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Japan 0-1 Costa Rica: Match report, player ratings, fan reaction, expert analysis and more

All the action from a memorable win in a forgettable affair for Costa Rica


Costa Rica stunned Japan and blew Group E wide open with a smash and grab 1-0 victory over Japan courtesy of a goalkeeping howler from Shūichi Gonda, throwing their chances of qualification into the air in the process.

Following their impressive victory over Germany on the opening day, Japan knew that a win combined with defeat for Germany would see them through into the last 16, and they were expected to have an easy ride against Costa Rica, beaten 7-0 by Spain in the opener.

However, the game lacked any real quality, and after a first half without a shot on target, the second half continued in the same vein. Japan, who were rarely threatened, began to throw on more attackers to search for an opening goal.

As Japan pushed forwards for a winner however, Costa Rica found the back of the net with their first shot of the tournament completely against the run of play. Keysher Fuller, stationed at right wing-back for the CONCACAF outfit, curled a hopeful effort towards goal from just inside the penalty area, only for Gonda to palm the ball into his own net as he tried to tip it round the post.

It handed Costa Rica their first goal at the 2022 tournament with their first shot on target, and despite Japan’s best efforts they could not string together anything of quality to get back into the game.

The result leaves Germany well on course still to qualify, provided that they do not lose too badly against Spain, with Japan ending their group against Luis Enrique’s side, while the Germans take on Costa Rica. It also, somewhat unbelievably, means that Costa Rica can qualify with a win over Hansi Flick’s side in the final group game.


Player ratings

Japan

  • GK: Shūichi Gonda (3) - Should have done much better for the goal and was sketchy under the occasional high ball.
  • RB: Miki Yamane (4) - Hooked at half time and was well off the pace.
  • CB: Kou Itakura (6) - Tidy but unspectacular.
  • CB: Maya Yoshida (5) - Was never really troubled but lacks anything to suggest he remains a top defender.
  • LB: Yuto Nagatomo (5) - Solid defensively but offered nothing going forwards. Substituted at the interval.
  • CDM: Hidemasa Morita (5) - Looked somewhat progressive but baffling that he wasn’t substituted with Japan chasing a goal.
  • CDM: Wataru Endo (4) - Wasted the ball and couldn’t find his usual club form on the international stage.
  • RM: Ritsu Doan (5) - Looked energetic and provided one wicked cross but couldn’t really get into the game beyond that.
  • CAM: Daichi Kamada (4) - Always billed as Japan’s biggest threat but was anonymous.
  • LM: Yuki Soma (4) - Made just 8 passes in 82 minutes.
  • ST: Ayase Ueda (4) - Couldn’t make the ball stick and really struggled in all parts of his game. Withdrawn at half time and Japan immediately looked better for it.

Substitutes

  • Takuma Asano (5) - Made a bright start to the second half but faded drastically.
  • Hiroki Ito (4) - Beaten far too easily for Costa Rica’s goal and added nothing going forwards.
  • Kaoru Mitoma (5) - Looked the most likely to create something but didn’t get the ball enough.
  • Junior Ito (4) - Anonymous when coming on.
  • Takumi Minamino (4) - Offered nothing when coming on.

Costa Rica

  • GK: Keylor Navas (7) - Never really had much to do but made one important save.
  • RWB: Keysher Fuller (6) - Can lay claim to having the only shot on target and goal for Costa Rica this tournament, and seemed happier at wing back than centrally.
  • CB: Oscar Duarte (6) - Much more solid than he was against Spain.
  • CB: Kendall Waston (7) - Looked much better in the middle of defence and while he is not a modern centre back, he was effective.
  • CB: Francisco Calvo (5) - Lucky not to see red midway through the second half, and will miss the final game with yellow nonetheless. Was otherwise solid.
  • LWB: Bryan Oviedo (6)- Solid against Japan’s diminutive attackers despite his advancing years.
  • CM: Celso Borges (5) - Never looked like making a forward pass but did the dirty work in midfield well.
  • CM: Yeltsin Tejeda (5) - Broke up play well and shielded the defence strongly.
  • RW: Joel Campbell (5) - Looked his side’s brightest spark in the first half, but wasn’t particularly bright.
  • LW: Gerson Torres (4) - Tidy but tepid.
  • ST: Anthony Contreras (4) - Hardly had a kick of the ball.

Substitutes

  • Brandon Aguilera (7) - Looked solid when he came on and put in some strong challenges.
  • Jewison Bennette (5) - Had very little opportunity to show his skills when coming on.
  • Justin Salas (N/A) - Came on for added time.
  • Daniel Chacon (N/A) - Came on in added time.

Expert Analysis

Fan reaction

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Ben Browning

Ben Browning

Football writer and analyst. Long-time writer of all things Arsenal and avid watcher of European football. Happy to discuss all things football over on Twitter.



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