World Cup Preview: Japan vs Croatia

Japan vs Croatia Preview

Croatia have by no means misplaced within the Spherical of 16 in a males’s FIFA World Cup whereas Japan have by no means gone past this stage. Nonetheless, when these two meet on Monday on the Al Janoub Stadium, the historic information gained’t imply a factor, and in all candour, fearless Japanese can be a reason behind grave concern for Zlatko Dalić’s Croatia. 

Hajime Moriyasu’s extremely daring Japan have been the story of the event. By beating the 2014 and 2010 males’s World Cup winners to complete on high of Group E, booting out Germany within the course of, they’ve achieved the unthinkable. 

Though the Samurai Blue unexpectedly misplaced 1-0 to Costa Rica on matchday 2, principally they’ve been a meticulous, fantastically well-organised, and hard-working unit on this marketing campaign. 

They’ve adopted the template of defending with a mid-block, staying compact and slim, normally enjoying on the counter, and selectively however vigorously squeezing their opponents – particularly within the second half whereas chasing the sport – by urgent excessive and laborious. 

For instance, let’s have a look at the sport towards Spain: Regardless of organising for counterattacks and solely controlling a miserly share of possession (18%), Moriyasu’s crew was extremely environment friendly and completely direct when shifting ahead. Within the restricted time that they spent on the ball, they managed to raised Spain’s xG of 1 with 36.8% of their passes being progressive and ahead. 

This template has evidently completed wonders for them, and anticipate them to do extra of the identical towards a Luka Modrić-led Croatia.  

Croatia’s journey up to now, however, has not been as easy as desired. They have been surprisingly uninteresting of their draw towards Morocco and, of their last sport, in an all-hands-on-deck scenario, the Vatreni endured a rampage of Belgian incursions within the last 20 minutes of the fixture, and solely have the sloppiness of Belgium and Romelu Lukaku to thank for his or her development into the following spherical. 

The very best level of their marketing campaign was the essential 4-1 victory over Canada, the place their gameplay, orchestrated by their midfield base, had a contact of liquidity about it whereas an impressed Andrej Kramarić bagged a brace. The Croats notched up a powerful xG of two.6 and hit the goal 10 occasions. They’d love to the touch these ranges on Monday. 

Furthermore, with the know-how of dealing with event soccer of the very best diploma, an impressive fulcrum of Modrić, Mateo Kovačić, and Marcelo Brozović, and the protection of an in-form Josko Gvardiol at centre-back, Dalić’s aspect would fancy their possibilities to halt Japan’s dream run. 

Japan vs Croatia Group Information

With essentially the most tackles gained (5) and interceptions made for his crew (4), Ko Itakura has been the embodiment of Japan’s defensive protect on this marketing campaign. The absence of Borussia Monchengladbach’s defender, who has performed each minute for them until now, as a consequence of suspension can be a giant loss for Japan. 

Predicted Japan Line-up: Gonda; Tomiyasu, Yoshida, Taniguchi; Ito, Endo, Morita, Nagatomo; Doan, Maeda, Kamada.

Croatia are the happier of the 2 sides, by way of participant availability, as they’ve a full roster to pick from. 

Predicted Croatia Line-up: Livaković; Juranovic, Lovren, Gvardiol, Sosa; Modrić, Brozović, Kovačić; Kramarić, Livaja, Perišić.


A commonality of Japan’s each comeback victories was the change of their depth and method after Moriyasu’s halftime phrases., which by the way caught Germany and Spain napping and left them shell-shocked.

One other commonality of those wins was the impetus and incision supplied by the attacking, 25-year-old super-sub, Kaoru Mitoma, who has additionally lit the Premier League this season, enjoying for Brighton. Sharp and swift, Mitoma likes to dribble with swagger in huge areas. 

Performing the function of an impactful sub, he’s featured just for 106 minutes however he’s the crew’s second-highest likelihood creator (3) and the joint high assist-holder (1). 

To be the crew’s finest midfielder if you’re enjoying alongside Luka Modrić and Marcelo Brozović is not any picnic however Mateo Kovačić, on this event, has been outrightly breathtaking. 

With an amassed xA of 1.04, Kovačić is the fourth most inventive participant within the event, primarily based on this criterion. Additionally, having created essentially the most possibilities (5) and gained essentially the most tackles (6) for his crew alongside boasting a passing accuracy of 90%, it’s truthful to say that he’s not solely the game-changer but in addition the Vatreni’s prime game-maker. They are going to be trying in direction of the Chelsea man for inspiration. 

Japan vs Croatia Prediction

Whereas Croatia have actually world-class gamers of their ranks who’ve served them brilliantly previously, additionally it is true {that a} majority of their finest performers are within the latter phases of their profession. The power, the fastidiousness, and the will of Moriyasu’s Japan would possibly trump Croatia’s knowledge. 

FootTheBall predicts that Japan will keep on with their magical quantity 2-1 and attain the final eight for the primary time in a males’s FIFA World Cup.