Germany were sent packing from Qatar after Japan’s shock triumph against Spain The goal meant Japan beat Spain – and sent Germany out of the tournament. © Robert Cianflone / Getty Images

Japan’s stunning FIFA World Cup win against Spain has been overshadowed by a furious debate as to whether Ao Tanaka’s second-half strike should have stood, with the ball appearing to cross the goal line in the build-up.

The Asian nation confirmed themselves as unlikely winners of Group E on a night of intense drama in Qatar in which they scored a win against former World Cup winners Spain.

The result consigned four-time winners Germany to their second World Cup group-stage exit in succession, despite Hansi Flick’s team powering past Costa Rica at the Al Bayt Stadium.

Group E’s conclusion, though, did not come without drama.

Tanaka’s winner was subject to a lengthy VAR check to determine if the ball had crossed the goal line prior to it being cut back across the box by Kaoru Mitoma – with a forensic review of the footage suggesting that the ball had remained fractionally in play.

The small margins, and the gigantic implications which came with it, has incited a wide array of reaction, with some praising the technology for identifying something that the referee missed and others bemoaning the interjection as overly-officious and as being outside the spirit of the game.

Close examinations of the footage do appear to show that the ball was in play throughout and that the goal is as legitimate as any other – but that hasn’t stopped some fans from voice their objections online.

“It’s in,” argued one fan online.

“People really do not understand perspective and angles do they. Look at it top down. That’s how they determine over the goal line. Same thing. It’s marginally in. The bottom of the ball isn’t touching the line but the edge of the ball is within the width of the line.”

Another wasn’t quite so sure. (RT)