Japan look to produce another massive upset but face a ruthless Spanish side in an intriguing fixture
Spain faces Japan in their last group stage match as Luis Enrique's men look to qualify for the round of 16 with a win while Japan needs all three points if they don't want their World Cup dream to come to an end.
Luis Enrique’s Spain had a scintillating start to their World Cup bashing Costa Rica 7-0 in their opening fixture. But La Furia Roja failed to secure themselves a knockout round ticket after conceding in the last minutes of the game against Germany.
The Spanish team would like to repeat their heroics against Costa Rica when they face Japan on Thursday. The fixture against Japan could also serve as the perfect opportunity for Luis Enrique to experiment with his bench strength and rest crucial players.
A win would mean Spain will retain the top spot in Group E, but a loss could threaten their chances of qualification if Germany beat Costa Rica by a massive margin.
But Spain has registered a win against Asian opponents in their previous 5 encounters a streak they would like to continue.
After producing one of the biggest upsets against Germany, the Japanese team was handed a shocking defeat by a more determined Costa Rica team.
And now if Hajime Moriyasu's team wants to qualify for the knockout stages of the World Cup for the second successive time, they’ll have to conquer the Spanish challenge.
A win would see the Blue Samurais qualify sitting at the pinnacle of the group while a draw would mean they would be dependent on the results from the encounter between Germany and Costa Rica. But if Japan lose against Spain, they would be sent home from the group stage despite their tremendous start to the tournament.
Japan XI (3-4-3): Gonda; Itakura, Yoshida, Tanigachi; Ito, Tanaka, Morita, Nagatamo; Kamada, Kubo, Maeda
Spain XI (4-3-3): Simon; Azpilicueta, P. Torres, Rodri, Balde; Gavi, Busquets, Pedri; N. Williams, Morata, Olmo
If Spain finishes at the pinnacle of the group they would be up against Croatia on the 5th of December but if they finish in second place they will be up against Morocco on the 6th of December.
If the Blue Samurais produce a shock against Spain, they would face Morocco on the 6th of December otherwise they'll have to go home.