Croatia vs. Japan, the round of 16 of the 2022 World Cup, match preview

Croatia vs. Japan, the round of 16 of the 2022 World Cup, match preview

Croatia vs. Japan: Japan has already startled Germany and Spain with their spectacular World Cup raids, but on Tuesday, they face a Croatian team who may be too streetwise for a mugging.

Croatia performed what they needed to do to go through their group, only displaying any symptoms of fear in their last game against a helpless Belgium. Croatia has not shown the quality that propelled them to the final in 2018, but they did what they needed to do.

Ivan Perini, Dejan Lovren, and squad captain Luka Modri, who together make up the team’s elite but aging core, declare that they have no fear of anybody and have done their research on the Samurai Blue.

Hajime Moriyasu, the Japan coach, may need to develop a fresh tactical strategy for the match at Al Janoub Stadium after using the same strategy for their first three games.

While it was a success against Spain and Germany, inviting opponents onto them for 45 minutes before transitioning to a more attacking shape and attempting to score goals on the break failed Japan in their defeat to lowly Costa Rica.

Instead of becoming irritated as Spain and Germany did, Croatia has patience and will cheerfully pass the ball around in front of Japan’s defense while it looks for holes.

Japan vs. Spain in Group E of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 at the Khalifa International Stadium.

When Moriyasu eventually exposes his hand with the transition to a back three and the entrance of quick forwards like Kaoru Mitoma and Ritsu Dan, they undoubtedly also possess the technical know-how to make modifications independently.

Players who came off the bench have scored three of Japan’s four goals in the World Cup, while Mitoma, a substitute, provided the assist on the fourth.

When comparing his soldiers to baseball players, Moriyasu said they all had different duties, such as “starters, relievers, and closers.” Kou Itakura’s second caution against Spain will force the Japanese coach to make at least one defensive change, while Hiroki Sakai and Takehiro Tomiyasu might miss the game with injuries.

Out of their five previous appearances at the World Cup finals, Croatia, which combined two 0-0 draws with a 4-1 hammering of Canada in the group stage, has twice advanced to the round of 16. They won both of those contests, making it as far as the 1998 semifinals before falling to France in 2014 final in Russia. That’s a respectable record for a nation that didn’t play in international competitions again until the early 1990s.

When questioned about Croatia’s winning attitude, midfielder Lovro Majer said it was both intrinsic and a result of veteran players like Modric, 37, who brought years of experience to the group.

Luka Modric, the captain of Croatia, continues to defy time and aging with his subtle displays. AFP/OZAN KOSE
On Saturday, Majer stated, “We have a winning mindset. “I believe we have a great blend of older players who have accomplished great things in their careers and younger players with fresh vitality,” said the coach.

On the other hand, Japan has participated in three last-16 matches in their five prior championships, all of which they have lost.

However, for them, 2022 has already been different. Japan has never before defeated a World Cup winner. They’ve already defeated two this time. After those historic victories, Samurai Blue is confident and won’t hold back as they attempt to add more history for their nation in Qatar.