Moriyasu: Croatians play with flexibility, tenacity

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Japan coach Hajime Moriyasu gives instructions to the team during the match against Spain at Khalifa International Stadium in Doha on Thursday.

DOHA — Ahead of Japan’s match against Croatia on Monday in the round of 16 at the Qatar World Cup, Samurai Blue coach Hajime Moriyasu made it clear he is not underestimating the Croatians, who he said “play with great flexibility and tenacity.”

Runner-up at the previous FIFA World Cup, Croatia is captained by 2018 Ballon d’Or winner Luka Modric.

“I want [the team] to spend as much time as possible controlling the game so that we can score goals,” Moriyasu told reporters a day after Japan’s historic victory over Spain on Thursday.

The team was given a day off on Friday, with players spending the day relaxing with family and friends.