Japan v Costa Rica
After Japan’s victory over Germany to open their World Cup campaign with a win against most expectations, Japan come into their second game against a Costa Rica side reeling from a thrashing against Spain in their first game and must be looking for a win to ensure passage to the knockout stages.
Japanese media is behind manager Hajime Moriyasu and his team in a big way now that they have three points in the bag, from an impressive win over a giant of the world stage. Unfortunately, raising expectations can only put pressure on the players and may work against them in the long run. But, having seen their next opposition annihilated in their opener, Japan must feel confidence and it is doubtful that they will feel the need to hide in their shell, as they did for the 1st half against Germany.
I fully expect Japan to take the game to their opponents and play a 4-2-3-1 in what could easily be an unchanged starting line-up if all players are fit. Right back Hiroki Sakai is doubtful, however, but Kawasaki Frontale’s Miki Yamane is more than capable of filling the spot. Goalkeeper Shuichi Gonda gave us a match-winning performance against Germany, despite the dodgy PK that was given against him and there is no reason to switch him, or any other starter out. Central defender, and captain, Maya Yoshida did not put a foot wrong and will be looking to lead this team to another win.
After the disaster of matchday 1 against Spain, Costa Rica will try to change their game against Japan, it was an unexpected result but it was certainly realistic because of how badly the national team is playing. There will probably be some changes in the starting lineup to try to vary the football style against the Japanese, who are a fairly fast team. Costa Rica must at least draw to stay alive in the World Cup, a result that seems impossible to achieve after the result against the Spanish. Most likely they will use a 5 defensive back line to try and vary something. A different attitude is expected and very much needed.
Kamada played in the number 10 role against Germany and put in a solid performance. He made 3 tackles in that game but his contribution against Costa Rica is more likely to be in an attacking sense.
The midfielder had 1 shot in the game against Germany. The ball was heading on target but the German defence managed to get a block in. He averages 0.9 shots on target per game in the Bundesliga this season. Costa Rica are far weaker opposition and he should find pockets of space as Central American’s attempt to contain Japan. Behind the striker is an ideal position for the player to get his shots away.
Ito is set to play as a right winger for Japan again on Monday. Junya is good with the ball at his feet and he likes to dribble past opponents. He should have some joy against Costa Rica.
Junya had a good game against Germany and managed 1 shot on target and we expect him to get a lot more shooting opportunities here. He averages 1 shot on target per 90 minutes played for Stade Reims in Ligue 1 this season. He had 3 shots on target in the only game he played for Genk this season (before making the switch to Reims).
Costa Rica racked up 12 fouls in their 7-0 defeat against Spain. And the most prolific player was Francisco Calvo who got 3 fouls and a yellow card.
Japan head into this game knowing that a win will probably be good enough to take them to the round of 16. Whereas Costa Rica simply look out of their depth at this World Cup.
Japan play a fast style of football that is likely to cut through a poor Costa Rican defense. This would leave Francisco Calvo liable to making a poor tackle or pulling a player down and getting booked.Calvo will up against Wataru Endo who had an amazing game and was fouled 4 times against Germany. Odds of 2.8 for Calvo to be booked looks good value to me.
Written by an Andy verified content writer
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