Match Today: Spain vs Japan 01-12-2022 Qatar World Cup 2022
Japan and Spain meet in this final round of Group E matches, with all four teams having a chance to advance to the Round of 16.
Spain are the favorites to qualify as they lead the group by one point and have a vastly superior goal difference of +7 with no positive goal difference in the group.
They only need a draw in this match to secure a place in the round of 16 while a win guarantees them top spot. Japan, after a shock win over Germany, only needed to beat Costa Rica in their final match to qualify but instead lost 1-0.
They now need to win this match to secure their place in the knockout stages, for them a loss in this match will disqualify them while a draw might be enough for them to qualify if the other match in the group ends in a draw.
If Germany wins by two or more goals and Japan draws, the Samurai Blue will be eliminated. Germany winning by one goal and Japan tied would make the tiebreaker for second place more complicated as it would depend on the Japanese getting a scoring tie to advance.
Spain against Japan
Japan had a dream start to their World Cup campaign as they beat four-time champions Germany in the opening round but then lost to Costa Rica for the first time in their history.
Previously unbeaten to Central America with three wins and a draw, they couldn't have picked a worse time to lose for the first time. Japan have won just one of their last four matches and will be bent on repeating their giant killing in the first round if they are to secure qualification and emulate their achievement from the 2018 edition. It reached the round of 16.
Spain recorded their biggest win in the World Cup when they beat Costa Rica in their first match and they could have secured qualification to the Round of 16 by defeating Germany, they were on course to win until the Germans equalized late in the game.
Spain are unbeaten in their last four matches with three wins and a draw. They have only lost once in their last 13 games in all competitions. There were fears coming into the World Cup that goal-scoring might be their Achilles' heel, but 11 goals in their last three matches have fought those doubts. They are bound to create more chances with this amount of ball possession.
Japan against Spain
Japan made five changes against Costa Rica and are likely to be more after their defeat. Defenders Hiroki Sakai and Takehiro Tomiyasu have hamstring problems and Takumi Minamino is likely to play as well as Kaoru Mitoma.
Spain suffers from an injury that worries Javi, who missed the training session on Monday. He has been great so far and his absence will affect the team. If he does not play, Koke is the likely substitute. Morata was a substitute in the first two matches, but he participated as a substitute and scored two goals.
Luis Enrique will have to decide whether to put him in their starting line-up or make him a substitute again Only twice in Japan's last nine matches have both teams scored The Samurai Blue have failed to score in three of their last seven Japan have failed to conserve She has clean sheets in her last three matches.
Spain are the top scorers in the current tournament with eight goals. They have lost only twice in their last 17 games in all competitions. Spain have kept four of their last seven clean sheets.