Spain's Álvaro Morata Scores in Third Straight Game for Halftime Lead Over Japan


Three games and three goals for Álvaro Morata.

The Spain forward became the second player at the 2022 FIFA World Cup to find the back of the net in all three of his team’s group stage games, scoring an early goal in a crucial matchup against Japan.

César Azpilicueta played a ball from just outside the box over the top to Morata, whose header bounced past Japan’s keeper Shuichi Gonda to give Spain a 1-0 lead in the 11th minute.

Morata joined the Netherlands’ Cody Gakpo, who has also scored in all three games to remain atop the Golden Boot leaderboard.

The winner of the Group E matchup between Spain and Japan will secure a spot in the round of 16. Both teams could also advance with a draw and a Germany win over Costa Rica, provided they have the advantage in the goal differential tiebreaker.

Each team got early help from Germany after Serge Gnabry scored on a header in the 10th minute for a 1-0 lead over Costa Rica.

Spain and Germany are now in position to advance should their leads hold.

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