World Cup 2022: Croatia to face Japan as both teams hope to make history

It’s another big day for the World Cup, as four teams go on the pitch to decide who will advance into the quarter-finals. Only one European team is playing today: Croatia, who’ll be facing their first Asian team of the World Cup, Japan.

Here’s our at-a-glance look at the day ahead.

Japan vs Croatia (16:00)

AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic
Croatia’s soccer team fans celebrate their 4-1 victory over Canada during the World Cup group F soccer at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, Qatar.AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic
  • Croatia is facing Japan after qualifying second in their group behind Morocco with two draws and a 4-1 victory against Canada.

  • The European team, the smallest country in the final 16 with a population of only 4 million, was the runner-up four years ago against France and finished third in 1998.

  • Japan qualified as group winners after two unexpected victories against former world champions Germany and Spain.

  • They’re appearing in the knockout stage for the fourth time and still searching for their first win.

  • The winner of the match will face either five-time champion Brazil or South Korea in the quarterfinals, who are playing a later match today.

  • It’s the first time Croatia will play an Asian team in a World Cup knockout match after eight previous games against European teams.

  • If Croatia loses against Japan, this could be the last World Cup game for


Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric, the world player of the year in 2018.

Brazil vs South Korea (20:00)

Lee Jin-man/AP Photo
South Korea’s Son Heung-min warms up during the South Korea’s official training on the eve of the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Brazil and South Korea.Lee Jin-man/AP Photo
  • Brazil’s star Neymar was seen training with his team before the game against South Korea in the round of 16, suggesting that he has fully recovered from the ankle injury that had threatened to keep him out of the rest of the World Cup.

  • With or without Neymar on the pitch, South Korea head coach Paulo Bento warned Brazil that his team will fight “to the utmost of our efforts” to beat the 5-time world champions.

  • The two teams have never played each other in a competitive match but did meet in a friendly international in Seoul back in June.

  • South Korea is trying to advance past the round of 16 for the first time since the historic run as a co-host in 2002, when it reached the semifinals and finished fourth. 

  • The Asian team was eliminated in the group stage in 2014 and 2018.

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