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LIVE BLOG: Fifa World Cup, Day 16 – Can Japan reach quarter-finals for the first time?

LIVE BLOG: Fifa World Cup, Day 16 - Can Japan reach quarter-finals for the first time?

Welcome to day 16 of the Qatar World Cup. IOL Sport will bring you all the live updates from the biggest sports event on the planet!

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NEXT UP: Japan v Croatia

After finishing top in a group featuring former World Cup winners Spain and Germany, Asian giants Japan will be confident of advancing to the quarter-finals of the competition when they take on Croatia on Monday.

Japan (3-4-3): Shuichi Gonda; Takehiro Tomiyasu, Maya Yoshida (capt), Shogo Taniguchi; Junya Ito, Wataru Endo, Hidemasa Morita, Yuto Nagatomo; Ritsu Doan, Daichi Kamada, Daizen Maeda

Croatia (4-3-3): Dominik Livakovic; Josip Juranovic, Dejan Lovren, Josko Gvardiol, Borna Barisic; Mateo Kovacic, Luka Modric, Marcelo Brozovic; Ivan Perisic, Andrej Kramaric, Bruno Petkovic

📋 Here's how #JPN and #HRV are looking this evening!#FIFAWorldCup | #Qatar2022

— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) December 5, 2022

Two Asian nations are in action in World Cup games today as Japan take on Costa Rica while five-time World Champions Brazil take on South Korea.

There have been a few upsets in this World Cup and while many will expect Croatia and Brazil to advance to the last 16, it would be disastrous for them to take their opponents for granted.

Japan vs Croatia

This promises to be a competitive team. Japan have proved that they do not fear any team, by recording impressive group stage wins over Germany and Spain. Croatia, who lack pace in their game, could find life difficult against Hajime Moriyasu’s fast team.

At the same time, Japan cannot afford lapses of concentration, as happened to them during their 1-0 group stage defeat to Costa Rica, or Luka Modric and company will punish them.

Key Players

Japan: Wataru Endo, Ritsu Doan, Daichi Kamada

Head To Head

The teams have played three times before, with Japan winning once, Croatia winning once and the other game ending in a draw. The teams drew during the 2006 World Cup group stage.

Brazil vs South Korea

South Korea have surpassed expectations at this World Cup by reaching the last 16 and not many will give them hope against tournament favourites Brazil. The five-time champions though have shown that they are not invincible as they fell to a 1-0 defeat to Cameroon in their final group stage game.

South Korea also showed that they play without fear, by recording an impressive 2-1 win over Portugal in their last group stage game. If Brazil are to win this game, they must ensure that they keep South Korea’s star attacker Son Heung-Min in check.

Key Players:

Brazil: Alisson, Neymar, Thiago Silva

South Korea: Hwang Hee Chan, Son Heung Min, Cho Gue-sung

In the news coming in overnight, England's Raheem Sterling, who was missing from the squad for Sunday's 3-0 World Cup win over Senegal, will head back to Britain on Monday to be with his family, coach Gareth Southgate said, as local media reported a break-in at his home.

Southgate: “Sterling is flying back to England. He needs time with his family to deal with it and I don't want to put him under any pressure to deal with it”. 🚨🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 #Qatar2022
“Will Sterling return? I don’t know. The priority for him at the moment is to be with his family”. pic.twitter.com/UBLgAuWa1T

— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) December 4, 2022

IOL Sport

Original Article