Well, after a fairly even game, both team got points. Japan’s hero turned out to be goalkeeper Kawaguchi. I’ve never been much of a fan of his, as he rarely seems to catch the ball, preferring a more dramatic, but less practical punching style but perhaps due to him, it ended Japan 0 – 0 Croatia.
That said, he did deflect Coatia’s first half penalty and made some decent *catches* during the game. Japan’s best outfielder was probably long serving Hidetoshi Nakata, though his after match interviews seemed to show a lot of his frustration, not helped by his Coach’s insistence that the weather was detracting from Japan’s ability to play – an odd defence given Japan’s usual early summer temperature, and something Nakata denied.
Ultimately though, the nil scoreline reflected both side’s inability to finish, Croatia’s via inaccuracy, Japan’s purely through hesitation, though as with their previous game, they showed they could push the ball around well. Here’s to a good final game against Brazil – if they’re going to go out, go out in style!