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LIVE BLOG: Fifa World Cup, Day 8 – Costa Rica beat Japan to throw Group E wide open

LIVE BLOG: Fifa World Cup, Day 8 - Costa Rica beat Japan to throw Group E wide open

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Next up … Belgium take on Morcocco and here’s the team news

Belgium coach Roberto Martinez made three changes to his side for Sunday's World Cup game against Morocco, knowing victory would secure a last-16 place.

The Red Devils rode their luck in a 1-0 opening win over Canada and Martinez reacted by replacing Youri Tielemans in midfield with Everton's Amadou Onana.

Thomas Meunier takes the place of Leander Dendoncker at the back, with in-form Leicester defender Wout Faes again left out.

Thorgan Hazard gets his first start of the tournament at wing-back.

Morocco boss Walid Regragui named an unchanged XI after an impressive performance in their 0-0 draw with 2018 World Cup runners-up Croatia.

Canada take on Croatia in the day's other Group F match later.

Starting line-ups:

Belgium (3-4-3)

Thibaut Courtois; Thomas Meunier, Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen; Thorgan Hazard, Amadou Onana, Axel Witsel, Timothy Castagne; Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard (capt), Michy Batshuayi

Coach: Roberto Martinez (ESP)

Morocco (4-3-3)

Yassine Bounou; Achraf Hakimi, Nayef Aguerd, Romain Saiss (capt), Noussair Mazraoui; Sofyan Amrabat, Azzedine Ounahi, Selim Amallah; Hakim Ziyech, Sofiane Boufal, Youssef En-Nesyri

Coach: Walid Regragui (MAR)

Referee: Cesar Arturo Ramos (MEX)

FULLTIME – Japan 0-1 Costa Rica

Keysher Fuller was the hero for Costa Rica scoring the only goal of the game. Japan had a frustrating second half, who came in to game with confidence after their shock win over Germany. Kaylor Navas made a tremendous save late in the first half to preserve Costa Rica’s lead as they held on for an important win. This result now through’s the group wide open.

Passion with a capital 🅿️#FIFAWorldCup | #Qatar2022 pic.twitter.com/YLTgupyKqI

— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) November 27, 2022

HALFTIME – Japan 0-0 Costa Rica

There was no late drama in the game between Japan and Costa Rica. Neither side troubled their opposing goalkeeper in the first half. Japan though will be looking for that win to all but secure their progression to the knockout rounds.

TEAM NEWS FOR JAPAN V COSTA RICA:

Japan made five changes from their team that beat Germany in their World Cup opener as they face Costa Rica on Sunday.

Attackers Ritsu Doan, who came on and scored against Germany, Yuki Soma and Ayase Ueda come into the starting line-up as Japan look to take a big step towards the knockout round.

Right-back Miki Yamane replaces the injured Hiroki Sakai, while fit-again midfielder Hidemasa Morita comes in for Ao Tanaka.

Costa Rica make only two changes to the team that started the campaign with a 7-0 drubbing at the hands of Spain in Group E.

Teenage winger Jewison Bennette and defender Carlos Martinez drop to the bench, with Gerson Torres and Kendall Waston replacing them.

Starting line-ups:

Japan (4-2-3-1)

Shuichi Gonda; Miki Yamane, Kou Itakura, Maya Yoshida (capt), Yuto Nagatomo; Wataru Endo, Hidemasa Morita; Ritsu Doan, Daichi Kamada, Yuki Soma; Ayase Ueda

Coach: Hajime Moriyasu

Costa Rica (5-3-2)

Keylor Navas; Keysher Fuller, Oscar Duarte, Francisco Calvo, Bryan Oviedo, Kendall Waston; Celso Borges, Yeltsin Tejeda, Gerson Torres; Anthony Contreras, Joel Campbell

Coach: Luis Fernando Suarez (COL)

Referee: Michael Oliver (ENG)

Japan vs Costa Rica

Japan can virtually book themselves a place in the last 16 should they defeat Costa Rica. The Samurai Blue produced one of the tournament’s great shocks in their opening game by defeating Germany 2-1. That result will give them the confidence that they need to feel that they can win this game.

Costa Rica were poor in their opening fixture, losing 7-0 against Spain. They can take inspiration from Iran who opened with a 6-2 defeat against England before bouncing back with a 2-0 win over Wales.

Players to watch

Japan: Wataru Endo (defensive midfielder), Daichi Kamada (attacking midfielder), Takuma Asano (winger).

Costa Rica: Keylor Navas (goalkeeper), Joel Campbell (winger), Bryan Oviedo (left-back).

Head To Head

The teams have met five times over the last 27-years in international friendlies. Japan have won five of the games with one ending in a draw. Costa Rica have never beaten Japan.

Belgium vs Morocco

Both teams are alive in the group. Belgium opened their campaign with a 1-0 win over Canada in what was not their best performance. Morocco started with a creditable 0-0 draw against Croatia. Belgium have a better but aging side who have not been at their best lately and so Morocco will fancy their chances of getting points in this game.

Belgium winning will virtually assure the Red Devils of qualification to the last 16. Should Morocco spring a surprise, the group will be thrown open ahead of the last round of group stage fixtures.

Players to watch

Belgium: Kevin De Bruyne (midfielder), Thibaut Courtois (goalkeeper), Axel Witsel (midfielder)

Morocco: Achraf Hakimi (right-back), Hakim Ziyech (winger), Sofyan Amrabat (midfielder)

Head To Head

The teams have met three times before with Morocco winning once and Belgium twice. The teams met once in a World Cup fixture before, back in 1994 and Belgium won 1-0.

Croatia vs Canada

Both teams will be looking for a result in this game. Canada opened their campaign with a 1-0 defeat against Belgium while Croatia would be frustrated by their 0-0 draw against Morocco.

Canada will be the underdogs but have a side that is capable of causing an upset. Croatia desperately need a win in this game to boost their chances of trying to advance beyond the group and as group stage winners.

Players to watch

Canada: Jonathan David (forward), Alphonso Davies (left-back), Junior Hoilett (winger)

Croatia: Luka Modric (midfielder), Mateo Kovacic (midfielder), Joško Gvardiol (defender)

Head To Head

The teams have never met before.

Spain vs Germany

This game is more of a crunch one for Germany than it is for Spain. After losing to Japan in their opening game, the four time World Champions need a win here to put their World Cup campaign back on track.

Should Japan beat Costa Rica and Germany lose to Spain in this game, the Germans are out of the competition.

Players to watch

Germany: Joshua Kimmich (defensive midfielder), Jamal Musiala (midfielder), Thomas Müller (forward).

Spain: Gavi (central midfielder), Pedri (central midfielder), Rodri (defensive midfielder)

Head To Head

The teams have met 25 times overall since 1935. Germany have won nine times, Spain eight with the other eight games ending in draws.

France coach Didier Deschamps insisted he was never worried his side might be the latest defending champions to be eliminated from the World Cup in the group stage after they became the first team through to the last 16.

It's him again. 🙋‍♂️
Kylian Mbappé's brace sees France through to the KO stages and secures him back-to-back @Budweiser Player of the Match awards.
⚽️⚽️ 2 Goals.
🏆 #POTM
🔒 Qualification secured
👑 Greatness taken
🇫🇷 #FRADEN 🇩🇰 #YoursToTake #BudweiserWorldCup #BringHomeTheBud pic.twitter.com/VLtn3aRZtX

— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) November 26, 2022

Lionel Messi thumped in a 64th minute goal and Enzo Fernandez added another late in the game to give Argentina a 2-0 victory over battling Mexico in their World Cup Group C match on Saturday and reignite their tournament hopes.

🐐 Who else?
With a goal and a recording breaking assist, Lionel Messi etches his name in the history books once again. Your @Budweiser Player of the Match.
Where he walks, greatness follows.
🇦🇷 #ARGMEX 🇲🇽 #POTM #YoursToTake #BudweiserWorldCup #BringHomeTheBud | @budfootball pic.twitter.com/PpRQ2blis0

— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) November 26, 2022

Robert Lewandowski scored his first-ever World Cup goal as Poland brought Saudi Arabia back down to earth with a bump with a 2-0 Group C victory that rejuvenated their tournament campaign.

Robert Lewandowski was emotional after his first World Cup goal 🥺 pic.twitter.com/xDUfV2VVpu

— B/R Football (@brfootball) November 26, 2022

Australia won a World Cup game for only the third time in their history with a dogged 1-0 victory over Tunisia on Saturday to revive their last-16 hopes.

To our Aussies abroad and at home,
Thank you for the incredible support. 💚💛
That was for you, enjoy the moment 🙌#GiveIt100 #Socceroos #FIFAWorldCup pic.twitter.com/NsWa68sWsH

— Socceroos (@Socceroos) November 26, 2022

Here’s Saturday’s Live Blog if you missed any of the day’s action or just want to recap what unfolded.

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