Japan vs Costa Rica - World Cup: Team news, lineups & prediction

Japan vs Costa Rica Match preview

Match preview

When they take on Costa Rica in their next Group E match on Sunday, Japan will be looking to build on their incredible victory over Germany.

On Wednesday, Hajime Moriyasu's team defeated four-time world champions Germany 2-1 to kick off the 2022 World Cup, while Costa Rica lost their opening match 7-0 to Spain.

Ilkay Gundogan's penalty kick gave Germany the lead against Japan on Wednesday in the 33rd minute. However, two substitutes helped Moriyasu's team come back, with Ritsu Doan tying the game in the 75th and Takuma Asano scoring the game-winning goal in the 83rd.

As they have in the past when it comes to moving past the group stage, Samurai Blue have now put themselves in a strong position to advance to the next stage of the competition.

In fact, Japan has made it to the round of 16 three times before, most recently in 2018, when they placed second in Group H before falling to Belgium in the opening round.

There is no way to understate the significance of this game, especially considering that Moriyasu's team will enter it fresh off a humiliating loss to Spain on December 1.

Japan qualified for the 2022 World Cup finals by placing second in Group B with 22 points after 10 games. This put them one point behind Saudi Arabia in the Asian qualification group.

Japan has defeated Costa Rica five times in international football matches, all of which were non-competitive affairs. Of those five meetings, Japan has won four times, including a 3-0 victory in September 2018.

For the third time in a row, Los Ticos are participating in the World Cup finals. Incredibly, they made it all the way to the quarterfinals of the 2014 tournament after winning Group D over Uruguay, Italy, and England and defeating Greece on penalties in the opening round.

The Netherlands eliminated Costa Rica from the competition in the round of 8, but it was a brilliant performance from the Selection, who had defeated New Zealand in the intercontinental playoffs back in June to guarantee their participation in the competition in 2022.

The last squad to qualify for the World Cup, Luis Fernando Suarez's team, lost to Spain 7-0 in the opening match of the tournament on Wednesday.

In Doha, La Roja defeated Costa Rica with goals from Ferran Torres twice, Dani Olmo, Marco Asensio, Gavi, Carlos Soler, and Alvaro Morata all finding the net for La Roja.

On December 1, La Tricolor will play Germany in their final sectional match. It is unlikely that La Tricolor will stand out in this group, but they will be determined to give their fans something to cheer about against Japan.

Japan team news

Hiroki Sakai missed training on Thursday owing to the injury he sustained against Germany, making him questionable for Japan.

Sakai's natural replacement would be Takehiro Tomiyasu, but the Arsenal defender will need to demonstrate his fitness over the course of the next few days as he was also absent from practise on Thursday.

Asano could replace Daizen Maeda in the starting lineup for this game after coming off the bench to score the game-winning goal against Germany.

Yuto Nagatomo, 36, is healthy enough to start this game and should line up at left-back once more. He was also replaced in the second half of the team's first tournament game.

Costa Rica team news

In the meantime, Costa Rica has not reported any injuries from their loss to Spain.

Although head coach Suarez is likely to resist the urge to make changes to his lineup following the defeat to La Roja, there might be a change at the back, with Kendall Waston perhaps replacing Carlos Martinez.

However, Joel Campbell should once more be joined by Anthony Contreras in the final third of the field, and there is no doubt that the manager will be looking for a significantly improved performance in this match. Bryan Ruiz and Alvaro Zamora are among those vying for spots in the side.

Japan possible starting lineup

Gonda; Tomiyasu, Itakura, Yoshida, Nagatomo; Endo, Tanaka; Ito, Kamada, Kubo; Asano

Costa Rica possible starting lineup

Navas; Waston, Calvo, Duarte, Oviedo; Tejeda, Borges; Bennette, Fuller; Campbell, Contreras

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