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Daizen Maeda’s goal gives Japan 1-0 lead over Croatia in Round of 16 match [VIDEO]

The Asian side strike first in the knockout game.

Japan v Croatia: Round of 16 - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
Daizen Maeda of Japan during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Round of 16 match between Japan and Croatia at Al Janoub Stadium on December 5, 2022 in Al Wakrah, Qatar.
Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

It took nearly an entire half but Japan finally broke through against Croatia to take a 1-0 lead in the round of 16 contest. Veteran forward Daizen Maeda found an opening in the box and put home a deflected cross to give his side a lead as the first half winds down.

There was a brief VAR check but the goal stood after everyone was found onside. Japan entered this contest as heavy underdogs at DraftKings Sportsbook, priced at +300. This was despite their wins over Spain and Germany in the group stage. Meanwhile, Croatia had to withstand significant pressure to get a draw and secure a knockout spot. Japan have been underdogs this whole tournament and just keep finding ways to win.

Maeda’s goal is his second for Japan in international competitions and his first at the 2022 World Cup. He’ll be hoping to add another as Japan try to make the quarterfinal round.