Japan vs Croatia
FIFA World Cup
Date: Monday, 05 December 2022
Kick-off at 16:00 UK / 17:00 CET
Venue: Al Janoub Stadium.
Giant-killers When Japan takes on 2018 champions Croatia in the round of 16 on Monday, they will be attempting to extend their incredible run at the Qatar 2022 World Cup.
Japan has never made it past this stage of the FIFA World Cup, whereas Croatia has never lost in the last 16.
But when they square off against one another in the Round of 16 match on Monday at Al-Janoub Stadium, the past won’t really matter.
The World Cup has been a breath of new air for Japan, who are one of the tournament’s dark horses and come into this game full of confidence.
Japan stunned the tournament’s established favorites Spain and Germany by being placed in the supposedly “group of death” along with them.
Japan breezed through the group, took first place, and defeated both countries along the way.
With a loss to inferior Costa Rica sandwiched between two enormous annihilations by Germany and Spain, they put on the most bizarre group stage performance of any country at the World Cup.
They struggled mightily in the first halves, desperately fighting for their lives and staying in the games, before turning into a world-beating side in the second.
For the third straight competition, they have guaranteed their place in the round of 16.
However, their history books have not yet been written on what came next.
These players will be ready to do the same in order to be the first to do so and have their names recorded in history.
However, an experienced Croatian team that just has a knack for winning knockout games and going far in this competition stands in their way.
Even though this is only the third time the Croats have advanced to the round of 16, they did so in 1998 and 2018, where they finished as runners-up.
With a stunning comeback, they defeated Canada 4-1 to eliminate the Maple Leafs from the World Cup.
Despite being down early, the World Cup runners-up of 2018 put on a much more professional performance, and they followed it up with another tenacious performance to send Belgium home, though they occasionally rode their luck in that one.
Looking back, it turns out that resounding draw against a determined Moroccan team that completely destroyed Canada and Belgium was a good point earned.
Even so, they fell short of expectations during the group stages, but they managed to perform well enough to earn the second place.
Ahead of this vital match at Al-Janoub Stadium, we will examine both teams here at The Hard Tackle.
Japan vs Croatia Head to head :
- Both teams last played against each other in the 2006 World Cup. The game ended in a goalless draw at that time.
- Croatia are unbeaten in their last nine contests.
- This will be the third time both teams will be playing against each other.
- Croatia won by 1-0 when these two sides clashed back in 1998.
Japan vs Croatia Prediction :
Croatia’s midfield trio excels at ball retention and recovery, displaying outstanding technical ability.
They will undoubtedly have a ton of control and possession during this game, but Japan has already proven they can handle it.
They only had the ball for 17% and 26% of the times in their two triumphs over Spain and Germany, respectively, but they still managed to score four goals.
It is reasonable to anticipate another Germany- or Spain-like performance from Japan.
As they push more bodies forward, expect them to generate a few attacking opportunities and score a goal in this game.
They are skilled at lightning-fast counterattacks and have a large number of players ready and willing to contribute.
Examples of fresh players who will be itching to make an impact off the bench include former Liverpool great Takumi Minamino, who has only played 23 minutes, and Arsenal defender Tomiyasu.
However, Croatia has not been able to score in two of its three group games, indicating that creating a strong offensive formula was not on their list of priorities for this tournament.
As a result, the Hard Tackle forecasts a close 2-1 victory for the Japanese over the Croats to advance.
Japan vs Croatia Team News :
Ko Itakura, a defender for Japan, received his second yellow card of the World Cup in the victory against Spain.
As a result, he will be suspended for the match in the round of 16, thus Takehiro Tomiyasu, who also did well off the bench in midweek, should step in to fill in.
Wataru Endo, a midfielder for Stuttgart, overcame a fitness worry to enter that game as a substitute.
Right-back Hiroki Sakai has also returned to training, while Takefusa Kubo is once again questionable because of muscular soreness.
The Japan manager is experiencing the best type of selection difficulty in the final third, as Doan has undoubtedly done enough to replace the injured Kubo but Mitoma’s efforts might not be sufficient to defeat Daichi Kamada.
Borna Sosa of Stuttgart is battling a fever, so Dalic is doubtful if he will be able to play for Croatia.
Additionally, fellow defender Josip Stanisic is expected to miss the game due to a muscular issue.
Dalic should otherwise have no restrictions on his options, but if the seasoned duo of Luka Modric and Dejan Lovren receive a booking now, they will miss any potential quarterfinal.
Dalic is planning to remain with his tried-and-true 4-3-3 system, so neither player will lose their spot in the starting lineup here, although there may be room for a change or two in the final third.
In the scoreless draw with Belgium, Andrej Kramaric and Marko Livaja both fell short of expectations.
However, Dalic has plenty of options up front with Bruno Petkovic, Mislav Orsic, Nikola Vlasic, and Mario Pasalic all competing for playing time.
Japan possible starting lineup:
Gonda; Tomiyasu, Taniguchi, Yoshida; Ito; Morita, Tanaka, Nagatomo; Doan, Maeda, Kamada
Croatia possible starting lineup:
Livakovic; Juranovic, Lovren, Gvardiol, Barisic; Kovacic, Brozovic, Modric; Kramaric, Livaja, Perisic