FIFA WC 2022 | Japan vs Croatia Preview & prediction | H2H | line-up

After a pulsating group stage campaign at the FIFA World Cup 2022, the doors for the knockout stage have opened as Japan take on 2018 runners-up Croatia. 

The Samurai Blue scored a controversial winning goal against Spain to win Group E while Croatia needed to hold their nerves to secure a point against Belgium in their final group game to book a last-16 berth. With a potential quarterfinal tie against Brazil, both teams will be eager to give their best shot on Monday (December 5).

Japan vs Croatia Head to Head

The two teams have met on three occasions in the past with one win each and a draw. Interestingly, two of those meeting have come in the FIFA World Cup, where Croatia have gained the upper hand. Monday’s clash at the Al Janoub Stadium will be their first meeting in 16 years, having last faced one another at the 2006 FIFA World Cup group stage in a goalless draw.

The other World Cup meeting came in 1998 when star man Davor Šuker pooped up with the winner. Suker would later inspire Croatia to reach the semifinal of the tournament, while also winning the Golden Boot with six goals. Japan’s only win against Croatia came in the 1997 Kirin Japan Cup, a pre-season friendly tournament.

Japan vs Croatia Head to Head

08 Jun 1997Japan v Croatia4-3Kirin Japan Cup
20 Jun 1998Japan v Croatia0-1FIFA World Cup
18 Jun 2006Japan v Croatia0-0FIFA World Cup

What happened in Group Stage?

Japan against all odds topped Group E ahead of former World Champions Spain and Germany and beat both of them. However, Japan’s win against Spain came with a glimpse of controversy as their winner looked to have gone out of play before it was nodded home by Ao Tanaka. The Asian side though had to win the contest on the final day as they had earlier lost to Costa Rica. They also stunned Germany in the opening group match by coming from behind to win 2-1, a consequence of which saw the four-time champions get dumped out at the group stage.

Croatia are one of the four teams still in the tournament yet to taste defeat and the 2018 runners-up needed a thrilling draw against Belgium to make the last 16. The stalemate also saw the Red Devils crash out as one of the big contenders was sent home. Croatia had earlier drawn blank against Group F winners Morocco while they came from behind to beat Canada 4-1.

Group Standings


Likely Suspensions

Japan - Miki Yamane, Kou Itakura, Wataru Endo

Croatia – Dejan Lovren, Luka Modric

World Cup Record


Appearances7 (first in 1998)
Best resultRound of 16 (2002, 2010, 2018, 2022)


Appearances6 (first in 1998)
Best resultRunners-up (2018)

Japan vs Croatia Predicted Lineup

Japan (4-2-3-1): 

Gonda; Tomiyasu, Taniguchi, Yoshida; Ito; Morita, Tanaka, Nagatomo; Doan, Maeda, Kamada 

Croatia (4-3-3):

Livakovic; Juranovic, Lovren, Gvardiol, Sosa; Kovacic, Brozovic, Modric; Kramaric, Livaja, Perisic 

Japan vs Croatia Date, kick-off time, and venue

The FIFA World Cup 2022 Round of 16 encounters on Monday, December 5 will kick-off at 8:30 PM IST, 6:00 PM Local Time 


Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah


Japan vs Croatia FIFA WC 2022

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