Japan will play at home with Croatia in the 1/8 finals of the playoffs of the World Cup. The match will take place on December 5, starting at 15:00 GMT.
World Cup 2022
The Japanese national team ended up at the World Championships in the same group with Germany, Spain and Costa Rica, not being in such a company a contender for the playoffs.
In the starting round, the team met with Germany and conceded a goal in the first half. The opponent had many more scoring chances, but did not convert them, and the Japanese were able to score twice and pull out a strong-willed victory (2-1).
A victory over Costa Rica in the second round could guarantee the Japanese a place in the playoffs, but despite all efforts, they failed to open the opponent’s saturated defense.
The opponent, in turn, at the end of the meeting managed to score and win this meeting (0-1). The decisive match for the team was the match with Spain, which went according to the scenario of the game with the Germans – a goal conceded in the first half, two goals against the opponent in the second half of the meeting and a victory in the group (2-1).
The Croatian national team, unlike its rival, was considered a clear contender for the playoffs. The team fought in a group with Belgium, Morocco and Canada.
After an unconvincing duel with Morocco, where the team was passive ahead and managed to get only a draw (0-0). Croatia gave a cool match with Canada, in which they won (4-1) and seriously increased the chances of qualifying from the group.
At the same time, the fate of a ticket to the playoffs was decided precisely in the last round, where it was necessary not to lose to Belgium.
The Croatians played very carefully, creating several dangerous moments, while the opponent dominated in the second half of the meeting and missed many opportunities. As a result, a draw (0-0) with the Belgians made it possible to reach the playoffs from the second line.
Players to watch
Despite being a substitute,Ritsu Dōan sparked Japan’s comeback in both victories by scoring his first goal.
Luka Modric can score in this match and his previous three World Cup appearances have brought wins.
Head to Head
This will be the third time that both teams meet at the World Cup. In 2006, the teams were grouped into Group F and tied goalless en route to both sides’ elimination at the group stage.
Japan are seeking to qualify for the quarterfinal of the World Cup for the first time in their history.
The Croatian national team was very cautious in the group, rarely revealed themselves and made the main bet on defense.
This approach paid off, and only one missed goal and a ticket to the playoffs. In the 1/8 finals, Croatia will not deviate from its strategy.
Japan also plays closed, counting on counterattacks, and they will probably be very careful, so it’s hardly worth counting on a scoring extravaganza in such a match.
Prediction for this match: Under 2.5 goals.
- Japan win.