Marco Asensio scored an extra-time winner to give Spain a 1-0 win against Japan at the Miyagi Stadium in Rifu on Tuesday.
Spain, who were on the brink of elimination against Ivory Coast in the quarterfinal before a last-gasp equaliser took the game to extra time and dominated possession but struggled to break a disciplined Japan backline down before Asensio’s effort booked them a place in the gold medal match where they will take on Brazil.
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Hosts Japan, the only team with a perfect record in the group stage, showed impressive organisation and looked dangerous on the break.
Spain thought they had been awarded a penalty after referee Kevin Ortega pointed to the sport following Maya Yoshida’s tackle on Mikel Merino. However, following a VAR review, Ortega overturned his original decision.
Japan’s Kubo had a close-range effort stopped by Spain goalkeeper Unai Simon, while Mikel Oyarzabal was guilty of wasting a number of chances at the other end.
Spain will face Brazil, who overcame Mexico in a penalty shootout, in the gold medal match on Saturday at International Stadium in Yokohama.