Japan has been to the World Cup seven times, and despite reaching the last 16 on three occasions, Japan has yet to get past the stage of the tournament. In 2018 they made it to the knockout stage but lost 3-2 to a much-experienced Belgium side.
Now for the 3rd time in their history at the World Cup, Japan has a chance to make it to the quarter-finals for the first time. In the matchup against Croatia on Monday, Japan is in perfect form, coming off a historic run out of Group E. If you want to know about Argentina vs Australia Match In FIFA World Cup 2022, click here.
The Underdog On Top
Coming into the Qatar World Cup 2022, Japan seemed to be between a rock and a hard place. Drawn up with former world champions in Spain and Germany, they had very slim chances of advancing to the next round. They, however, pulled off one of the biggest shocks in World Cup history in their opener in Qatar, coming from behind to shock Germany.
Manchester City’s Gundogan gave the Germans the lead before halftime when he converted a penalty kick. However, Japan turned things around in the second half, scoring twice to win their first three points. Losing their second game to Costa Rica made them seem vulnerable, but the Hajime Moriyasu’s men produced yet another upset against Spain and replaced them on top of Group E.
In this particular game, the script was similar to their stunner against Germany; being down at halftime, the Japanese came back in style in the second half, winning the game 2-1. Having beaten both favorites, Japan now proceeds to the last 16, two points ahead of number 2, Spain.
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Matched Up Against Croatia
In Russia 2018, Japan had an impressive run; at the Group stages, they edged Senegal on a goal difference after finishing second behind Colombia. They were, however, eliminated in a 3-2 thriller against Belgium.
Having finished top of Group E, Japan is now matched up against Group F’s runners-up, Croatia. The European side has been on good form since their historic run at the 2018 World Cup, where they lost to defending champions France in the finals. Even though Croatia has won only one game in Qatar, they displayed classing in the 4-1 trashing of Canada.
Led by Real Madrid’s flamboyant midfielder Luka Modric, the Croatian side is looking to repeat and probably correct their 2018 run to the finals. On the other hand, one could argue that Japan’s most challenging task is currently behind them after they overcame both Spain and Germany. As a result, the resilient Asian side will be looking to make it past the last 16 for the first time in their World Cup history.
Which two sides will succeed in their bid for World Cup history?