2022 FIFA World Cup
Monday 5th December 2022
Kick off at 3pm GMT
Venue: Al Janoub Stadium
With a group featuring both Spain and Germany very few would have predicted Japan qualifying from it but they have and what’s more they did it by winning the group! The nation beat Germany 2-1 after trailing in that game with just 15 minutes left. However in their next match reality seemed to have settled in as they were beaten 1-0 by Costa Rica a side who would end up conceding 11 goals against Spain and Germany. However in their final group game the Japanese then stunned Spain by also coming back like they did against Germany and won 2-1. Their winning goal was controversial as the cross for the goal looked like the ball was out of play something that long standing fans still believe is the case but FIFA and VAR technology say otherwise and Japan will now face Croatia. What they have done is upset the apple cart and with them qualifying it means that four time World Cup winners Germany were eliminated at the group stage.
Croatia have had their sceptics because despite reaching the final of the last World Cup some of their key players are ageing but it is clear that they remain a very decent side. The nations opening game finished 0-0 against Morocco which turned out to be an impressive result given how strong Morocco have been so far and the African side ended up winning their group. This result was followed up by a 4-1 demolishing of Canada although Croatia had been stunned as early as the 2nd minute as they went behind, but their class told in the end. Croatia’s final group game finished 0-0 against group favourites Belgium and that was enough to ensure their qualification as they kept the Belgians at bay.
Japan: Ko Itakura is suspended after picking up two yellow cards, Takefusa Kabo is a major doubt with a muscle injury.
Croatia: The nation have no injury concerns but Luka Modric and Dejan Lovren are on yellow cards and would miss any potential quarter final match if they were to be booked in this game.
Japan vs Croatia Head to Head:
The nations have only played each other 3 times and it is one win each and one draw.
Japan’s win came back in 1997 which was the first time they had played Croatia in a thrilling 4-3 victory.
The teams have played each other twice at the World Cup and Japan are yet to win after a 1-0 loss in 1998 and a 0-0 draw in 2006.
Japan vs Croatia Prediction:
A close game comes to mind when thinking of this clash and the teams do not really have a history of playing one another. Croatia are a dangerous side who can play games like chess and wait for their moment. Their huge quality is that they never seem to panic even when going a goal down. Croatia come here with tons of experience and that is why they will start as the favourites to advance to the quarter finals.
With Japan they have had lady luck on their side but they are a battling team also. They will not mind conceding possession and indeed on average they have only had the ball for 34% during their three games. But what they can do so well is counter attack and attack fast, this could well be a game that is won in the midfield and we also expect a flurry of cards as the game becomes more intense as it goes on. There is a brilliant feel good factor with Japan and they may just be able to cause an upset here. Croatia have the better players though and Japan's style of play could suit them, which is why we will back Croatia to advance.
Japan vs Croatia Betting Tips:
To qualify: Croatia at 1.57
Anytime goalscorer: Andrej Kramaric at 3.00
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