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[monks data]
Japan national football team
World Cup | Group Stage
Nov 27, 2022 at 10am UK
Costa Rica national football team
0 - 1
Costa Rica

Yamane (44'), Itakura (84'), Endo (90+3')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Fuller (81')
Contreras (41'), Borges (61'), Calvo (70')

Preview: Japan vs. Costa Rica - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Sunday's World Cup clash between Japan and Costa Rica, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Japan will be looking to build on their incredible victory over Germany when they continue their Group E campaign against Costa Rica on Sunday.

Hajime Moriyasu's side started their 2022 World Cup with a 2-1 win over four-time world champions Germany on Wednesday, while Costa Rica suffered a 7-0 defeat to Spain in their tournament opener.

Match preview

Japan's Ritsu Doan celebrates scoring against Germany at the World Cup on November 23, 2022© Reuters

Japan fell behind against Germany on Wednesday, with Ilkay Gundogan scoring from the penalty spot in the 33rd minute, but two substitutes turned it around for Moriyasu's team, with Ritsu Doan levelling the scores in the 75th minute before Takuma Asano won it with a brilliant finish in the 83rd minute.

Samurai Blue have now put themselves in a strong position to reach the next round of the competition, and they have previous when it comes to advancing through the group stage.

Indeed, Japan have progressed to the round of 16 on three previous occasions, including back in 2018, when they finished second in Group H before losing to Belgium in the first knockout round.

Moriyasu's side will finish their campaign against Spain on December 1, so there is no downplaying the importance of this match, especially as Costa Rica will enter it off the back of a thumping loss to Spain.

Japan progressed to the finals of the 2022 World Cup by finishing second in Group B, picking up 22 points from their 10 matches, which left them one point behind the leaders Saudi Arabia in the Asian qualification section.

Costa Rica's Celso Borges in action with Spain's Sergio Busquets at the World Cup on November 23, 2022© Reuters

Costa Rica have faced Japan on five previous occasions in international football, with all five fixtures proving to be non-competitive games, and Japan have recorded four wins, including a 3-0 success in September 2018.

Los Ticos are competing in the finals of the World Cup for the third time in a row, and they incredibly reached the quarter-finals of the 2014 competition, topping Group D ahead of Uruguay, Italy and England before overcoming Greece on penalties in the first knockout round.

Costa Rica saw their tournament ended by the Netherlands in the last eight, but it was a brilliant performance from the Selection, who beat New Zealand in the intercontinental playoffs back in June to ensure that they would be present in the 2022 edition of the competition.

Luis Fernando Suarez's side were the final team to advance to the World Cup, but they suffered a 7-0 defeat to Spain in their competition opener on Wednesday.

Ferran Torres scored twice, while Dani Olmo, Marco Asensio, Gavi, Carlos Soler and Alvaro Morata were all on the scoresheet for La Roja in Doha, with Costa Rica struggling against Luis Enrique's side.

La Tricolor will take on Germany in their final match in the section on December 1, and it is difficult to imagine them making an impression in this group, but they will be determined to give their supporters something to cheer against Japan.

Japan World Cup form:

Japan form (all competitions):

Costa Rica World Cup form:

Costa Rica form (all competitions):

Team News

Japan's Hiroki Sakai in action with Germany's David Raum at the World Cup on November 23, 2022© Reuters

Hiroki Sakai is a doubt for Japan due to the injury that he picked up against Germany, and he was forced to miss training on Thursday with the issue.

Takehiro Tomiyasu would be Sakai's natural replacement, although the Arsenal defender also missed training on Thursday, so he will need to prove his fitness over the next 24 hours or so.

Asano came off the bench to score the winner against Germany, and he could now come into the starting side for this match, potentially taking the place of Daizen Maeda.

Yuto Nagatomo was also replaced in the second half of the team's first match of the tournament, but the 36-year-old is fit to start this game, and he should again line up at left-back.

Costa Rica, meanwhile, have not reported any injury concerns from their defeat to Spain.

Head coach Suarez is expected to resist the temptation to shuffle his pack from the loss to La Roja, but there could be a change at the back, with Kendall Waston potentially coming in for Carlos Martinez.

Bryan Ruiz and Alvaro Zamora are also among those pushing for spots in the side, but Joel Campbell should again be joined by Anthony Contreras in the final third of the field, and there is no question that the manager will be looking for a much-improved performance in this contest.

Japan possible starting lineup:
Gonda; Tomiyasu, Itakura, Yoshida, Nagatomo; Endo, Tanaka; Ito, Kamada, Kubo; Asano

Costa Rica possible starting lineup:
Navas; Waston, Calvo, Duarte, Oviedo; Tejeda, Borges; Bennette, Fuller; Campbell, Contreras

SM words green background

We say: Japan 2-0 Costa Rica

Japan were brilliant against Germany on Wednesday, and it is really difficult to look past them when picking a winner here. Costa Rica should show improvement from their defeat to Spain, but we are fully expecting Japan to make it back-to-back wins in the section courtesy of a 2-0 scoreline.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting under 2.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 2.5:data

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Group A

Q Netherlands Netherlands32107
Q Senegal flag Senegal32016
3 Ecuador flag Ecuador31114
4 Qatar Qatar30030

Group B

Q England flag England32107
Q United States USA31205
3 Iran Iran31023
4 Wales flag Wales30121

Group C

Q Argentina Argentina32016
Q Poland Poland31114
3 Mexico Mexico31114
4 Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia31023

Group D

Q France France32016
Q Australia Australia32016
3 Tunisia Tunisia31114
4 Denmark Denmark30121

Group E

Q Japan Japan32016
Q Spain Spain31114
3 Germany Germany31114
4 Costa Rica flag Costa Rica31023

Group F

Q Morocco Morocco32107
Q Croatia Croatia31205
3 Belgium Belgium31114
4 Canada Canada30030

Group G

Q Brazil Brazil32016
Q Switzerland Switzerland32016
3 Cameroon flag Cameroon31114
4 Serbia Serbia30121

Group H

Q Portugal Portugal32016
Q Republic of Korea South Korea31114
3 Uruguay flag Uruguay31114
4 Ghana flag Ghana31023

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