Regarded by many as the dark horses for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Japan certainly delivered on their pre-tournament hype, rallying from a goal down to stun four-time champions Germany and recording one of the most memorable result in their nation’s footballing history.
With Samurai blue currently boasting several players operating at a good level in Europe. The squad, on paper, is as good as it has ever been in terms of technical qualities, speed, and improved physicality and tactical understanding.
In short, Hajime Moriyasu’s side have the makings of a side that can go toe-to-toe against superior opponents and make a deep run in the tournament. The 2-1 giant-killing of the mighty Germans means the Japanese have put themselves in with a great chance
In stark contrast to their counterparts, Costa Rica have had a nightmare start to their World Cup campaign.
They were humiliated 7-0 by Spain in their opening game in what was a hapless, gutless display devoid of grit or desire. While they still have a chance to progress to the next round, given their inferior quality, they will essentially be playing for pride.
They will need to step up massively to give Japan a run for their money and provide their fans something to cheer about.
While they never really stood a chance of qualifying through a group coined as the “Group of Death”, which consists of powerhouses as Germany and Spain, they certainly would have planned to put up a stronger fight given the defensive resilience they have showcased pior to the battering at the hands of Spain.
This is a do-or-die match for El Ticos. A loss against Japan, and Eduardo Berizzo’s men will be booking an early flight home from Qatar.
Japan XI (4-2-3-1): Gonda; Yamane, Itakura, Yoshida, Nagatomo; Endo, Morita; Soma, Kamada, Doan; Ueda
Costa Rica XI (4-2-2-2): Navas; Waston, Calvo, Duarte, Oviedo; Fuller, Tejeda, Borges, Torres; Campbell, Contreras
Japan will face historic tournament juggernaut’s Spain in their final Group E game, meaning they will be eager to get a positive result from the Costa Rica game to confirm their ticket for the next round. In worse case scenario, even a draw would put them in a strong position for qualification into the knockout rounds.
As for Costa Rica, they will round off their World Cup group stage against Germany, who are also on the brink of an early exit.
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