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Our Predictions Ahead Of Japan vs Croatia And Brazil vs South Korea

Joe Simpson

By Joe Simpson

Joe Simpson

5 Dec 2022

With England and France setting up a tasty Quarter Final yesterday, this afternoon’s fixtures see two Asian sides take on a tournament favourite, and a finalist from the previous World Cup. Here are our predictions ahead of today’s round of games:

Japan vs Croatia

Japan have been one of the surprise packages of the tournament, beating first Germany and then Spain in controversial circumstances. They topped Group E as a result and now face previous finalists Croatia. Ritsu Dōan has become an overnight sensation with the Freiburg midfielder scoring twice against the two former winners. He could potentially join teammates like Takumi Minamino, Kaoru Mitoma, and Takehiro Tomiyasu in having played in the biggest league in the world.

Yuto Nagatomo and former Southampton man Maya Yoshida have been rocks at the back, and their experience has proved vital. This is something that has previously helped Croatia through the longevity of Luka Modric and co. Croatia will provide a difficult task and while not at their peak, they will not be easy to get past as Belgium found out the last week. Joško Gvardiol has been one of the best defenders at this tournament and has shown why he is courting interest from top European clubs. Further up the pitch, Ivan Perišić is putting in consistent performances and delivering quality balls into former Leicester striker Andrej Kramarić. Croatia have a nice balance of physicality and technique, and will be looking to extend Luka Modrić’s last dance at a World Cup as he approaches the twilight of his career.

Japan love a challenge and if they have shown anything at this tournament, it’s that you don’t underestimate them. I expect them to cause a further upset today.

Score Prediction: Japan 3-2 Croatia

Tom Atkinson

Brazil vs South Korea

Coming in as pre-tournament favourites, Brazil have not necessarily hit the heights that were expected of them as of yet. Aside from a stunning Richarlison goal in the group stages, the iconic team in yellow and green laboured to victory against Switzerland, and lost to Cameroon after ringing the changes in their final game.

Tite will however be delighted to welcome back Neymar into his squad, as he has recovered from an ankle injury that has kept him out of the last two games. Brazil will be hoping that he can find his feet quickly and demonstrate that he is still one of the world’s best. Casemiro has been arguably Brazil’s best player at this World Cup so far, and he will be looking to dominate the midfield in order to give the offensive players with more flair the freedom to stay high up the pitch and cause South Korea problems.

South Korea will be desperately hoping that Kim Min-Jae can return from injury and lead from the back against Brazil. The Napoli defender has expressed his desperation to play in the knock out stages and said that he is willing to risk sustaining a more serious injury in order to feature. While that will not be good news for his club side, Kim has been one of the best defenders in Europe this season and will be crucial to his country’s chances of progressing. Son Heung-Min, South Korea’s talisman, has been largely ineffective thus far in this tournament, and he will need to have his best game so far if his side wish to advance.

You can expect Brazil to dominate the ball in this game, while South Korea will try and be tough to break down in order to hit their opposition on the counter. Brazil also have injury concerns in the full back positions, which could free up Son to have more of an impact from out wide. Knockout football can always be a cagey affair, but if Brazil can find a rhythm early, they have the quality to expose the Korean defence and do enough to win the tie.

Score Prediction: Brazil 2-0 South Korea

Joe Simpson

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