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Japan vs Spain, FIFA World Cup 2022, Today Match Prediction

Doha, Khalifa International Stadium

2

Star

1

All to play for in Group E decider between Spain and Japan

  • Spain have looked impressive on the whole, although had to settle for a draw against Germany
  • They will qualify if they don’t lose, while Japan know that a draw may not be enough
  • Germany take on Costa Rica in the other Group E clash

Spain to win 2-1

Tournament: FIFA World Cup 2022 | Venue: Doha, Khalifa International Stadium

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Group E has become one of the more complicated to call as we come into the final collection of games at this year’s World Cup opening round.

Spain know that anything other than defeat will see them qualify, while a win would see them cement that all important top spot. Even defeat might be enough depending on the result of Costa Rica vs. Germany.

In truth, they will want that top spot to ensure they face a potentially easier clash in the Round of 16. Considering how well they have played for the most part in this tournament, they probably deserve it.

Japan have a slightly more complicated route to the final. If they play out of their skin and win the game, then that’s them through in top spot. 

Draw, and they must hope that Costa Rica do not beat Germany. Oh, and they must also hope that Germany do not beat Costa Rica by a big enough margin to go ahead of Japan on goal difference.

Both of these teams have their own fate in their hands, but it’s far from straightforward.

Japan Preview

FIFA Ranking: 24

Predicted Finish: Group Stage

Reasons to be cheerful:

     Spain’s style of play could suit Japan, who play on the counter

     Could bring back Sakai and Tomiyasu who sat out last game

Reasons to be fearful:

     Manager likes to rotate team which can harm momentum

     Offered very little in defeat to Costa Rica

After beating Germany in their opening game, you would have thought that Hajime Moriyasu, Japan’s manager, would have stuck with the same side against Costa Rica.

Granted, he was forced into a change or two because of injury concerns, but the fact that he made five alterations is likely to have derailed his side’s momentum in their second game.

They were frustrated by Costa Rica and ended up losing to a late goal that could have been avoided. You feel that their chance of reaching the Round of 16 ended with that hammer blow result.

It leaves them realistically needing to beat Spain to make the knockout stages, which doesn’t seem likely given the form of both countries so far.

Here, the likes of Tomiyasu and Sakai could return to the line-up, while Asano could get the nod from the start in place of Ueda.

Star Man – Takuma Asano

Has had to make do with two substitute appearances in this tournament, when he possibly should have started the last game. His goal against Germany will live long in the memory, but he needs another big performance here.

Spain Preview

FIFA Ranking: 7

Predicted Finish: Quarter Finals

Reasons to be cheerful

     Were largely the better team against Germany

     Alvaro Morata could start after two substitute goals

Reasons to be fearful

     Japan will be happy sitting back and countering quickly

     Should resist the temptation to rotate too many players

While Spain do not have quite the same luxury as France, who have qualified with a game to spare, La Roja can at least start to prepare for the Round of 16.

However, they certainly don’t want to become complacent against Japan, a team that can be dangerous in moments have will be happy sitting back and then countering quickly against this possession-based team.

Japan themselves rotated five players after their win over Germany and came unstuck against Costa Rica. Spain would be wise to not change a team that is working well too much.

One change Luis Enrique could make is to recall Alvaro Morata to the starting line-up having scored twice from the substitutes bench. 

Star Man – Alvaro Morata

You feel that Spain will need a recognised centre forward if they are to go deep in this tournament and Morata represents one that is clearly in fine form right now. He deserves a starting position after two goals as a sub.

     Spain will boss possession as usual

     Japan will be comfortable sitting back and countering

     A tight, low-scoring game

Spain scored seven goals in their opening game, although it is hard to see this being a free-flowing, open match.

Japan are good at keeping things reasonably tight at the back, while Spain suffocate their opponents through possession.

Spain just need a point to secure qualification, but if they play up to their usual standard then they should claim all three and finish in 1st position.

Spain to win 2-1

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Author: Ross B.