In the match of the round of sixteen, the opponent of Asian giant Japan is last time’s runner-up Croatia. The Blue Samurai are dreaming of playing in the quarters for the first time in their football history. On the other hand, Zlatko Dalich’s disciples are planning to kill Japan with Madrich-Karmarich. The match will start at 9 pm on Monday (December 05) at the Al Janub Stadium.
Croatia is ahead on paper but the reality is different here too. The two teams have met three times so far. Equilibrium prevails with one win, one loss, and one draw. If you think about it another way, Japan is ahead by the thinnest margin after showing one surprise after another in this epic World Cup. The team that spread the beacon of discipline valiantly made it to the last sixteen, but the Croats had to dig and burn a lot of wood.
Despite the presence of superpowers like Spain, Germany, and Costa Rica, did anyone think that Japan would play knockout in Group E? But at the end of the day, that’s what happened. In that race, they beat the two champions Germany and Spain.
However, the history of another party will be enriched by the farewell of one party today. Croatia, however, can take courage from the World Cup. Although the two teams could not be separated in the face-to-face match, Croatia never lost to Japan in the World Cup. The Croats left the field with full points thanks to the goal of the top scorer in their history in the 1998 tournament, Devor Sukar. And eight years later the match ended goallessly. Both were group-stage matches.
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Everyone will look to Luka Modric to see Croatia take another step forward. The 37-year-old Real Madrid star was named the best player at the previous World Cup. He also won the man of the match award twice in Qatar. Josip Uranovic also has full confidence in the captain. “Modric is going to set an example for young players,” the Croatian defender said at the press conference. Seeing him run and give his all on the field gives extra energy to the rest of the body. We are looking forward to playing (against Japan).”
Croat coach Zlatko Dalic is looking at a tough fight today. Said, “(In the group stage match) after Spain scored the first goal, I thought Japan was finished. But they did not give up. The elimination of Germany, Belgium, and Denmark proves that every team is strong.
Japan coach Hajime Moriyasu, however, is not floating in the current. In his voice, he assured everyone on the team to take the Croat challenge calmly. If there is a draw this time, the match will go to extra time or even a tiebreaker. We have to be prepared for everything.
The two teams have met three times so far. Where both won 1 match each. However, on the world stage, the Croatians have won twice.