Costa Rica defeated Japan 1-0 to keep their World Cup qualification hopes alive, Al Jazeera reported.

Right-back Keysher Fuller's goal in the 81st minute gave Luis Fernando Suarez's team the victory after playing most of the game on the back foot.

As a result of Fuller's late score, the game suddenly picked up.

Consequently, Group E is now very open. Amazingly, Costa Rica, who lost their first match to Spain, is still in the running to advance to the next stage.

Japan's place in the round of 16 would have been guaranteed with a victory on Sunday, Nov. 27, but in order to maintain their chances of qualifying, they must now defeat Spain in their final match.

Five changes were made to the Japanese team which shocked Germany in their opening match.

Japan promptly launched an attack at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium and earned a corner within 30 seconds to declare their intentions.

Coach Luis Fernando Suarez of Costa Rica had avoided making significant adjustments to the team that had been humiliated by Spain, benching defender Carlos Martinez and young winger Jewison Bennette.

Four players from the 2014 World Cup quarterfinals were included in an aged starting lineup, including 34-year-old center-back Kendall Waston and Gerson Torres.

"Los Ticos" enjoyed greater possession of the ball as the first half came to a conclusion, but neither team managed to get off a shot on goal.

Moriyasu made a double change at the break, one of them the introduction of Takuma Asano, who scored the winner against the Germans.

The Blue Samurai were immediately more cutting and midfielder Hidemasa Morita drew the first proper save of the match within seconds of the restart with a powerful strike.

Just after the hour, Moriyasu substituted Brighton striker Kaoru Mitoma for a defender as Japan sought to win.

As the game entered its last 20 minutes, Japan was dominating.

A yellow card was issued to Costa Rican defender Francisco Calvo for deliberately pulling back substitute Junya Ito as he appeared to have wriggled free and was closing in on goal.

When Fuller's shot took a deflection and looped in with nine minutes remaining in the game, Costa Rica grabbed the victory after doing nothing as an attacking force for the majority of the contest.

Qatar World Cup Team Loss Rep. Pic
Representation image. Edoardo Busti/Unsplash.

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