Yuto Nagatomo, a defender for Japan, has instructed his team to play with “samurai spirit” in Monday’s round of 16 World Cup match against Croatia.
They’ll also require another skill that Nagatomo developed while spending nearly a decade playing in Italy, primarily with Inter Milan.
Coraggio, said Nagatomo. “We need to play bravely.”
Japan is making its fourth appearance in the knockout round and is still without a victory. In group play, it came from behind to defeat former world champions Germany and Spain 2-1, but it also stumbled to a 1-0 defeat to Costa Rica.
Croatia, the smallest nation in the final 16 with barely 4 million people, placed third in 1998 and was the runner-up against France four years prior.
Could the third attempt prove successful?
Zlatko Dalic, Croatia’s coach, responded, “Why not?”
Nagatomo, who is playing in his fourth World Cup, remembers how Japan had a 2-0 lead over Belgium in a round of 16 match four years ago in Russia, but was ultimately eliminated 3-2 on a goal scored in stoppage time of the second half.
Before returning to the idea of Japanese samurai warriors as a metaphor for Japan’s World Cup campaign, Nagatomo stated, “I have never forgotten.
They strive to enhance their methods, he said. However, FIFA World Cup Qatar if they are afraid while fighting, they won’t be able to completely utilize their tools and strategies.
The defeat by Belgium, according to Japan’s coach Hajime Moriyasu, taught his players an important lesson.
He remarked, “That experience was incredibly valuable, and we can look back on what we learnt in that game against Belgium.
Because they had seen numerous Japanese players in action in the German league, Dalic claimed that his team will be well-prepared.
They’ll incorporate the samurai way of thinking into their strategy, he said. “We’ll each play a part. We are aware of how crucial this game is to us. We are aware of the opposition. We understand how they think. We have to adopt the same moral code and mentality if we wish to succeed as parents.
After winning 4-1 over Canada, FIFA World Cup Qatar Croatia advanced with 0-0 draws against Belgium and Morocco.
Luka Modric, a midfielder for Real Madrid who won the world player of the year award in 2018, continues to be the team’s driving force despite the absence of a front-line forward with a history of prolific scoring.
The 37-year-old Modric’s next game could be his final one at a World Cup.
The winner on Monday will play either South Korea or five-time champion Brazil in the quarterfinals.