Match ends, Japan 0, Costa Rica 1.
Japan failed to take another step towards the World Cup knockout rounds as Keysher Fuller’s late goal earned Costa Rica a smash-and-grab Group E victory.
Following their shock win over Germany, Japan were frustrated by a tight defensive unit, before Fuller struck with Costa Rica’s first shot on target at the tournament.
The result leaves both teams on three points after two games, with Spain – who still top the group on goal difference – facing Germany later on Sunday (19:00 GMT).
Victory for Spain will all but guarantee their progression to the last 16.
After beating Germany in their opener, many expected Japan to account for a Costa Rica side reeling from a 7-0 thrashing by Spain.
However, Japan boss Hajime Moriyasu opted for rotation over continuity, making five changes, and that resulted in a subdued performance and a scoreline that blew the group wide open.
It was a remarkable victory for Costa Rica, who had failed to lay a glove on the Japan defence before Fuller’s deflected shot from the edge of the box escaped goalkeeper Shuichi Gonda’s grasp nine minutes from time.
After a first half devoid of goalmouth action in the searing heat at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium, Japan dominated for large spells. However, they struggled to create clear-cut chances until the 88th minute, when Daichi Kamada could not turn the ball home after a driving Kaoru Mitoma run.
Having achieved redemption following their humiliation at the hands of Spain, the Costa Rica players celebrated emotionally at full-time as Japan were left to rue a disappointing display that failed to back up their heroics against Germany.
Player of the match
Squad number9Player nameMitomaAverage rating
Squad number5Player nameNagatomoAverage rating
Squad number4Player nameItakuraAverage rating
Squad number22Player nameYoshidaAverage rating
Squad number8Player nameDoanAverage rating
Squad number18Player nameAsanoAverage rating
Squad number6Player nameEndoAverage rating
Squad number15Player nameKamadaAverage rating
Squad number2Player nameYamaneAverage rating
Squad number24Player nameSomaAverage rating
Squad number10Player nameMinaminoAverage rating
Squad number21Player nameUedaAverage rating
Squad number13Player nameMoritaAverage rating
Squad number14Player nameItoAverage rating
Squad number26Player nameItoAverage rating
Squad number12Player nameGondaAverage rating
Squad number9Player nameBennetteAverage rating
Squad number4Player nameFullerAverage rating
Squad number1Player nameNavasAverage rating
Squad number20Player nameAguileraAverage rating
Squad number17Player nameTejedaAverage rating
Squad number15Player nameCalvoAverage rating
Squad number5Player nameBorgesAverage rating
Squad number8Player nameOviedoAverage rating
Squad number12Player nameCampbellAverage rating
Squad number19Player nameWastonAverage rating
Squad number6Player nameDuarteAverage rating
Squad number7Player nameContrerasAverage rating
Squad number14Player nameSalasAverage rating
Squad number2Player nameChacónAverage rating
Squad number13Player nameTorresAverage rating
- 2YamaneBooked at 44minsSubstituted forMitomaat 62′minutes
- 4ItakuraBooked at 84mins
- 5NagatomoSubstituted forItoat 45′minutes
- 6EndoBooked at 90mins
- 8DoanSubstituted forItoat 67′minutes
- 24SomaSubstituted forMinaminoat 82′minutes
- 21UedaSubstituted forAsanoat 45′minutes
- 19H Sakai
- 15CalvoBooked at 70mins
- 5BorgesBooked at 61minsSubstituted forSalasat 89′minutes
- 13TorresSubstituted forAguileraat 65′minutes
- 12CampbellSubstituted forChacónat 90+5′minutes
- 7ContrerasBooked at 41minsSubstituted forBennetteat 65′minutes
- Michael Oliver
Second Half ends, Japan 0, Costa Rica 1.
Junya Ito (Japan) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Bryan Oviedo (Costa Rica).
Substitution, Costa Rica. Daniel Chacón replaces Joel Campbell.
Foul by Kaoru Mitoma (Japan).
Keysher Fuller (Costa Rica) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Wataru Endo (Japan) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Wataru Endo (Japan).
Yeltsin Tejeda (Costa Rica) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Costa Rica. Youstin Salas replaces Celso Borges.
Attempt saved. Daichi Kamada (Japan) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Takuma Asano.
Ko Itakura (Japan) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Ko Itakura (Japan).
Jewison Bennette (Costa Rica) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Substitution, Japan. Takumi Minamino replaces Yuki Soma.
Goal! Japan 0, Costa Rica 1. Keysher Fuller (Costa Rica) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the top left corner. Assisted by Yeltsin Tejeda.
Offside, Costa Rica. Brandon Aguilera tries a through ball, but Keysher Fuller is caught offside.
Corner, Japan. Conceded by Óscar Duarte.
Corner, Japan. Conceded by Keysher Fuller.
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