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Costa Rica shock Japan with 1-0 victory in Group E fixture

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Costa Rica
Costa Rica shock Japan with 1-0 victory in Group E fixture. Photo/ Sportstar.
  • Costa Rica secured a 1-0 win over Japan to keep their hopes of qualifying in the next round of the World Cup alive. 
  • The result leaves Group E open, and that means any team can proceed to the next round. 

Costa Rica have kept their hopes of progressing to the next round of the FIFA World Cup alive after beating Japan 1-0. 

It was a big win for Costa Rica, who went into the match at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium with narrow chances of collecting even a single point. 

Full-back Keysher Fuller scored the goal that made the difference in the 81st minute. The result leaves Group E open, and that means anyone can proceed to the next round.

Keysher Fuller

Keysher Fuller celebrates after scoring against Japan. Photo/ Sports Illustrated.

Japan, who shocked Germany with a 2-1 win last week, needed to beat Costa Rica so as to comfortably seal a spot in the round of 16. But now they have a bigger challenge against Spain in their last group fixture so as to move to the next round. 

Going into the match against Costa Rica, Japan boss Hajime Moriyasu opted to make five changes from the team that made a comeback against Germany. 

On the contrary, Costa Rica boss Luis Fernando Suarez made just two changes from the team that suffered a 7-0 defeat to Spain last week.

He dropped winger Jewison Bennette and defender Carlos Martinez to the bench and replaced them with Gerson Torres and Kendall Waston. Costa Rica’s starting XI had four players who participated in the 2014 FIFA World Cup, reaching the quarter-finals. 

Immediately referee Michael Oliver blew his whistle to signal the start of the match, Japan went into attack winning a corner within the first 30 seconds. However, Japan’s momentum slowly went down, and the game stabilized. 

Fans had to wait until ten minutes from the halftime whistle before seeing the first shot at goal. It was a tame attempt by 30-year-old Costa Rica’s Joe Campbell that went high and wide. 

Despite the Blue Samurai looking dangerous throughout the first 45 minutes, they were frustrated by Costa Rica’s tight defensive unit. 

Japan’s coach made two changes before the start of the second half, introducing Takuma Asano and Hiroki Ito. Takuma was the goalscorer of the winning goal against Germany on November 23rd. 

Japan returned from the break looking a bit stronger and nearly scored immediately after the second half started. 

Hajime Moriyasu’s side dominated the game for nearly the whole of the second half as they looked for a victory to earn a direct ticket to the knockout stages. 

However, it was Costa Rica who ended up scoring the first and only goal of the match despite looking less dangerous from the start. 

The deflection on Keysher Fuller’s shot saw Costa Rica eventually secure three points in the end. After redeeming themselves following the humiliation by Spain last week, the Costa players celebrated emotionally at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica shock Japan. Photo/ Sportstar.

Costa Rica’s last fixture of the group will be against Germany. A win against the European giants is likely to see them through the knockout stages. 

Abraham Odhiambo is an avid sports fan who loves to write about football, boxing and wrestling. He's a big supporter of Manchester United. He's pursuing a bachelor's degree in Communication and Media at Egerton University.

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