Costa Rica have crushed Japan 1-0 to maintain their hopes of qualification within the subsequent spherical of the World Cup alive.
Luis Fernando Suarez’s gamers spent most of Sunday’s recreation on the backfoot however got here on prime with right-back Keysher Fuller’s lovely roller within the 81st minute, their first and solely shot heading in the right direction.
Japan, who entered Ahmad bin Ali Stadium filled with confidence after their win over Germany, lacked the innovative to interrupt down a resolute Costa Rican defence.
The sport appeared headed for a dour stalemate however burst into life after Fuller’s late aim.
The consequence throws Group E broad open. Costa Rica, who misplaced their opening recreation 0-7 to Spain, are remarkably nonetheless within the combine to qualify for the subsequent spherical.
A win on Sunday would have sealed Japan’s spot within the spherical of 16, however they’ll now must get a consequence of their final recreation towards Spain to maintain their hopes of qualification alive.
Japan made 5 modifications to the group which shocked Germany of their opening match as coach Hajime Moriyasu made full use of his 26-man squad.
In temperatures of 32 levels Celsius (90 levels Fahrenheit) at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium, Japan instantly went on the assault and gained a nook inside 30 seconds to sign their intent.
Costa Rica coach Luis Fernando Suarez had resisted making wholesale modifications to the group thumped by Spain, dropping teenage winger Jewison Bennette and defender Carlos Martinez to the bench.
Gerson Torres and 34-year-old centre-back Kendall Waston took their place in an ageing XI which featured 4 gamers from the 2014 World Cup quarter-finals.
However Japan’s early promise melted within the Doha solar and the primary shot at aim — a tame effort which sailed excessive and broad — didn’t come till 10 minutes from half-time via Costa Rica’s 30-year-old Joel Campbell.
Joel Campbell gained 15 duels towards Japan, essentially the most by a participant in a single recreation on the 2022 World Cup.
— Squawka (@Squawka) November 27, 2022
A dreary first half got here to a detailed with “Los Ticos” having had extra of the ball however neither aspect mustering a shot heading in the right direction.
Moriyasu had seen sufficient and made a double change on the break, one in all them the introduction of Bundesliga-based striker Takuma Asano, who scored the winner towards the Germans.
The Blue Samurai had been instantly extra slicing and midfielder Hidemasa Morita drew the primary correct save of the match inside seconds of the restart with a strong strike.
Moriyasu threw on Brighton attacker Kaoru Mitoma for a defender simply after the hour as Japan chased the victory that might put them on the cusp of the final 16.
It was all Japan because the match ticked into the final 20 minutes in entrance of 41,000 spectators.
Substitute Junya Ito appeared to have wriggled free and was closing on aim, just for Costa Rica defender Francisco Calvo to cynically tug him again on the sting of the field, incomes a yellow card that would simply have been crimson.
Costa Rica had achieved nothing for a lot of the recreation as an attacking drive, however 9 minutes from regular time they stole it when Fuller’s shot took a deflection and looped in.