Japan coach Hajime Moriyasu believes his team still have a shot at the last 16 of the World Cup and can even beat former champions Spain, despite their dismal 1-0 defeat to a Costa Rica side that let in seven goals in their opening match.
The four-times Asian champions, who stunned Germany with a 2-1 win in their Group E opener, spurned a perfect chance to advance to the next phase on Sunday with a match remaining, conceding late on to a team that scored with their first shot on target of the Qatar World Cup.
Japan looked sluggish, static and out of ideas on how to beat a Costa Rica side that went for a rigid back five to prevent another hammering.
Moriyasu seemed reluctant to utilise his glut of attacking options on his bench.
"I don't think it was a total mistake from us," he told a news conference. "Against Spain we are going for the win and that's what we need to focus on. The next match against Spain will be a very intense game. We need to improve the odds for Japan."
Japan World Cup 2022 squad
Goalkeepers: Shuichi Gonda, Daniel Schmidt, Eiji Kawashima
Defenders: Miki Yamane, Hiroki Sakai, Maya Yoshida, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Ko Itakura, Shogo Taniguchi, Hiroki Ito, Yuto Nagatomo, Yura Nakayama
Midfielders: Wataru Endo, Hidemasa Morita, Ao Tanaka, Gaku Shibasaki, Kaoru Mitoma, Daichi Kamada, Ritsu Doan, Junya Ito, Takumi Minamino, Takefusa Kubo, Yuki Soma
Forwards: Daizen Maeda, Takuma Asano, Ayase Ueda
Who is their best player?
Going into the the tournament, Brighton newcomer Kaoru Mitoma had been dazzling for both his country, and his new club.
Former Brighton manager Graham Potter spoke about Mitoma after the winger made his debut as a substitute, claiming that he was "going to cause full-backs a problem".
"He has got that ability to go by people that is quite unique," Potter added.
In their 2-1 win against Germany it was goalkeeper Shuichi Gonda who took the official player of the match accolade, but Telegraph readers voted winning goalscorer Takuma Asano as their top performer.
What are Japan's fixtures and results?
November 23: Germany 1 Japan 2
November 27: Japan 0 Costa Rica 1
December 1: Japan vs Spain
What is Japan's World Cup record?
Japan have appeared at every World Cup since 1998, and have progressed to the round 16 in 2002 – during the tournament they jointly hosted with South Korea – 2010, and 2018. 2018's iteration saw them exit the tournament after a particularly lively match against Belgium, who ended up finishing third in Russia.
In 2019, Japan competed in both the AFC Asian Cup, where they reached the final, losing to Qatar, and the Copa America, which they were invited to participate in for the second time.
Japan qualified for the 2022 World Cup by coming second in Group B of the AFC qualification tournament.
Argentina | Australia | Belgium | Brazil | Cameroon | Canada | Costa Rica | Croatia | Denmark | Ecuador | England | France | Germany | Ghana | Iran | Japan | Mexico | Morocco | Netherlands | Poland | Portugal | Qatar | Saudi Arabia | Senegal | Serbia | South Korea | Spain | Switzerland | Tunisia | Uruguay | USA | Wales
Japan are currently a best price of 650/1 to win the World Cup.