Welcome to Sportstar’s live bog of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 round of 16 match between Japan and Croatia, being played at the Al Janoub Stadium in Doha, Qatar.
Crosses from the flanks are falling flat as both teams are throwing defenders in numbers to prevent a late winner in this round of 16 clash, which has already been a great contest so far.
One blue shirt behind every Croatia attacker at the moment. Moriyasu has kept his notes clearly in mind, as every long ball from the wings by the Croats in being cleared by Japan.
Four white shirts keep Livakovic armed with enough cushion as Japan’s missed passes may just return to bite them, with the match increasingly looking to end as a draw and go into the penalty shootout.
Pinball in the midfield continues between Croatia and Japan as neither side looks to give up on the World Cup dream. Last year’s runner-up vs three-time prequarterfinalist - this FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 fixture is a tale of underdogs dreaming of glory.
Save! Brozovic tries a long ball from the midfield, which Japan blocks and starts an attack on the counter, with Mitoma shooting right on target, but Livakovic saves with a good reflex save.
No real chance created by either side so far, and if it remains so, this will be the first time these two teams will have a penalty shootout for the result. Two of their previous matches have been group stage fixtures.
Double change for Croatia! In: Majer, Vlasic, Out: Modric, Kovacic
Pasalic and Tomiyasu are involved in a clash of heads the Pasalic goes down holding his head and chest. Croatia’s medical team attends to the forward, checks for concussion and eventually, the player is back on his feet.
Both the teams are playing protective football at the moment, with an attempt to find the winning goal late, something that Japan has mastered in this World Cup so far.
Kovacic is running through Japan defenders, and despite being surrounded by four blue shirts, manages to clear the ball to Modric. However, the progression of play stops after a poor pass from Gvardiol.
Croatia back to three men at the back. The intention looks clear for now - forcing extra time as Perisic’s timely goal has kept Croats into the game until the very end of regulation time. Yellow card for Matei Movacic after a flying tackle on Ito.
Change in personnel for Japan! In: Takumi Minamino, Out: Ritsu Doan
Asano tries to go for an attack along the right flank, but this time, unlike his goal against Germany, sees the ball go out of play as Croatia has its defence on high-alert at the moment.
If the match ends like this, this will be the second draw between them at the World Cup. Their last clash was in the 2006 FIFA World Cup, when their match ended as 0-0 in the group stage.
Endo tries to get the ball forward, but Inter Milan’s defensive midfielder, Brozovic stops him in his tracks and Tomiyasu tries another attack seconds later, which is easily controlled by Livakovic.
First real chance for Pasalic arrives when a cross form the right is delivered for the Croat forward, but his header is just off-target.
Croatia has looked much more attacking in the second half than it did in the first. Zlatko Dalic decides to add more firepower in attack as he replaces Andrej Kramaric with Mario Pasalic
Chance! Kramaric creates a key chance with a cross into the box, but Budumir’s header fails to trouble Gonda as Croatia fails to find the leading goal.
Double change for Japan! In: Kaoru Mitoma, Takuma Asano, Out: Yuto Nagatomo, Daizen Maeda
Endo tries to shoot from distance, is stopped in his tracks and then the ball goes to Doan, who is marked well as his final shot, lacking pace and direction, is stopped by Livakovic.
Petkovic goes down in the Japan penalty box and several Croatian players protest for a penalty, but the referee is not interested and rules for the game to go on.
Maeda tries to press the Croat defence, but Livakovic controls the ball eventually. A long ball second later from the 2018 World Cup runner up is delivered into the penalty box, but Petkovic fails to take control in front of Gonda as the blue shirts clear the ball eventually.
Shot! Moriyasu’s men start right where they began. Kamada shoots from outside the box as the ball flies over the net.
Why was the goal allowed? Read here: Why was Japan’s opening goal against Croatia in round of 16 not ruled offside?
Chance for Japan! Japan attacks on the counter with Ito carrying the ball from its half into the Croatian half, and Morita and Maeda gets the ball into the box, passes to Kamada, who shoots just over the net.
Eight white shirts stay alert for the Japanese hurricane that ushered on Germany and Spain in the group stages as the score remains locked at 0-0 so far. In both those matches as well, Japan plotted its comeback in the second half.
Japan starts another attack with Endo, Doan and Maeda combining together. Endo starts the attack, passes to Doan, who then passes to Maeda, but the forward fails to convert as Croatia, finally stops the attack.
Japan wins the ball from Croatia in front of the penalty box and starts its attack right away against the run of play - a through ball from Endo to Nagatomo, who makes a run into the left flank. But he fails to beat the Croatia right-back convincingly and ends up shooting without any force or direction. Livakovic finally gets to the ball.
Croatia finally finds its footing in the game, with four crosses, two from either flank, but none of them could actually test the keeper, who has, so far, refused to be beaten.
Gvardiol delivers a long ball and Petkovic gets to it after Japan fails to track on time. However, the 28-year-old’s poor decision-making costs Croatia a crucial goal scoring opportunity as blue shirts surround him and the attack is finally put to bed.
Japan has clearly looked the better side, so far in the match, with the 2018 FIFA World Cup runner-up failing to find spaces to exploit in the Japan half.
Japan attacks again, Ito makes a darting run along the right flank, and crosses in the cut back. But Livakovic, the Croatian goalkeeper intercepts on time to stop that attack.
Another chance for Japan! This time Japan tries to exploit the left flank. Nagatomo crosses for Maeda and somehow the Japanese is forward is beaten as a taller Croatian defence keeps the ball out.
Foul! Another long ball for Modric is received by the Real Madrid player, but a touch off his hand gives a foul in favour of Japan.
Croatia is enjoying a lot of possession at the moment, with an overall possession of 17 percent to Japan’s 29 and is looking for spaces as a well-knit Japanese defence keeps them at bay, in the final third.
Thousands of blue shirts have filled up the Al Janoub Stadium as they roar and sing Gonda’s name. The 33-year-old goalkeeper has been an absolute pillar for the Japanese, so far in the World Cup.
This is the third meeting between the two sides in the FIFA World Cup, with Japan without a goal or a win in its previous two meetings. It will be interesting to see if Moriyasu’s men can script history tonight.
Chance! Japan gets an early free kick, which Doan takes. It fails to find a target, but a touch from Croats gives them a corner kick. Japan tries a set-piece this time, with Taniguchi heading the ball just wide!
Japan defender Yuto Nagatomo has told his teammates they’ll need to show “samurai spirit” in Monday’s round-of-16 match against Croatia at the World Cup.
And they’ll need another quality that Nagatomo learned playing for almost a decade in Italy, mostly with Inter Milan.
“Coraggio,” Nagatomo said. “We need to play with courage.”
Japan is appearing in the knockout stage for the fourth time and still searching for its first win. It rallied in group play to beat both Germany and Spain — two former world champions — 2-1 but also stumbled to a 1-0 loss against Costa Rica.
Croatia, the smallest country in the final 16 with a population of only 4 million, was the runner-up four years ago against France and finished third in 1998.
Could the third time be the charm?
“Why not,” said Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic.
This is Nagatomo’s fourth World Cup, and he recalls how Japan led Belgium 2-0 in a round of 16 match four years ago in Russia, but was eliminated 3-2 on a goal scored late in second-half stoppage time.
“I have never forgotten,” Nagatomo said, before returning to the subject of Japanese samurai warriors as a metaphor for Japan’s World Cup campaign.
“They try to improve their techniques,” he said. “But if they are scared during the battle they will not be able to use their weapons and techniques fully.”
Japan coach Hajime Moriyasu said the loss to Belgium was a valuable lesson for his team.
“That experience was very precious and we can reflect on what we learned in that match with Belgium,” he said.
Dalic said his team will be well prepared; they have seen many Japan players in action in the German league.
“They will apply the samurai philosophy in their game,” he said. “We will also do our part. We know how important this match is for us. We know who the opponent is. We know their mentality. If we want to go father we must apply that same standard, that same attitude.”
Croatia advanced with 0-0 draws against Belgium and Morocco, which came either side of a 4-1 victory over Canada.
Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric, the world player of the year in 2018, remains the heartbeat of a team whose experienced midfield is typically a match for any opponent but which still lacks a prolific scorer up front.
Each game the 37-year-old Modric plays from now on could be his last at a World Cup.
The winner Monday faces either five-time champion Brazil or South Korea in the quarterfinals.
When and where to watch
When will the Japan vs Croatia Round of 16 match kick-off?
The Japan vs Croatia Round of 16 match will kick-off at 12:30AM IST, December 6.
Where will the Japan vs Croatia Round of 16 match kick-off?
The Japan vs Croatia Round of 16 match will kick-off at Stadium 974.
Where can you watch the Japan vs Croatia Round of 16 match in India?
The Japan vs Croatia Round of 16 match will be telecasted live on Sports18 and Sports18 HD. On Android and well as iOS, the 2022 FIFA World Cup will be live streamed on JioCinema.
Where can you watch the Japan vs Croatia Round of 16 match outside India?
Argentina – Live Stream: Telemundo
United States – TV: FOX, Telemundo; Live Stream: fuboTV, Fox Sports app, Telemundo Deportes En Vivo
Canada – TV: CTV, TSN; Live Stream: fuboTV, TSN app
United Kingdom – TV: BBC One; Live Stream: BBC iPlayer, BBC Sport Website
Australia – TV: SBS; Live Stream: SBS On Demand
New Zealand – TV: Sky Sports; Live Stream: Sky Sport
Malaysia – TV: RTM, Astro; Live Stream: Astro Go
Singapore – TV: Mediacorp Channel 5; Live Stream: StarHub TV+, IPTV, Singtel TV
Hong Kong – TV: BeIN Sports, ITV; Live Stream: Now TV, ViuTV
Nigeria – SuperSport and Showmax Pro.
Get all the results for the FIFA World Cup 2022 here: Full list of all matches, scores, results, goalscorers
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