Japan will face Croatia before Brazil plays South Korea on the third day of knockout-round matches at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
The third day of the Qatar 2022 World Cup’s knockout stages gets under way with two elimination games scheduled for the 16th day of the tournament on December 5, 2022:
- Japan vs Croatia (Al Janoub Stadium, 6pm/15:00 GMT)
- Brazil vs South Korea (Stadium 974, 10pm/19:00 GMT)
Japan vs Croatia
In the upset-filled World Cup in Qatar, Japan has toppled two football superpowers in the group stages — paralysing Germany and later Spain — and now sets their sights on a scrappy Croatian squad, the 2018 World Cup runners-up, who have never lost a first knockout-stage game.
Croatia, tournament favourites who have already netted two draws and a win to secure their spot in the Round of 16, will need to contain the speedy and devastating pace of the Samurai Blue on Monday evening.
Japanese centre-back Kou Itakura is suspended from the game after picking up two yellow cards. It could be Croatian skipper and Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric’s final game of his career if the small but mighty Adriatic nation cannot overpower an unpredictable Japan.
The two teams have played each other twice at the World Cup. Croatia slipped past Japan 1-0 in the group stages of the 1998 World Cup; they later drew in 2006.
Brazil vs South Korea
Speaking of upsets, South Korea, a tournament wildcard and hot off a dazzling 2-1 win over Portugal, head into their first knockout-round appearance in 12 years with their backs against the wall as they attempt to sink five-time World Cup champions Brazil.
Everything, however, is at stake for the top-ranked Brazilian side who coasted into the last 16 with wins over Serbia and Switzerland.
Brazil will have a boost of firepower from Neymar, who was sidelined for two games after sustaining an ankle injury against Serbia; the team struggled without him in their 1-0 loss to Cameroon.
Neymar practised with the team in Qatar on Saturday and Sunday.
Monday’s game at Stadium 974 will be the first World Cup contest between the two sides though Brazil have bested the Taeguk Warriors in six of seven friendly matches — their most recent coming during a 5-1 victory in June.
I feel good, I knew that I would now
— Neymar Jr (@neymarjr) December 3, 2022