Doha, 1 December 2022 (TDI): Japan and Spain are set to play against each other in their final group match in tomorrow’s FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. Japan needs a win against Spain to cement its place in the FIFA 2022 knockout stage.
After a 1-0 reverse in their previous match with Costa Rica on 27 November, Japan needs a win against Spain to progress beyond the group stages.
The Samurai Blue, Japan’s National football team, who are currently level on points with Costa Rica, must beat Spain to reserve their spot in the last 16.
They could still qualify with a draw, but this outcome would depend on the result in the group’s other game, between Germany and Costa Rica.
On the other hand, Spain will automatically qualify with either a draw or a win. If they lose and the other game ends in a win for either Germany or Costa Rica, then Spain will not qualify.
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) December 1, 2022
However, the teams that progress from Group E will play either Morocco, Belgium, or Croatia in the next round. While keeping in view the track record, it is said that Spain has recently been a bogey team for Japan in men’s and women’s football.
Furthermore, in a post-match interview, Japan captain Maya Yoshida spoke of wanting to “consolidate defensively, then try and counter”.
2018 World Cup
Both Japan and Spain were knocked out in the Round of 16 in the 2018 World Cup. Belgium defeated Japan with a score of 3-2, while Spain went out to the hosts, Russia, on penalties.
Some players from both sides of the team have also met in the Tokyo 2020 semi-finals last year.
Women World Cup
Spain also proved an immovable obstacle for Japan at the FIFA U-20 and U-17 Women’s World Cups. This took place in August and October respectively this year.
Spanish football, which has given Japan vital tactical and technical insights, is highly respected in Japan. David Villa and Andres Iniesta’s recent moves to the J-League in Japan have also contributed to its growth.
However, to defeat Spain, Japan will have to perform at their highest level in tomorrow’s match.