Japan added its name to the list of impressive upsets at the World Cup when they defeated four-time winners Germany 2-1, a day after Saudi Arabia’s surprise win over Argentina.
Spain warned of their qualification by beating Costa Rica 7-0, 2018 finalists Croatia were beaten 0-0 by Morocco and Belgium also got off to a stuttering start as they overtook Canada 1-0.
There was good news for England, however, as skipper Harry Kane appears fit for Friday’s Group B game against USA after training with the rest of the squad.
Here, the PA news agency takes a look at the main talking points on day four of the tournament.
Japan coach Hajime Moriyasu described his side’s 2-1 win over Germany in their Group E opener as the best result in Japanese football history.
Germany took a wide second-half lead with Ilkay Gündogan’s 33rd-minute penalty, but late goals from Japanese substitutes Ritsu Doan and Takuma Asano, who play for Freiburg and Bochum respectively in Germany, caused a big upset.
Asked if he thought it was the greatest result in the history of Japanese football, Moriyasu told a press conference: “Yes, I think it’s a historic moment, a historic victory to say the least.”
Spain celebrated their biggest World Cup win ever when they defeated Costa Rica 7-0 in their Group E opener.
The competition was over in 31 minutes as Dani Olmo, Marco Asensio and Ferran Torres penalized Spain 3-0 before Torres scored his second and Gavi and substitutes Carlos Soler and Alvaro Morato completed the defeat.
Spain have eclipsed their biggest World Cup win to date, raising expectations that the 2010 champions will once again be able to compete for the top prize.
Belgium’s high-quality line-up, which should be high in the tournament, struggled in the opening game of Group F against Canada when Michy Batshuayi’s lone goal just before half-time secured a narrow win.
Canada missed a first-half penalty – Alphonso Davies’ feeble attempt was saved – had controversially rejected two other appeals and had 22 shots on target at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium.
Croatia’s bid to repeat their World Cup successes of four years ago also began faltering with a frustrating Group F draw against Morocco.
Harry Kane gave England a huge boost by training with the rest of the squad on Wednesday in preparation for Friday’s Group B clash with the United States.
Kane’s fitness was in doubt after picking up an ankle injury in Monday’s 6-2 win over Iran, but the England skipper, who is pending an examination, appears fit and is expected to return to training on Thursday.
Harry Maguire also trained on Wednesday after feeling unwell against Iran, but James Maddison was absent again as he recovers from a knee injury.
Germany will not face disciplinary action from FIFA for covering their mouth during a team photo ahead of the game against Japan, according to the PA news agency.
Tensions between the seven European nations backing the OneLove campaign and FIFA continued to simmer, while the Football Association declined to comment on whether the England team would copy the German gesture ahead of their game against the United States.
The FA, along with their Danish and German counterparts, are examining their legal options in the matter after FIFA threatened to issue yellow cards to captains who had planned to wear the OneLove armband during matches in a bid to acknowledge diversity and inclusion support financially.
Group G: Switzerland – Cameroon (1000, ITV1)Group H: Uruguay – Korea (1300, BBC1)Group H: Portugal – Ghana (1600, ITV1)Group G: Brazil – Serbia (1900, BBC1)