The Europeans lock horns against the Asian side in an exciting round of 16 fixture

Japan are a team to be feared of at the moment, after they topped the group of death in this year’s World Cup. Amazing performances by the Japanese against tough teams like Spain and Germany, saw them finish the group with six points and make their way into the round of 16. The thing that has been the most impressive about the Samurai Blue, is their attitude and their passion. In both their wins, they made an incredible comeback after conceding first.

The Croatians on the other hand, cannot be counted out under any circumstances. The Vatreni didn’t play their best football against the Belgians, and were lucky to not concede.

Croatia are still unbeaten in the World Cup and have been at times pretty impressive with their attacking prowess. Though their performances have been a little inconsistent and they have looked defensively shaky at times, Zlatko Dalic’s men will surely give Japan a run for their money in their upcoming clash.

Kick-off: 8.30 pm (IST), 2 am (GMT)

Japan form (all competition): D-L-W-L-W

Croatia form (all competition): W-W-D-W-D

Players to Watch


Ritsu Doan

The Freiburg midfielder has been pretty impressive and crucial against both Japan and Germany and played a major role in his country’s triumph. He has scored 2 goals in this competition so far, and has been one of the best performers for Japan in this World Cup. Apart from his goals, his passing and prowess in the midfield, further benefits the team.


Mateo Kovacic

With exceptional ball control and topmost playmaking abilities, its fair to say that Kovacic is a beast in the midfield. His inert presence in both the attacking and defensive halves of the game, is something Croatia use to their advantage. Against Japan as well, his contribution is going to significant, as Japan often leave spaces in their defensive line and with Kovacic’s abilities, Croatia can look to exploit the Japanese.

Injury and team news

Japan’s midfielder Ko Itakura saw his second yellow of the tournament against Spain and would be suspended for this game. Takefusa Kubo is a doubt for the game, due to a muscle injury. Japan have a task on their hands to find suitable replacements for these players to make them put forward their best possible team against Croatia.

Croatia on the other hand have all their players available for the game, but Dalic might make a few changes to the team that played against Belgium because of his team’s poor performance.

Head-to-Head stats

Matches: 3

Japan: 1

Draws: 1


Predicted lineup

Japan predicted XI (3-4-3): Gonda, Tomiyasu, Yoshida, Taniguchi, Ito, Morita, Tanaka, Doan, Asana, Maeda, Kamada

Croatia predicted XI (4-3-3): Livakovic, Juranovic, Lovren, Gvardiol, Sosa, Modric, Brazovic, Kovacic, Pasalic, Kramaric, Perisic


We can all expect a cracking and a high scoring contest, as both teams are attacking strong and will look to outscore the others. The game will be decided in the midfield, as the team that wins the midfield battle over the other, will definitely have an upper hand over the other.

Croatia are going to create a lot of pressure on the Japanese and get a number of chances, but the Japanese are going edge a win against the Croatians. Their extreme pace and high intensity gameplay is going to hel them oversee this Croatian side.

Prediction: Croatia 2 – Japan 1

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