Japan vs Croatia: Match Preview
Japan vs Croatia Zlatko Dalic insists discipline will be vital if Croatia is to beat Japan and reach the World Cup quarter-finals.
Croatia will face Japan in the last 16 on Monday after finishing ahead of Morocco in Group F.
Japan was the surprise winner in Group E in Qatar, following a 1-0 loss to Costa Rica with 2-1 victories over both Germany and Spain.
Runners-up to France in 2018, Croatia have lost just two of their eight knockout stage games at the World Cup (W4 D2), while Japan has never progressed past the last 16.
Hajime Moriasu’s side has shown their quality against the top sides, however, and Dalak knows his side must stay in the regiment if they are to avoid an upset.
“At some point, when Costa Rica was leading against Germany, Spain was out of the tournament, so they couldn’t allow themselves to lose. Japan deserved to win.”
Japan vs Croatia “Before the group stage, some would have said Japan if we could choose an opponent in the next round, but after beating Germany and Spain, they are an easy opponent.
“If you are first in a group with Germany and Spain, it shows your quality and that you are playing at a really high level. What I will say about the Japanese team is that they never give up. He conceded early goals against Germany and Spain but bounced back.
“They had a lot of confidence, and that’s a great quality of the Japanese national team. It’s going to be key for us to be disciplined and patient as well. We can’t make mistakes because Japan has those mistakes. “There’s quality to punishing. If we lose the ball, we have to be good at bouncing back.”
Japan vs Croatia could progress from a group that included Belgium and Canada but failed to score in their two matches – one in just two of 13 matches at the tournament in the combined 2006, 2014, and 2018 editions. What was the blank draw?
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The Dalek side wanted to control the occupation, but it could fall into the hands of Japan. They averaged just 32.3% of the ball in their three group-stage games. In fact, their two wins against Spain and Germany came with 17.7% and 26.1% possession respectively, while the one match they lost was against Costa Rica when they had more of the ball (56.8%).
Three of Japan’s four goals have been scored by substitutes. Ritsu Doan netted two of those for Samurai Blue.
Japan vs Croatia Only three players have scored at least three goals as a substitute in a single World Cup – Andre Schurrle in 2014 (three), Roger Milla in 1990 (four), and Laszlo Kiss in 1982 (three).
Mateo Kovacic, Marcelo Brozovic, and Luka Modric man the midfield for Croatia, but their attack is not world-class.
That being said, in Ivan Perisic they have a wide player capable of being a goalscorer. The 33-year-old has scored nine goals in major tournaments, a joint record for Croatia with Devor Soccer.
Perisic has also scored seven goals at a Euro or World Cup, a record for Croatia, and no Croatian player has ever scored more than five goals in Qatar.
Japan vs Croatia Prediction
Japan vs Croatia, This will be the third World Cup meeting between Japan and Croatia, with Japan having won the previous two without a goal – a 1-0 defeat in 1998 and a goalless draw in 2006, both groups. In phase.
Opta’s model says the odds are against Japan, who are given a 26 percent chance of making the last eight. Croatia is the favorite (46.1%).
Don’t be surprised to see it go to extra time, though – the draw is rated at a 27.9% chance.