World Cup 2022: One damning statistic sums up the first half of Japan vs Costa Rica

Yuto Nagatomo of Japan and Anthony Contreras of Costa Rica compete for the ball during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group E match between Japan and Costa Rica at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium on November 27, 2022 in Doha, Qatar.
(Image credit: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

We've seen some dire games at the World Cup 2022, but Japan's Group E clash with Costa Rica has so far set the bar at its lowest level yet.

In sweltering conditions at the Ahmed bin Ali Stadium – where temperatures topped 30C – the two teams played out a goalless first half.

And you think that sounds boring... you'd be absolutely right: there wasn't a single shot on target during the opening 45 minutes – the first time that's happened this tournament (and only the third time across the last two World Cups).

That said, there had already been six games at Qatar 2022 in which the first half saw just one attempt hit the target – so perhaps this utter stalemate shouldn't have come as any great surprise.

Still, Costa Rica will be somewhat satisfied: they didn't have a single shot (on or off target) as they were demolished 7-0 by Spain in their opening match.

Victory for Japan – who pulled off a shock 2-1 win over Germany in their opener – will put them on the cusp of qualifying for the last 16, and leave Costa Rica on the brink of going home.

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Tom Hancock started freelancing for FourFourTwo in April 2019 and has also written for The Analyst and When Saturday Comes, among others. He supports Wycombe Wanderers and has a soft spot for Wealdstone. A self-confessed statto, he has been known to watch football with a spreadsheet (or several) open...