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Japan v Costa Rica Live Commentary, 11/27/22

0 - 1
K. Fuller (81)
Ahmad bin Ali Stadium


That's all from Al Rayyan today, so thank you for joining us and goodbye!
After showing such character to bounce back from a seven-goal shellacking, Costa Rica can now dream of a place in the knockout phase, and will still be in contention when they tackle Germany on Thursday. A frustrated Japan, meanwhile, will watch on as a seismic encounter between European heavyweights Spain and Germany takes place later today - they've missed a golden chance to seal a last-16 spot.
A remarkable change of fortunes for both nations sees Costa Rica - thrashed by Spain in their opener - turn over Germany's conquerors Japan; scoring the winning goal late on, via their first shot on target of the tournament. After an admirable defensive display, Los Ticos made the most of an ineffective Japanese attack to absorb some second-half pressure and strike on the counter. Fuller's finish in the 81st minute sees the team which only squeezed into the finals with a playoff win over New Zealand move level on points with both Japan and Group E leaders Spain.
90' + 6' Near the penalty spot, Chacon's dominant header clears the ball away following Minamino's free-kick into the box from the right flank, and surely Costa Rica have done it! What an upset for the Central American side, which really opens up Group E!
D. Chacón
J. Campbell
Costa Rica
90' + 5' Campbell takes some warm applause from Los Ticos' rapturous fans, as Chacon comes on to replace the experienced striker and provide more defensive cover.
W. Endo
Yellow Card
90' + 3' For a cynical - and successful - attempt to stop Costa Rica counter-attacking, Endo is shown a yellow card.
90' + 3' Mitoma slaloms down the left side of the area, but sees his progress checked and the ball is frantically cleared away from danger by Costa Rica.
90' + 1' Japan still have time to fight back and perhaps salvage a draw, as there have been six minutes of stoppage time indicated by the officials.
Y. Salas
C. Borges
Costa Rica
89' As Costa Rica aim to hold on for a precious three points, Salas comes on to provide fresh legs; Borges is the man to be replaced.
88' CLOSE! Japan almost equalise! After Mitoma cuts the ball back from the left byline, Kamada has a firm low shot blocked by Oviedo, then a scramble for the ball ultimately ends in the gloves of Navas near his goal-line - what an escape for Costa Rica!
86' Asano and Kamada combine just inside the area, but substitute Minamino can't quite extend his leg in time to reach the ball before Navas gratefully gathers it inside his six-yard box.
K. Itakura
Yellow Card
84' For a clear foul on Bennette, Itakura is booked by the referee.
T. Minamino
Y. Soma
82' Stung into action by seeing his side slip a goal behind, Moriaysu takes of Soma and replaces him with Monaco forward Minamino.
Y. Tejeda
Costa Rica
81' Following an error from Japan in midfield, Tejeda picks the ball up and feeds it to Fuller on the edge of the box.
K. Fuller
Costa Rica
81' COSTA RICA LEAD! Incredibly, Costa Rica's first shot on target in the Qatar World Cup results in what could be a winning goal!! After Japan lose the ball, Fuller receives it from Tejeda on the brink of the box, then coolly curls the ball into the back of the net via Gonda's outstretched fingertips! Costa Rica 1-0 Japan!
79' Following another corner from the right, Fuller makes a clearance on the edge of the area, as Costa Rica cling on bravely to their clean sheet.
77' At full stretch near the penalty spot, Kamada's leap can't quite reach Ito's cross from deep on the right, but it at least forces Costa Rica to concede a corner.
76' A rapid Japan break ends dismally, as Soma's high cross from the right side of the area flies far over several players bursting into the box. Such a lack of composure has cost the Samurai Blue today, and they are running out of time to find a winner.
74' Fuller covers across well to cut out a throughball for Asano down the right, and the latter is ultimately penalised for an attempt to retrieve the lost cause; conceding a free-kick for a foul on his opponent.
72' From the free-kick awarded for a foul on Asano just outside the box, Kamada hammers the ball straight into the base of Costa Rica's defensive wall.
F. Calvo
Yellow Card
Costa Rica
70' Asano escapes on the edge of the area, and Calvo pulls his opponent back by the arm to halt his progress. Though fortunate not to be dismissed, the Costa Rica defender receives a booking and will be suspended for the game against Germany.
69' With Japan now largely on top, it has been 35 minutes since Costa Rica last attempted a shot.
J. Ito
R. Dōan
67' The series of substitutions continues: now, Doan is replaced by Ito. Japan have just one change left to make.
J. Bennette
A. Contreras
Costa Rica
65' Contreras is also taken off, and young winger Bennette comes on for Los Ticos.
B. Aguilera
G. Torres
Costa Rica
65' Suarez responds by making his first changes for Costa Rica, as Torres makes way for Aguilera.
63' From a free-kick on the edge of Costa Rica's 'D', Soma curls the ball comfortably over the crossbar. It was perhaps too close to get the ball to dip into the net from that range.
K. Mitoma
M. Yamane
62' Japan make a third substitution, as Yamane makes way for Mitoma in midfield.
C. Borges
Yellow Card
Costa Rica
61' Having hacked down Endo on the edge of his own box, Borges is deservedly shown a yellow card and concedes a free-kick in a dangerous area.
59' Japan have attempted the last eight shots in the game, as Costa Rica's last attempt was taken by Campbell in the 35th minute. In fact, Los Ticos are yet to produce a shot on target in this World Cup.
57' Cutting in from the left flank at top speed, Soma slashes across a shot at goal, which flies well wide of the right-hand post.
55' Costa Rica have successfully quelled Japan's momentum for now, but waste a rare chance to deliver the ball into the box from a free-kick midway through their opponents' half.
52' Tejeda is cleared to return, and the game goes on. Given a much brighter start to the second half, Japan will hope to pick up where they left off.
51' Just as Japan are building some attacking momentum, the game is paused temporarily due to an injury to Tejeda inside his own area.
50' Following a corner, Endo sees a heavily deflected effort from the edge of the box loop up into the air, and the ball is then gathered by Navas under pressure on the right byline.
48' CHANCE! Just after Calvo makes a late block on a goalbound shot from Endo, Navas is again forced to work, as Asano turns a weak header towards the left-hand post!
46' SAVE! After Asano flicks the ball through for Morita on the edge of the area, the latter stings the fingertips of Navas in the Costa Rica goal and the ball goes behind for a corner! Within seconds of the re-start we have our first shot on target!
H. Ito
Y. Nagatomo
46' Veteran defender Nagatomo is also replaced; Ito comes on. This should herald a change of shape.
T. Asano
A. Ueda
46' After an awful first half, Japan make two half-time changes. First, the ineffective Ueda makes way for Asano.
46' Japan kick off the second half, and we are back under way in Al Rayyan!
This has been the first match of the Qatar 2022 finals that has failed to see a shot on target from either side by the half-time interval. Let's hope for more goalmouth action in the second half!
Following eventful encounters in both teams' opening fixtures, today a lacklustre first half has exposed the shortcomings of both Japan and Costa Rica. While Moriyasu's men were unable to sustain their high tempo in the heat and have struggled to take the initiative, Suarez's side are steadfast in defence but lack a threat further up the field. In all, it's been a grim spectacle, with little to excite its global audience, so some changes in both personnel and system may be in order after the break.
45' Kamada hauls over Torres inside the Costa Rica half; conceding a free-kick. There will be just one minute of additional time - no surprise given the lack of action in this first half.
M. Yamane
Yellow Card
44' Perhaps slightly harshly, Yamane is booked for a collision from behind on Campbell.
A. Contreras
Yellow Card
Costa Rica
41' For a mistimed tackle on Yoshida in midfield, in which he makes contact with the Japan defender's lower shin, Contreras is shown the game's first yellow card.
39' Fed a low ball into the centre of the box, Kamada can't control it and Navas is able to collect without trouble. It's fairly dire stuff at the moment - neither team have produced any quality in the final third.
37' Having withstood a spell without the ball, Japan build steadily from the back, but Waston then makes a well-timed challenge inside his own half to break up the Samurai Blue's attacking move.
35' After Calvo has a hopeful attempt blocked just outside the box, the ball breaks to Campbell, who sends a curling effort well over the crossbar from around 20 yards out. Gonda was never troubled, but at least Costa Rica are showing a little more ambition.
32' Following a shoulder barge, Calvo is dismayed to be flagged for a foul on Yamane high up on the left flank, and his rare foray forward comes to an end.
31' Highlighting their improving fortunes since a sticky opening period, Costa Rica have had 66 per cent of possession over the last 15 minutes.
29' The loss of momentum has coincided with Japan becoming more careless in possession. It's a scrappy encounter now; largely played out in the middle third.
27' In the early sunshine of Al Rayyan, both teams' tempo has dropped a notch now, which will surely suit Costa Rica more than a typically high-energy Japan side.
25' Perhaps contrary to pre-match expectations, Costa Rica have had slightly more of the ball so far, with 52 per cent of possession in the first 25 minutes.
23' A forceful surge down the left by Contreras sees the Costa Rica forward power past Yamane, but his cutback from the byline is mishit and can easily be cleared by the Japan defence.
21' Japan's patient pressure continues, as Costa Rica sit in and defend with a so-far resolute back five. They'll rely on the occasional counter-attack to break through and score their first goal of this World Cup.
19' Forced into a rather desperate late clearance, Waston gets the ball out of immediate danger with a big boot upfield, after Kamada picks out Ueda inside the box.
17' Doan delays too long when offered a chance to strike from just outside the box, then Yamane fails to find an accurate ball into a crowded area from out on the right byline.
15' Duarte makes a well-timed intervention on the right byline to deny Soma a chance to clip the ball into the area. It looks set to be another long shift of backs-to-the-wall defending for Los Ticos today.
13' After breaking into the box down the right, Doan fires a dangerous low cross along the six-yard box, which beats the dive of Navas but is not met by anyone clad in the blue of Japan. Fortunately for Costa Rica, it then zips away to safety.
11' Having soaked up some pressure from the start, Costa Rica are now taking a breather in the shaded part of a sun-soaked stadium; patiently passing the ball around at the back.
9' After beating Germany last time out, Japan are now aiming to win back-to-back World Cup matches for the first time since 2002 - they have never before won both of their first two fixtures at the global finals.
7' Contrary to their approach against Germany, today Japan are holding on to possession and rotating the ball around midfield. They will have to take the initiative against more defensive opponents.
5' Yamane brings down Contreras inside his own half, and then Campbell earns another free-kick around 30 yards from goal on the left. When the ball is delivered high into the box, Gonda gathers it at the second attempt.
3' At the end of a long spell of early dominance for Japan, Doan skews an ambitious half-volleyed effort well wide of the left-hand post.
1' Costa Rica kick off, and we are under way at Ahmed Bin Ali Stadium!
The players are out on the pitch in sunny Al Rayyan, and having observed both national anthems, kick-off is now just moments away!
Suarez opts for only two changes to the Costa Rica side thumped by Spain last time out: Waston replaces Martinez at right-back, while Torres comes in for talented teenager Bennette out wide. A switch to a four-man defence could also be on the cards.
Japan make a total of five changes to the side which started against Germany, as Yamane, Morita, Soma, Ueda and goalscorer Doan all come into the first XI. Sakai and Tomiyasu both start on the bench, having been troubled by injuries this week. Meanwhile, vastly experienced 36-year-old Nagatomo features at left-back.
SUBS: Youstin Salas, Ronald Matarrita, Brandon Aguilera, Jewison Bennette, Roan Wilson, Alvaro Zamora, Johan Venegas, Carlos Martinez, Esteban Alvarado, Juan Pablo Vargas, Patrick Sequeira, Anthony Hernandez, Daniel Chacon, Douglas Lopez, Bryan Ruiz.
COSTA RICA (4-4-2): Keylor Navas; Kendall Waston, Francisco Calvo, Oscar Duarte, Bryan Oviedo; Keysher Fuller, Yeltsin Tejeda, Celso Borges, Gerson Torres; Anthony Contreras, Joel Campbell.
SUBS: Eiji Kawashima, Daniel Schmidt, Shogo TaniguchI, Gaku Shibasaki, Kaoru Mitoma, Takumi Minamino, Take Kubo, Junya Ito, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Ao Tanaka, Takuma Asano, Hiroki Sakai, Shuto Machino, Daizen Maeda, Hiroki Ito.
JAPAN (4-2-3-1): Shuichi Gonda; Miki Yamane, Maya Yoshida, Ko Itakura, Yuto Nagatomo; Hidemasa Morita, Wataru Endo; Ritsu Doan, Daichi Kamada, Yuki Soma; Ayase Ueda.
Costa Rica are competing at the World Cup finals for the third time in a row, and were the final team to advance to Qatar earlier this year, but they suffered a 7-0 defeat to Spain in their opening Group E game. Following their demolition at Al-Thumama Stadium on Wednesday, Los Ticos must bounce back straight away or face elimination at the group stage for a second successive finals. To do so will require a more cogent attacking display, as Luis Fernando Suarez's side didn't manage a single shot at goal last time out - only the second such instance in a World Cup match since 1966.
Four days after a brilliant comeback victory over Germany, when they scored twice in the final 20 minutes to win 2-1, today Japan can come close to sealing progress to the last 16. Hajime Moriyasu's side finish their group campaign against Spain on Thursday, so will surely target maximum points against Group E outsiders Costa Rica. The Samurai Blue - who remain unbeaten in four previous meetings with their Central American opponents - have reached the knockout phase on three previous occasions, including four years ago, when they were ultimately edged out by Belgium in the last 16.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of today's World Cup Group E clash between Japan and Costa Rica at Ahmed Bin Ali Stadium!