Japan vs Spain. Prediction and Preview. Probable Lineups, Team News, Stats, and more

Spanish Pedri and Japanese Takumi Minamino

Spain will meet with Japan in the FIFA World Cup 2022 closing group-stage match at the Khalifa International Stadium. The fixture will take place on Friday, December 2, beginning at 00:30 IST.

Before the start of the World Cup in Qatar, very few doubted that Spain and Germany would make it out of the group being placed in the group with Japan and Costa Rica. The Red Fury lived up to that expectation, only needing to secure a draw in the last round to make it to the playoffs. As for the Germans, they are hanging by a thread, depending on the attitude of the Spaniards. Most likely, it seems that one top team from Europe will help the other and we will see both bright sided in the next stage.

Parimatchnews will tell you everything you need to know ahead of the upcoming match.

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Spain News & Current Form: 

The Spanish team could have secured not just a play-off place, but also the top spot thanks to their victory over Germany. However, Luis Enrique’s players had believed in success too early: with the score 1-0 they stopped actively moving the ball and attacking, for which they paid the price – Niklas Füllkrug contributed the much-needed point to the Germans (1-1). As a result, the Furia needed a win against Japan, or at least a draw, to be guaranteed a place in the 1/8 tournament round.

However, the 2010 World Cup champions have a safety net, as they have a three-point lead over Germany and a +7 goal difference. In the case of a minimal defeat, the Germans would need to score at least seven goals against Costa Rica to pull ahead of their rivals. However, the Spaniards are unlikely to give the Japanese three points – since 2021 they have lost just twice, and that to a powerful France and a strong Switzerland.

In some wild-card scenarios, they could go home (Costa Rica’s win over Germany), while a loss of first place and a tougher opponent in the play-offs looks far more realistic. So there’s no doubt that Pedri, Gavi and Co. will play the match against Japan with full effort. They will seize the ball, the territory and will rock the defense.

Will it be easy to handle the Japanese? Not really. The game against Germany proved it. But let’s put that to one side – the Bundestim wasted so many moments that they could have made it 7-0, while the Japanese executed both of their counterattacks. The defeat against Costa Rica also does not show Japan’s real level, but one thing is clear – they can hardly withstand the Spanish tiki-taka.

Japan News & Current Form: 

The Blue Samurai are unpredictable: they did not have the upper hand but they beat Germany; they pressured Costa Rica but eventually lost. They also had surprises at the 2018 World Cup – they led 2-0 against Belgium in the 1/8, but lost 2-3. The same reflects their results this year: the maximum winning streak consists of those matches, and for the most part, the Asians alternate between successful games and failures. In this one, though, it will be up to the Spaniards to dictate their game.

The Asians now need to beat the Spaniards to reach the last eight. In the event of a draw, they will have to rely on a favorable result in the Costa Rica-Germany fixture. A second consecutive defeat would send the Japanese home.

The Spanish side will be able to use little energy in Riyadh, but the Japanese will need to be as assertive as possible from the first minute. However, it will not be enough if the Asian team will simply work most of the match without the ball, which the Spanish team traditionally has complete control of.

Spain form guide: W-L-W-W-W-D

Japan form guide: L-W-D-L-W-L

Japan vs Spain: Head-To-Head Record:

  • April 25, 2001: Japan 0-1 Spain (International Friendly);
  • August 3, 2021:Japan 0-1 Spain (Tokyo Olympics).

Japan vs Spain Predicted XI:

Japan’s possible starting lineup (4-2-3-1):  Gonda, Yamane, Itakura, Yoshida, Nagatomo, Tanaka, Morita, Doan, Kamada, Kubo, Maeda.

Spain’s possible starting lineup (4-3-3): Simon, Carvajal, Rodri, Laporte, Alba, Pedri, Busquets, Gavi, F. Torres, Morata, Olmo.

Statistical preview of the match Japan vs Spain:

  • Japan’s First XI average age 29.3 yrs.
  • Spain’s First XI average age 26.9 yrs.
  • Japan have won only 2 of their last 10 World Cup games (2 draws, 6 defeats).
  • After winning the 2010 World Cup final, Spain have won only 3 of their last 9 games at the Mundials (3 draws, 3 defeats).
  • Spain is ranked 6th in the FIFA ranking.
  • Japan is ranked 24th in the FIFA ranking.
  • Spain’s ball possession in the game against Germany was 64% of the game time, the most dominant in World Cup encounters with the Germans (since 1966, when such data began to be compiled).
  • The Japanese conceded the decisive goal from Costa Rica after allowing only one shot on frame.
  • At the 2022 World Cup, Spanish substitute players had already scored three times. This is a record for a single tournament for Spain.

What has been said before the match:

Luis Enrique, Spanish coach, said about the Japanese team:

“They’re a very well-drilled team that Spain already faced at the last Olympic Games. They have several players playing in Europe. They are very dynamic with a great midfield. They have a lot of top players”.

About advantages of being the second in the group and, thus, avoiding a game with Brazil, he said:

“We have reflected on it, but from a professional point of view, imagine this, that we were interested in coming second. We’re in the 90th minute, stoppage time arrives, and both games are 0-0. And in the 95th minute with 15 seconds to go, Japan scored and Costa Rica scored. You’ve speculated for 95 minutes and been eliminated in the 95th”.

“Or the reverse. Germany are winning their game 5-0 and we are at 0-0, which is good for us, and then we concede and we’re out. When you are convinced that your team is a very good team and that we want to play seven games, we don’t want to come second. We want to finish first. That means playing against whoever it is in the next round, against the second team from Group F. Perfect. Then in the quarter-finals against a team from Group H. (Maybe) we’ll play against Brazil, but first we have to beat Japan”.

“We will not count our chickens before they are hatched. Top level sport is not about speculation. We have to do our homework and finish first in the group”.

Japan national team coach Hajime Moriyasu commented the upcoming game:

“Tomorrow is going to be a high-pressure game for all players but we must believe in ourselves”.

“They [players] must believe in themselves, they must. They must believe in their teammates in order to fight against our opponent. Hopefully, they will be at their best and the result will follow”.

“I think Europe is the golden standard in the world. I think all other regions really aspire to Europe. We are catching up but when it comes to the actual matches, we are trying to catch up with strong teams that are ahead of us. We still have a lot to learn”.

“We are going to show the Japanese spirit and pride and we are going to counter our opponents, fight our opponents,”.

“I hope that the players will play in such a way that they inspire the Japanese people then they keep inspiring other people”.

About the loss of Japanese during their last encounter on the Olympics:

“We were very sorry that happened,” he said. “We were very quiet. We were very upset. But I think the players have grown since then. And now they’re here”.

Japan vs Spain Prediction:

To be blunt, Japan were lucky against Germany: had the lads of Hans-Dieter Flick been more convincing with their chances in the first half, they would have decided the game long before the opponent’s comeback. Spain are unlikely to be so wasteful – they have scored seven goals against Costa Rica with seven shots on target, and we expect the same approach in the coming game. On the other hand, the Asians’ defense is more serious and Luis Enrique’s men will have to be more careful regarding the opponent’s transition from defense to attack, because they have a chance of losing this encounter – underestimation of the opponent could play a cruel trick with the Red Fury.

But, at the same time, there’s also the ‘theory of games’ that kicks in. The only thing that can help Japan is Furia Roja’s desire to finish second in the group, so that they can potentially avoid Brazil in the quarter-finals. Only then can Spain lose minimally to the Asians (assuming Germany doesn’t thrash Costa Rica). However, one of the best teams in the tournament is unlikely to keep such calculations and artificially select weaker opponents – in order to become the strongest at the Mundial, they will still have to play against equal opponents at some point.

Parimatch News staff prediction:

We say: Spain will not lose with an individual total over 1.5 – Yes.

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