries and skipper Colin Munro’s cameo knock carried Desert Vipers past MI Emirates in the 15th match of the DP World ILT20 at the Zayed Cricket Stadium on Tuesday night. 

Desert Vipers, through a fine display of intelligent bowling, had also restricted MI Emirates to 169 for 5 despite half centuries from Kieron Pollard and Nicholas Pooran.

Hales hit an unbeaten 62 runs off 44 balls with six boundaries and two sixes while Sherfane Rutherford scored a breezy unbeaten 56 off 29 balls with four boundaries and three sixes to put on an unbeaten 94 off 52 balls for the fourth wicket. 

Desert Vipers’ skipper Colin Munro set the momentum through a fine knock of 41 runs off 22 balls with four boundaries and three sixes. 

Speaking about their performance Desert Vipers’ Sherfane Rutherford said: “I want to keep things simple and just watch the ball. I was just trying to react to the ball. The key was just to use the pace and that worked for me.”

Meanwhile, MI Emirates’ Trent Boult said: “It becomes easier to bat on in the second innings here. I thought they played extremely well. They timed their innings quite nicely. That’s a luxury when you’re chasing 170.”

 

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Rashid Khan takes 500 wickets in T20 cricket

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(Last Updated On: January 24, 2023)

Rashid Khan has completed 500 wickets in T20 cricket – only the second bowler after Dwayne Bravo to reach this landmark.

Bravo has taken 614 wickets at an average of 24.13 in 556 matches.

On the other hand, Rashid completed his 500-wicket mark in 371 games. He took the scalps at an average of 18.10 and an economy of 6.30.

Afghanistan ace spinner has 4 five-wicket hauls and 9 four-wicket hauls in his career.

He is currently leading MI Cape Town in the ongoing SA20 league. He took three wickets against the Pretoria Capitals to enter the record books.

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