Japan vs Croatia Prediction and Betting Tips | December 5th 2022

Japan v Spain: Group E - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
Japan and Croatia are seeking qualification to the last eight of the World Cup

Japan and Croatia will battle for a place in the quarterfinals of the 2022 FIFA World Cup at the Al Janoub Stadium on Monday.

Japan upset the apple cart by finishing at the summit of Group E ahead of former champions Spain and Germany. The Blue Samurai booked their spot in the last 16 with a dramatic 2-1 comeback victory over Spain in their final group game to progress as group winners.

Alvaro Morata's 11th-minute header put the 2010 world champions ahead and seemingly on course for a routine win. But a resurgent start to the second half saw Hajiye Moriyasu's side score two quickfire goals in the space of three minutes to turn the group on its head.

Ritsu Doan leveled matters three minutes after coming on, while Ao Tanaka put Japan ahead in the 51st minute with a controversial goal that was initially ruled out before the intervention of the VAR.

The win saw them become only the third side in World Cup history to win two games at a single tournament in which they were losing at halftime.

Croatia, for their part, put up a dogged performance to hold a star-studded Belgium side to a goalless draw in their final group game.

The 2018 runners-up were far from convincing during the group stages but did enough to secure second spot in Group F behind surprise group winners Morocco.

Their draw against Belgium was their second of the tournament and ensured they finished the group stage with an unbeaten record, winning one and drawing two of their three games.

The winner of the game will secure progress to the quarterfinals, where either Brazil or South Korea will lie in wait.

Japan vs Croatia Head-to-Head and Key Numbers

  • This will be the third time that both sides square off at the World Cup. They were grouped together in Group F in 2006 and played out a goalless draw en route to both sides' elimination at the group stage. They also squared off in Group H in 1998 when Croatia claimed a 1-0 win before finishing in third spot in their maiden appearance at the World Cup.
  • Japan are seeking to qualify for the quarterfinal of the World Cup for the first time in their history.
  • Croatia are on a nine-game unbeaten run, having not lost an international game since their 3-0 defeat to Austria in the UEFA Nations League.
  • Japan's four goals at the 2022 FIFA World Cup have come courtesy of substitutes (three goals and one assist).
  • Croatia have made it to the semifinal on each of the previous two occasions when they progressed from the group stage.
  • Three of Croatia's last four World Cup knockout games have gone to extra time and they fell behind on each of those three occasions before eventually winning.

Japan vs Croatia Prediction

Croatia were one of the dark horses coming into Qatar but the 2018 runners-up have not set the stage alight. It could be a matter of Zlatko Dalic's side growing into the tournament, with the world's 12th highest-ranked side still possessing numerous world beaters in their ranks.

Japan have been one of the revelations of the tournament, with victories over global heavyweights Spain and Germany highlighting that the Asians are no pushovers. The Blue Samurai have perfected the art of finishing games strongly, having scored all four goals in this tournament after the break.

This trait could come in handy against a Croatian side that have perfected the art of going the distance in tournament knockout games. But history suggests that this could be a low-scoring game.

We are backing both sides to cancel each other out in regulation time, with Croatia to progress thanks to a narrow victory in extra time.

Prediction: Japan 1-1 Croatia (1-2 after extra time)

Japan vs Croatia Betting Tips

Tip 1 - Result: Draw (Croatia to win after extra time)

Tip 2 - Both teams to score

Tip 3 - Under 2.5 goals

Tip 4 - First half result: Draw

Tip 5 - Highest scoring half: Second half

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Edited by Peter P
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