Japan will look to book their place in the World Cup quarter-finals when they face Croatia at the Al Janoub Stadium on Monday.
Venue: Al Janoub Stadium (Al Wakrah)
Japan have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last four games, after keeping five in a row before their last four games.
Japan’s four goals so far in the World Cup came via contributions from substitutes (G3, A1).
Croatia are unbeaten in Qatar so far, conceding just once in three games (W1, D2)
They are unbeaten in their last nine games (W6, D3).
Eight of Croatia’s last 13 matches, as well as the previous three H2Hs, were goalless at the break.
World Cup trivia: Only six players have represented two different countries at a World Cup; Two of those played for Croatia in 1998.
Head to head
Croatia and Japan have met each other three times – twice at the World Cup (1998 and 2006), and once in the Kirin Japan Cup.
Japan won the first encounter 4-3 in 1997, Croatia won the second at the 1998 World Cup 1-0, and they drew 0-0 in the 2006 World Cup.
Latest performances in all competitions
Japan will look to continue their fairytale run in the World Cup when they face Croatia this Monday.
After beating Germany 2-1 in their opener, Japan also beat Spain on Thursday thanks to two early second-half goals.
They have now made it to the knockout stage for the second straight World Cup for the first time in their history and will be looking to make history by qualifying for the quarter-finals.
Speaking after the game, Japan coach Hajime Moriyasu revealed that his team have proven that they can win on the world stage.
“For Asia and for Japan, our victories over Spain and Germany, two of the top teams in the world, is something that gives us great confidence and we are very pleased,” the Japan coach said.
“Of course, there are many things we still have to learn, but Asia can win on the world stage, Japan can win on the world stage.”
After tactically outwitting both Germany and Spain despite holding less possession in both games, Moriyasu will hope that his side can find their clinical edge against a Croatian side that have shipped in just one goal in the World Cup this year.
Possible Japan starting line-up
Shuichi Gonda, Hiroki Ito, Maya Yoshida, Shogo Taniguchi, Junya Ito, Ao Tanaka, Hidemasa Morita, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Takefusa Kubo, Daizen Maeda, Daichi Kamada.
Suspended: Ko Itakura
2018 finalists Croatia have not enjoyed the most convincing World Cup so far after winning just one of their games so far.
Despite being the second-best, Croatia secured a goalless draw against Belgium on Thursday to see them qualify second from Group F with an unbeaten record (W1, D2).
Coach Zlatko Dalić admitted his side were “lucky” against Belgium as they produced a meek display, especially in the first half where, for the second time in the tournament, neither side managed a shot on target before half-time.
The result was also their second goalless draw of this edition; Croatia had only drawn a blank in two of their 13 previous World Cup matches before coming to Qatar.
But having reached the final four, in both of the previous editions in which they made it out of the groups, Croatia will feel confident of getting the needed result here. A run of nine games without defeat (W6, D3) heading into this game will also make them confident.
Possible Croatia starting line-up
Dominik Livakovic, Josip Juranovic, Dejan Lovren, Josko Gvardiol, Borna Sosa, Luka Modric, Marcelo Brozovic, Mateo Kovacic, Marko Livaja, Andrej Kramaric, Ivan Perisic.
|Odds-Japan||Odds-Croatia||% Japan||% Croatia|
|In 90 mins||4.000||2.000||23.64||47.27|
Japan 2-1 Croatia