The round of 16 at the 2022 FIFA World Cup has been pretty intriguing so far but for the most part, there haven’t been all too many surprises. That continued to be the case yesterday afternoon as Japan went head to head with Croatia, in a game that many weren’t able to call.
In the end, it was the European side who managed to come away with the win and a place in the quarter-finals of the tournament.
Tight and tense
This was more a game of moments than anything else which has been a pretty popular trend thus far. Japan started brightly with Croatia needing one moment of brilliance to fight their way back into it, and as we progress through the latter stages, we expect to see this trend continue. It isn’t always going to be pretty but it’s certainly going to provide us with some real entertainment value.
Japanese resilience runs out
Japan were really beginning to tire out as this fixture went on and that become more and more evident as penalties drew closer. When the shootout eventually arrived, it was quite brutal for their fanbase to watch as they barely even put up a fight against their opponents. They scored just one penalty, missing three to send them out at the round of 16 stage once again.
Croatia never looked outstanding in the 2018 World Cup but they still managed to make it all the way through to the final. Given that they have to play Brazil in the next round, we aren’t about to suggest that lightning is definitely going to strike twice. However, it’s certainly worth keeping in mind that they have the kind of energy reserve and depth that bodes well for a squad that knows exactly what it feels like to go all the way.