Japan deserves much more analysis and seriousness after their expectations defying performance in the group stage. The Blue Samurai defeated not one but two powerhouses who initially were expected to make it to the last 16. Japan’s next opponent Croatia is going to take the Asian side as anything but lightly after seeing what surely is the greatest World Cup campaign in history.
On the other hand, Croatia may be one of the most stubborn teams in the world cup when it comes to refusing quick knockouts and not just in the world cup but in any other major international tournaments. They remained undefeated in the group which had the likes of Belgium and Morocco, another surprise of this world cup.
Nothing is black and white in predicting the world cup knockouts and this fixture arguably is the epitome of that. It’s hard for any bookmakers to say Japan has had enough of their World Cup journey for 2022 while the Checkered ones simply have too much quality to go home this early.
Japan vs Croatia Lineups
Japan will be without Monchengladbach defensive midfielder Kou Itakura. The 25-year-old picked up the second yellow card of the tournament against Spain and by default is suspended for the match against Croatia. Arsenal center-back Takehiro Tomiyasu is unpreventable to oversee the backline on his unavailability. Stuttgart midfielder Wataru Endo deleted his injury concern when he came off the bench against Spain last Friday so he might also make some form of appearance in the match with Croatia. The same is the case with Urawa Red Diamonds right back Hiroki Sakai. Real Sociedad winger Takefusa Kubo is the latest concern of ambiguity due to muscular discomfort. Some growing confusion is brewing in the front because lately, every substitute has worked brilliantly in those areas. Freiburg winger Ritsu Doan – being one such example as well as Kaoru Mitoma and Takumo Asano.
With respect to Croatia, coach Zlatko Dalic has himself confirmed that there are no injury concerns in his team. However, two veterans, Luka Modric and Dejan Lovren might miss any potential quarterfinals if they managed to get yellow against Japan. Also considering the team’s previous attacking lineups consisting of Andrej Kramaric and Marko Livaja didn’t work that effectively against Belgium, coach Dalic might do some changes here. He additionally has plenty of options regarding this in the likes of Bruno Petkovic, Mislav Orsic, Nikola Vlasic, and Mario Pasalic.
Japan vs Croatia Predictions
In terms of conceding goals, Croatia has a better record than Japan. The Baltic nation has only allowed one goal so far in the tournament versus Japan’s three in three matches. Kockasti proved they are still dangerous in the attack when they thrashed Canada 4-1 in the group stage. The East Europeans are rammed up with world-class talents. Most of all, in recent years, their reputation as one of the favorites has only increased with their historic 2018 World Cup run all the way to the finale and their recent next-level formidability against top-tier fellow European competitors.
A ridiculous possession by Croatia should be natural which has organically happened to the teams that have faced Japan in this tournament. However, the catch with teams like Croatia, or perhaps only with Croatia is that they may not be pushing Japan too much in the low block. While the Asian sides have been depending on their luck in the possession of the opponents, we are seeing that it will run out against the Croats. Also, the 2018 finalists have never lost in the round of 16. By comparison, Japan has never made it past this stage in their world cup history; the Asian sides have failed in all three attempts prior to this one.
The majority of betting picks say Croatia is the one who is going to edge out Japan in this one. We expect an unsurprising low-scoring game with Croatia netting a winning goal in the second half. Though it’s very much possible they aren’t going to get out of this match unscathed either.
Projected Scoreline: Croatia 2-1 Japan
Japan vs Croatia Recent Odds
to score Y / N
|+100 / -145||1.93 / 1.69||1/1, 8/11||1/1, 3/4|
|Over / Under|
|+125 / -175||2.24 / 1.58||5/4, 4/7||13/10, 4/7|
Japan vs Croatia Previous Stats Of Each Team
|3||Shots on target||5|
|1||Big chances missed||2|
|0||Big chances missed||1|
|4||Shots on target||3|
|0||Big chances missed||5|