Costa Rica stuns Japan to blow Group E wide open
Costa Rica scored a late winner to stun Japan and blow Group E wide open as the Samurai Blue will be kicking themselves.
Keysher Fuller scored a chipped effort in the final 10 minutes to grab Costa Rica and an unexpected win as Japan dominated the game but couldn’t create clear-cut chances and they were made to pay.
After beating Germany in their group stage opener, Japan knew a win in this game would basically send them in to the last 16. Now they face Spain in their final Group E game needing to dig deep.
Following their 7-0 defeat to Spain in their World Cup opener, Costa Rica dug deep and have given themselves a chance of getting out of the group as they face Germany in their final game and are level on points with Japan.
Los Ticos put in perfect underdog display
After being battered by Spain this was a heroic display from Costa Rica. They let Japan have most of the ball and play but late on took their one big chance (it was their only shot on goal) and that was all they needed. This was almost like watching a lower league team play against a Premier League opponent in an FA Cup game. Costa Rica were solid defensively in a back five and snapped into challenges and did whatever they could to put off a very talented and technical Japan side. Yes, Japan had an off day and just never looked comfortable on the ball but don’t underestimate the incredible work Costa Rica did off the ball to unsettle their opponents. Los Ticos have restored pride in their team and they now face a showdown with Germany knowing they have to put in exactly the same kind of display.
Stars of the show
Kendall Waston: Came into the team and delivered a brilliant defensive display. The veteran led by example and cleared everything.
Maya Yoshida: Japan’s captain did everything to hold off Costa Rica and tried to drive his team on from the back.
Keylor Navas: The legendary Costa Rican goalkeeper made a key save late on and rolled back the years to inspire a great defensive display.
How to watch Japan vs Costa Rica live, stream link and start time
Kick off: 5am ET - Sunday, November 27Stadium: Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al RayyanTV channels en Español: TelemundoStreaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)
Key storylines, players to watch closely
Japan will now look to build on their first-ever win against Germany and they will be full of confidence after a resolute team display. Manager Hajime Moriyasu makes five changes to the team which beat Germany as the the strength of his squad is incredible and he will once again look to the bench and aim to blow opponents away in the final 30 minutes. It is all about the team first and his players totally buy into that model.
As for Costa Rica, they have to forget the hammering to Spain. That can happen when you play Spain who have so many great attacking players and when it clicks, they can pummel teams. They simply have to win this game and Kendall Waston and Gerson Torres are the only two changes from the defeat to Spain.
Japan quick facts
Current FIFA world ranking: 24
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 7
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from AFC
Coach: Hajime Moriyasu
Key players: Maya Yoshida, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Takumi Minamino, Daichi Kamada
Costa Rica quick facts
Current FIFA world ranking: 31
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 5
How they qualified: Qualified from CONCACAF via interconfederation playoffs
Coach: Luis Fernando Suarez
Key players: Keylor Navas, Joel Campbell, Celso Borges, Bryan Ruiz