Japan are looking to continue their dream run at the 2022 FIFA World Cup by defeating the last edition’s finalists Croatia in their Round of 16 clash. See Last Word on Football’s Japan predicted lineup for their key knockout game against Croatia.
Japan Predicted Lineup vs Croatia
How Japan have Lined-up Recently
Hajime Moriyasu’s side has already exceeded all expectations at the World Cup. Going into the competition in the same group as Spain and Germany, two of the favorites to win the World Cup, not many fancied their chances of making it past the group stages. But they silenced all their doubters by beating both the major European sides to finish the group stages as Group E winners.
Japan have been fearless in their approach in the World Cup games. Despite going with a three-the-back formation against Spain, they normally play a four-man backline featuring ex-Southampton defender and their captain Maya Yoshida. Ko Itakura and Yuto Nagatomo, both boasting European football experience, have been in impressive form for the Samurai Blue.
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Moriyasu mostly likes a lone striker with two wingers and an attacking midfielder behind. Japan have decent depth in options in this World Cup, but the likes of Daichi Kamada, Takefusa Kubo and Daizen Maeda have featured heavily in the World Cup. The Samurai Blue’s impressive options from the bench, boasting impactful players like Ritsu Doan and Takuma Asano has helped them get amazing comeback wins in this World Cup.
Japan’s Recent Form and Tactics
Japan had a packed schedule in 2022 before the World Cup. They played 14 games before the competition, having a lot of match fitness and practice ahead of the competition. Out of those games, they managed to win nine games and lost three games – which involved qualifying for Qatar 2022 and also facing teams like Brazil, Ghana and the USA in preparing for the World Cup.
Samurai Blue have scripted one of the best stories of the 2022 World Cup with their heroics in the group stages. Despite being behind against formidable opposition like Spain and Germany, they showcased admirable resolve to make comebacks and defeat them both.
However, a major reason behind their impressive showing is also their defensive fortitude. They are yet to keep a clean sheet, but Japan’s sturdy and tight backline has frustrated some of the world’s best forwards. Their ability to defend deep and add more numbers through their midfielders has proven to be a great way to drain the energy out of opposition players.
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When it comes to the other end of the pitch, Japan have been extremely clinical. Their four goals so far in the competition (against Germany and Spain) have come from just seven shots on target. Their wing play has been impressive, with the wide players causing major problems for defenders with their movement and delivery. Even the overlapping wingers, like Nagatomo, have been efficient in causing chaos in the box with their crosses.
Moriyasu’s smart substitutions have been real game-changers, as he’s been perfect in introducing attacking players at the perfect time to change games at the World Cup. Japan will maintain their fearless style against Croatia and aim to cause another upset with an efficient display.
Japan Injuries to Consider
Japan will be without their defender Ko Itakura for the game after he saw his second yellow card of the World Cup in the win over Spain, which means he’s suspended for the upcoming Round of 16 clash. The good news it that Takehiro Tomiyasu has regained fitness and can replace him in the backline. Samurai Blue are also sweating on the fitness of Take Kubo, who sustained a muscle injury recently.
Japan Predicted Lineup
Shuichi Gonda, Hiroki Sakai, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Maya Yoshida, Yuto Nagatomo, Wataru Endo, Ao Tanaka, Junya Ito, Daichi Kamada, Ritsu Doan, Daizen Maida
Last Word on Football recognise Qatar’s human rights abuses and instances of corruption taking place throughout the nation and in the background of the World Cup. Learn more about some of the issues surrounding the World Cup here.