02:00 PM IST: Welcome to the live blog of the FIFA World Cup 2022 group stage match between Japan vs Costa Rica.
Japan and Costa Rica have been sailing on very different boats so far in the tournament. On their opening matchday, Costa Rica suffered a humiliating 0-7 loss to Spain, while Japan beat Germany. As things stand, Japan are in the driving seat and will hope to nail Costa Rica down and make a strong case for FIFA World Cup 2022 knockouts.
The Samurai Blue showed great grit and determination after going down against Germany in the first half to make an exhilarating comeback in the second half. They are a real threat to any team because of their great character. Even though Costa Rica have come from humiliation, they can certainly turn things around.
Japan form (all comps): L-W-D-L-W
Costa Rica form (all comps): W-W-D-W-L
Players to Watch
In Japan’s historic win over Germany, Wataru Endo was the team’s midfield engine. In his first game, Endo made seven recoveries and won nine ground duels in the middle and helped Japan neutralize Germany’s attack. If he repeats his form, qualifying for next may not be a problem for Japan.
Keylor Navas had a terrible outing against Spain. Although it wasn’t only Navas who contributed to their horror show. Costa Rica are on the verge of knockout, and Navas must step up and lead from the front as he did at the 2014 FIFA World Cup. In this World Cup, Navas has a lot to prove, and the match against Japan could be the start of his redemption.
Injuries & Team News
Injuries had been a major concern for Japan before the tournament began, and after the first match, the misery seems to be piling up. After picking up a knock against Germany, Hiroki Sakai is doubtful for the match. Reports suggest that Arsenal star Takehiro Tomiyasu is also yet to prove his match fitness.
As for Costa Rica, they don’t have any injuries concerns from their camp. Keylor Navas’s fitness was a question before the tournament started, but he is now 100 percent fit.
Head to Head stats
The Japanese dominate Costa in their head-to-head contests. Both teams have only met twice in their history, and Japan has won both.
Played – 2
Japan – 2
Drawn – 0
Costa Rica – 0