The fifth match of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Round of 16 will be between Japan and Croatia. In a group that included Spain, Japan came out on top – beating the two biggest teams in the tournament, Germany and Spain. Croatia went goalless against Belgium and Morocco which helped them a lot when they beat Canada 4-1.
Meanwhile, Japan is dreaming of a run at FIFA 2022. The giant killers have defeated Germany, who eventually knocked the four-time world champions out of the World Cup. The Samurai Blue also beat Spain, moving them into second place in the group. On the other hand, Croatia is undefeated since the start of this tournament.
Japan won by one loss despite never having defeated a former world champion. This time they defeated two world champions in three days. So, in their most successful World Cup campaign in history, Japan will have no confidence. Japan’s outstanding defensive efforts contributed to Spain’s victory, and similar tactics could be used against Croatia. In this game, they can take advantage of the limited opportunities they create, but this may require extra time and even penalties.
Interestingly, the defensive system also worked for Zlatko Dalić’s team. This draw after 90 minutes looks like a real advantage as Croatia may be struggling for Japan to score in this game. The 2018 runners-up are unbeaten in their last nine games, winning six and drawing three times. The last time they lost in a match was in June when Austria beat them 3-0.
Face to face
The head-to-head story between these two teams is very interesting. Japan and Croatia won the match after the match ended in a draw.
Luka Modric and Ivan Perisic are still Croatia’s leading players. Japanese striker Ritsu Doan may get his chance as Ko Itakura will be suspended from the game for receiving a second yellow car
Date, time and place
The Japan vs Croatia match will be played on December 5 at 8:30 pm (India time) at Al Janoub Stadium, Al-Wakrah.
The Japan vs Croatia match will be telecast live on Sports18 and Sports18 HD TV channels in India and both the Jio Cinema app and website will offer free live streaming of the event.