We look ahead to this 2023 Women’s World Cup Group C fixture at Dunedin Stadium with our Japan vs Costa Rica preview and prediction.

Japan vs Costa Rica Stats: Quick Hits

  • Japan are made very heavy favourites by the Opta supercomputer, with a 91.1% chance of victory.
  • Japan are looking to win their opening two games at a Women’s World Cup for the third time, having done so in 2011, when they won the tournament, and in 2015 as defending champions.
  • Costa Rica are still yet to win a Women’s World Cup game (D2 L2). They are also still yet to keep a clean sheet in the competition.

Match Preview

Contrasting starts to the tournament means this could already be the end of the line for Costa Rica, while Japan can seal their place in the knockout stages in Dunedin.

Costa Rica were thoroughly outplayed by Spain in their opener, only losing 3-0 but facing 46 shots on their goal and seeing just 19.9% of possession. This made them the first team to have less than 20% of the ball in a Women’s World Cup game on record (since the start of the 2011 edition), as well as the first team to complete fewer than 80 passes in that time (74).

Goalkeeper Daniela Solera made 10 saves for Costa Rica against Spain, making her the first goalkeeper to make 10+ saves in a Women’s World Cup game since Thailand’s Waraporn Boonsing against Germany in 2015 (13).

Spain 3-0 Costa Rica xG stats

Japan, on the other hand, had an ideal start to their tournament, thrashing Zambia 5-0. They didn’t face a single shot in that victory, the only time on record they have done so in a Women’s World Cup match.

Futoshi Ikeda’s side have won five of their last seven group stage games at the WWC (D1 L1), with their 5-0 win over Zambia their second biggest victory in the tournament following a 6-0 hammering of Argentina in 2003.

Should any of Hinata Miyazawa, Mina Tanaka or Riko Ueki find the net against Costa Rica, they will become the first Japan player ever to score in both of their first two WWC games, having all done so in the win against Zambia.

Zambia 0-5 Japan xG race

Japan vs Costa Rica Head-to-Head

This will be the first meeting between Japan and Costa Rica at the Women’s World Cup, though Japan do not have a great record against CONCACAF opponents at the tournament, winning just one of their seven games against such sides (D2 L4), a 4-0 victory against Mexico in 2011.

The last meeting between Japan and Costa Rica came in April 2017 when Japan ran out 3-0 winners in a friendly in Kumamoto. Goals from Kumi Yokoyama, Minami Tanaka and Yuka Momiki secured victory for the hosts on that occasion.

Japan vs Costa Rica Prediction

Japan vs Costa Rica Prediction World Cup 2023

Unsurprisingly, given their respective squad strengths and opening results in the tournament, Japan are made heavy favourites. They are looking to win their opening two games at a WWC for the third time, having previously doing so in 2011 (when they went on to win the tournament) and in 2015 as defending champions. Opta’s supercomputer gives them a 91.1% chance of doing just that.

Costa Rica are yet to win a WWC game, drawing their first two and losing their most recent two. Having not scored in either of their last two WWC games, and never keeping a clean sheet in the competition, they are given just a 2.4% chance of victory, while a draw is given a 6.5% chance.

Japan vs Costa Rica Squads

Japan: Ayaka Yamashita, Momoko Tanaka, Chika Hirao, Risa Shimizu, Moeka Minami, Saki Kumagai, Shiori Miyake, Kiko Seike, Miyabi Moriya, Rion Ishikawa, Hana Takahashi, Fūka Nagano, Hinata Miyazawa, Hikaru Naomoto, Jun Endō, Yui Hasegawa, Hina Sugita, Honoka Hayashi, Aoba Fujino, Riko Ueki, Mina Tanaka, Maika Hamano, Remina Chiba.

Costa Rica: Priscila Tapia, Daniela Solera, Genesis Pérez, Mariana Benavides, Maria Paula Elizondo, Valeria del Campo, Fabiola Villalobos, Maria Paula Coto, Gabriela Guillén, Carol Sánchez, Katherine Alvarado, Mariela Campos, Gloriana Villalobos, Emilie Valenciano, Melissa Herrera, Cristín Granados, Alexandra Pinell, Raquel Rodriguez, Emilie Valenciano, Catalina Estrada, Priscila Chinchilla, Sofia Varela, Maria Paula Salas.

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