As their Group E campaign continues on Sunday against Costa Rica, Japan hopes to build off their stunning triumph against Germany.
Costa Rica lost 7-0 to eventual runners-up Spain in their 2022 World Cup debut on Wednesday, while Hajime Moriyasu’s squad opened with a 2-1 victory against four-time winner Germany.
Japan vs Costa Rica Group C Match Preview
In the 33rd minute, Germany was awarded a penalty kick; however, goals from Ritsu Doan and Takuma Asano helped Moriyasu’s squad come back and ultimately win.
Samurai Blue will probably advance once again. As a member of Group H in 2018, Japan came in second place, behind Belgium. Moriyasu’s squad faces a must-win situation in their last game on December 1 against Spain in the wake of Costa Rica’s thrashing.
Japan qualified for the 2022 World Cup in Asia as the runner-up in Group B, trailing behind Saudi Arabia by a single point. Four times in friendly matches, Japan has beaten Costa Rica 3-0, most recently in September of 2018.
Los Ticos won Group D for the third time in a row, finishing ahead of Uruguay, Italy, and England before advancing through Greece in the first round of the knockout round on penalties.
The Costa Rican Selection qualified for the 2022 World Cup thanks to a June victory against New Zealand in the intercontinental playoffs. On Wednesday, Spain opened their World Cup campaign 2022 with a 7-0 win against Luis Fernando Suarez’s squad.
Ferran Torres scored twice, Dani Olmo scored once, Marco Asensio scored twice, Gavi scored once, and Carlos Soler scored twice. Alvaro Morata scored once as Costa Rica battled against Luis Enrique’s team in Doha.
La Tricolor’s last group stage encounter is against Germany on December 1, but before that, they’d want to triumph in front of their home crowd by beating Japan.
Japan vs Costa Rica Group C Team News
Hiroki Sakai’s availability for Japan is in question after he was sidelined from Thursday’s training with an injury he sustained in Japan’s match against Germany.
Takehiro Tomiyasu is the obvious choice to replace Sakai in the starting lineup for Arsenal. Still, he, too, was absent from training on Thursday and will need to demonstrate his health in the coming days.
After scoring the game-winning goal off the bench in the last match against Germany, Asano is now being considered for a starting role, maybe in lieu of Daizen Maeda.
Even though Yuto Nagatomo, 36, was taken out in the second half of the team’s first competition encounter, he is well enough to play today and should start at left back. Meanwhile, there were no reports of severe injuries among the Costa Rican team after their loss to Spain.
Although it seems likely that Head Coach Suarez will not make any significant lineup changes in response to the defeat to La Roja, there is a chance that Kendall Waston will replace Carlos Martinez on the back line.
Some players are vying for roster slots, including Bryan Ruiz and Alvaro Zamora. Still, Joel Campbell and Anthony Contreras should start back in the last third of the field, and the manager will undoubtedly expect a vast performance improvement.
- Japan Possible Starting Lineup: Ito, Tomiyasu, Itakura, Yoshida, Gonda, Endo, Tanaka, Kamada, Kubo, Asano, Nagatomo.
- Costa Rica Possible Starting Lineup: Tejeda, Waston, Calvo, Navas, Duarte, Oviedo, Borges, Fuller, Campbell, Bennette, Contreras.
Japan vs Costa Rica Group C Prediction (2-0)
It’s tough to look beyond Japan, who played well against Germany on Wednesday. While Costa Rica will want to bounce back from their loss to Spain, we predict Japan will win their second straight in the group stage by a 2-0.