Japan will face Costa Rica on Sunday morning in the meeting between two teams that enjoyed and endured different fortunes in their World Cup openers.
Manager Hajime Moriyasu described Japan’s 2–1 win against Germany as “a historic moment, a historic win”. Costa Rica’s match with Spain will also warrant a place in the history books – but for all the wrong reasons.
The 7-0 defeat of Luis Fernando Suarez’s team was without a doubt the country’s heaviest World Cup defeat. Worse still, it was the first time a country had gone an entire game without a single shot – on target or otherwise – since Costa Rica itself was guilty of the same toothless act against Brazil in 1990 (according to opt).
Here’s everything you need to know about the upcoming clash between these contrasting nations.
Japan vs Costa Rica H2H Results (All Time)
Current form (last five games)
Japanese team news
Japan ended the game with a totally different system and personnel compared to the one that went 1-0 to Germany at half time. Moriyasu finished the game with two wingers at wingback and a front-three behind just two central midfielders – one of them scoring.
Japan is unlikely to go all-out against Costa Rica from the start, but Moriyasu could be tempted to stick with the back three, who dealt with the threat of wide overload from Germany after the break.
Japan from 11 (3-4-3): gondola; Itakura, Yoshida, Tomiyasu; Sakai, Endo, Tanaka, Nagatomo; J Ito, Asano, Kamada.
Bank: Kawashima Schmidt, Hito, Taniguchi, Yamane, Morita, Shibasaki, Minamino, Maeda, Soma, Kubo, Doan, Machino, Ueda, Mitoma.
Costa Rica team news
Suarez is expected to have a full roster at his disposal. But how many of the starting eleven that sent Spain to death by a thousand paces (1,045 to be exact) will keep their places remains to be seen.
Costa Rica from 11 (5-4-1): Navas; Fuller, Duarte, Waston, Calvo, Oviedo; Campbell, Tejeda, Aguilera, Zamora; Contras.
Bank: Alvarado, Sequeira, Chacon, Vargas, Matarrita, Lopez, Salas, Wilson, Torres, Bennette, Borges, Ruiz, Hernandez, Venegas, Martinez.
Spain’s win was so all-encompassingly demoralizing that Costa Rica’s coach Suarez feared further fallout. “Psychologically, I’m really afraid we can’t recover from this,” he admitted.
Of the ten previous teams that conceded at least seven goals in a World Cup match, eight lost their next match. But while there is precedent for a miraculous turnaround, Japan should have more than enough to exacerbate the woes of fragile Costa Rica.
Prediction: Japan 2-0 Costa Rica
Harry Symeou presents Scott Saunders, Grizz Khan and Jack Gallagher to look back at France ’98 as part of the ‘Our World Cup’ series. We’re taking a trip down memory lane – join us!
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