Japan will face Spain for the last game of the group stages. La Roja, leading group E, is the favourite for getting into the round of 16 at the top. The unexpected victory of Costa Rica against Japan left the group more exciting than ever.

All four teams go to the final group stage game with the possibility of getting to the knockouts. Japan vs Spain will take place on Thursday at 7.00 pm at Khalifa International Stadium in Doha. At the same time, Germany will be facing Costa Rica for a spot in the knockout stages.

Spain: The main candidate 

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The Spanish national team has the best chances for going to the next stage of the Fifa World Cup. Luis Enrique’s team only needs to avoid defeat while a victory against Japan will guarantee them top of Group E. 

Not a lot of changes are expected for the starting XI. La Roja has played both previous games in a 4-3-3 lineup, expected to maintain it against Japan.

The only difference in the formation was the change at right-back. In the game against Costa Rica, César Azpilicueta started. Against Germany, Dani Carvajal played on this position. Azpilicueta will try to make a comeback to the starting XI. 

Álvaro Morata could be the surprise in the lineup, after scoring in both games coming off the bench. Marco Asensio would be the man to make way for him. 

Japan: Everything is possible

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The Samurai Blue must win to secure advancing to the next round. A draw will be enough if Germany and Costa Rica also draw. A defeat against Spain will throw them out of the World Cup. 

The Japanese National team has an opportunity for getting a spot in the round 16, which would secure them the same spot for the second World Cup in a row.

The Samurai Blue are expected to have limited changes. Their formation varied from a 4-2-3-1 against Germany to a 4-3-3 against Costa Rica. 

In the front, Takuma Asano could be in the starting XI after the performance of Ayase Ueda against Costa Rica. The Bochum striker came off of the bench in both of the previous games. 

  • Ana Rodríguez is a 22 years old bilingual journalist (Spanish and English). Writer for the Sports Gazette. Looking forward to make a career in motorsports broadcasting casting, concretely F1 and MotoGp. Experience working with Purdue University Athletics Communication department, and “La Voz de Galicia”.

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