Best Moments From Day 12 of FIFA World Cup




 

Best Moments From Day 12 of FIFA World Cup originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The second-to-last day of FIFA World Cup group stage play saw four more teams lock down spots in the round of 16.

Morocco seized the top spot in Group F with a 2-1 victory over Canada, while 2018 runner-up Croatia successfully protected its qualification spot in the group thanks to a 0-0 draw against Belgium.

For the second consecutive day, the 2 p.m. ET window of games featured thrilling finishes. Germany scored three late goals to overcome a 2-1 deficit for a 4-2 win over Costa Rica. But the comeback victory wasn't enough to push the 2014 champs through due to Japan's 2-1 upset of Spain.

The stunning result catapulted Japan over Spain for the top spot in Group E and dropped La Roja into a tie with DFB-Team for second. But Spain comfortably won the tiebreaker over Germany thanks to a plus-five advantage in goal differential.

That's right, Belgium and Germany are both going home early.

Following another dramatic slate of Matchday 3 games, Belgium, Germany and Costa Rica have been eliminated, while Morocco, Croatia, Japan and Spain are moving on.

Here is a list of the countries eliminated from the 2022 World Cup

Here were the top moments from Thursday's action.

Youssef En-Nesyri doubles Morocco's early lead

Morocco wasted no time at all in its efforts to qualify.

Hakim Ziyech opened the scoring in the fourth minute and Youssef En-Nesyri doubled the Atlas Lions' lead in the 23rd minute. En-Nesyri beat out two Canadian players for the ball and powered a blistering shot past Canada's goalkeeper.

That provided to be the deciding goal, as Canada got on the scoreboard in the 40th minute thanks to an own goal.

Japan scores second goal in three minutes on incredible team effort

When you consider the significance and the entire sequence, there may not have been a better goal so far at the 2022 World Cup than this one.

Japan entered halftime facing a 1-0 deficit against Spain, putting them in third place in the live Group E standings with Germany simultaneously leading Costa Rica. But that quickly changed after the break.

Ritsu Doan leveled the match in the 48th minute and the Samurai Blue grabbed the lead just minutes later off an incredible team goal.

After Doan fired a shot that missed the target wide, Kaoru Mitoma just barely prevented the ball from going over the end line with a sliding effort. Not only did Mitoma keep the ball in play, but he knocked it right to Ao Tanaka for the deciding 51st-minute goal.

What a save. What a moment.

Sorry, Richarlison and Luis Chavez, but that might end up being the Goal of the World Cup.

Kai Havertz's second goal puts Germany back on top

Kai Havertz scored two goals against Costa Rica … in 23 minutes of playing time.

Havertz was subbed into a 1-1 game in the 67th minute and Costa Rica grabbed a 2-1 lead in the 70th minute. But then, it was Havertz time.

The Chelsea forward tied the game back up in the 73rd minute before putting Germany back on top in the 85th minute. On the second goal, Havertz capitalized on a perfect cross from Serge Gnabry.

Havertz's super sub heroics were enough to earn him Player of the Match honors (which he seemed unsurprisingly not so thrilled about) but it wasn't enough to prevent Germany from crashing out of the group stage in a second straight World Cup.

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