Sunday, 18th June 2006
Clueless and Goaless
Japan vs Croatia
Japan and Croatia have met twice previously. Croatia won the Group H match (1:0) in
Nantes, at France 98; while Japan won (4.3) in
the Kirin Cup in Tokyo, on 7th
After defeats in the opening game, both Japan and Croatia seemed reluctant to take any
early risks and for twenty minutes nothing much seemed to happen.
Then, in the 21st minute, Tsuneyasu Miyamoto conceded a
penalty. Darijo Srna stepped forward to take the spot kick for Croatia and watched in
disbelief as Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi dived the right way and saved with his left hand.
The penalty seemed to wake both teams up as Niko Kranjcar
hit the bar; Mitsuo Ogasawara had a good shot saved; and Ivan Klasnic shot across the face
of the goal.
Ten minutes before the break, Hidetoshi Nakata also shot
from outside the area and troubled Pletikosa in the Croatian goal. Japan's fans increase
the volume of their chanting.
Prso and Klasnic combined to force another Croatian
corner, just before half-time but again Dado Prso headed over.
Five minutes into the second-half, the ball arrived at
the far post but Atsushi Yanagisawa horrendously missed an open goal and skewed the ball
back across the goalmouth.
A few minutes later, Niko Kranjcar was a step to slow to
properly connect with the left wing cross from Klasnic.
In attempt to get a goal in this game, Croatia went into
the last few minutes with four forwards; to no avail.
Japan 0 - Croatia 0
Japan: (Captain Tsuneyasu Miyamoto)
23 Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi; 5 Tsuneyasu Miyamoto, 14 Alessandro Santos,
21 Akira Kaji, 22 Yuji Nakazawa; 7 Hidetoshi Nakata, 8 Mitsuo
Ogasawara, 10 Shunsuke Nakamura, 15 Takashi Fukunishi; 9 Naohiro Takahara,
13 Atsushi Yanagisawa.
Croatia: (Captain Nico Kovac)
1 Stipe Pletikosa; 3 Josip Simunic, 4 Robert Kovac, 5 Igor Tudor, 7 Dario Simic; 2 Darijo
Srna, 8 Marko Babic, 10 Nico Kovac, 19 Niko Kranjcar; 9 Dado Prso, 17 Ivan Klasnic.
Frank De Bleeckere (Belgium)
46 Mins (Japan) - 17 Junichi Inamoto on for 15 Takashi Fukunishi
61 Mins (Japan) - 20 Keiji Tamada on for 13 Atsushi Yanagisawa
67 Mins (Croatia) - 18 Ivica Olic on for 5 Igor Tudor
78 Mins (Croatia) - 14 Luka Modric on for 19 Niko Kranjcar
85 Mins (Japan) - 16 Jerko Leko on for 9 Naohiro Takahara
87 Mins (Croatia) - 22 Ivan Bosnjak on for 2 Darijo Srna
21 Mins - Tsuneyasu Miyamoto (Japan)
32 Mins - Robert Kovac (Croatia)
42 Mins - Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi (Japan)
67 Mins - Darijo Srna (Croatia)
72 Mins - Alessandro Santos (Japan)
0 Red Cards.
2006 World Cup Finals - Knockout Stage.
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