Four days after a surprising victory against Germany, Japan took on Costa Rica at Ahmed bin Ali Stadium in their second match in Qatar, and were beaten unexpectedly.
As generally expected, and contrary to their performance against Germany, Japan played aggressively from the beginning of the game. On the other hand, Costa Rica, who suffered a 7-0 defeat against Spain, showed their patience as they embraced quite a defensive strategy. As a result of this, Japan could not create effective chances in the first half and the game was scoreless at this point.
In the second half, Japan intensified their offensive against the Central American country. In addition, Hajime Moriyasu made some substitutions as Takuma Asano, Kaoru Mitoma and Junya Ito joined the competition late, which increased the number of opportunities to score.
However, Costa Rica surprisingly capitalised on their only chance. At the 81st min, Keysher Fuller made the most of Japan’s mistake in the dangerous area and gave an unexpected lead to his country.
Although Japan’s biggest chance from Mitoma came at the last moment, this was the only goal in this match meaning Japan missed a golden opportunity to ensure their participation in the knockout stage.