Japan vs Spain Match Analysis & Prediction
01/12/2022 10:00 pm
Group E leaders Spain will go head to head with second-placed Japan in a fascinating 2022 World Cup tie at the Khalifa International Stadium on Thursday.
Both nations failed to claim maximum points in their last group matches, with La Roja playing out a draw with Germany while the Samurai Blue suffered defeat to Costa Rica.
After securing a surprise 2-1 comeback victory over Germany in their opening Group E match, many tipped Japan to come away with all three points from Sunday’s encounter with Costa Rica.
However, they were narrowly beaten 1-0 by their Central American counterparts, with Keysher Fuller scoring the decisive goal nine minutes from time to blow Group E wide open ahead of the final round of fixtures.
A victory against 2010 world champions Spain will see Hajime Moriyasu’s side qualify for the last 16, while a draw could be enough to edge them through if Costa Rica fail to beat Germany or if the latter fail to win by two or more goals, but a defeat against La Roja would knock them out of the tournament.
Meanwhile, Spain missed the chance to secure their place in the last 16 over the weekend after they were pegged back by a much-improved Germany side to draw 1-1 in Al Khor.
While recent media reports are suggesting head coach Luis Enrique is set to step down at the end of the World Cup and return to club management, he is focused fully on his current job and his Spain side need just a draw against Japan to reach the knockout rounds for the fifth time in the last six finals.
La Roja will be confident of returning to winning ways on Thursday as they have never lost in five previous World Cup meetings against Asian opposition in 90 minutes.
Japan vs. Spain Head to head
These two nations have previously met on just one occasion in a friendly back in 2001, where Spain claimed a 1-0 victory.
Japan Team News
Japan defenders Hiroki Sakai and Takehiro Tomiyasu are both doubtful with hamstring injuries, while midfielder Wataru Endo could also miss out due to a knee problem.
Captain Maya Yoshida is set to earn his 125th international cap, and is set to be joined in the back four by Yuto Nagatomo, Ko Itakura and Miki Yamane.
Japan's Last 5 Matches
27/11/2022Japan0Costa Rica1World Cup
Spain Team News
Eighteen-year-old Spain midfielder Gavi has been absent from training due to a minor injury and he is a doubt for Thursday’s contest, while captain Sergio Busquets is set to be rested.
That could leave two midfield spots open, with Marcos Llorente, Carlos Soler and Koke all hoping to start their first game in Qatar.
Spain's Last 5 Matches
23/11/2022Spain7Costa Rica0World Cup
Japan vs. Spain: Odds and Predictions
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