A 0-0 draw, but this was another of those rare goal-less draws that entertained in terms of attacking play.
Croatia and Japan went at each other like mad dogs but at the end of the day, lack of precision in front of goal (the Croats missed a penalty) combined with consistently rubbish refereeing made for no goals and a really good chance for Australia to go through to the second round.
Once again – pointless yellow cards and free kicks. I’ve tried being diplomatic about it for a while but it’s bleedin’ obvious the standard of refereeing has to improve.
What was really interesting about the match was to see how both teams played the game – the Japanese relying on sheer pace and hitting on the break, while Croatia relied more on skillful buildup and possesion football. In both cases the final ball eluded the two sets of strikers, although Croatia came closest with almost a dozen corners, a missed penalty and twice as many shots.
Croatia play Australia on the 22nd, while Japan play Brazil – doomed, you might say, to go out in the group stages. Croatia still have a chance though – it all depends on how the next match (Brazil v Australia) plays out. If Australia win, they are through to the second round but if they draw or lose, Croatia will go through by beating Australia on the 22nd.
Seeing Japanese supporters celebrate the draw underlined the result – Croatia had to win this match, and they might have blown their chance to go to the second round.
On to the next match.
[tags]Japan, Croatia, World Cup 2006, Group F[/tags]