Belgium will look to continue their perfect record in the 2018 World Cup when they meet a surprising Japan side in the Round of Last 16.
Belgium has probably been the most impressive team in the World Cup so far, routing Panama (3-0) and Tunisia (5-2) with ease before defeating England 1-0 despite resting most key players. After under performing in the last two big tournaments, this Belgian side seems ready to make a mark. The key pieces have matured and are in the prime of their careers, and manager Roberto Martinez definitely brought something extra as well. In his 24 matches in charge, Belgium lost just one game, his first one.
While Japan played good football and surely deserves praise for qualifying, the Asians can definitely consider themselves lucky as well for reaching this stage. First of all they benefited from Colombia conceding a penalty and a red card in the 3rd minute of the match against them, something which definitely facilitated Japan’s win. And, after claiming just one point in the next two matches against Senegal and Poland, Japan qualified due to having less yellow cards than the Africans – which was mostly (or at least in part) another lucky break.Bet on Belgium vs. Japan and claim your 100% (100 Euro) freebet at Ohmbet now!
Team news & lineups:
Lukaku and Hazard had some minor fitness issues in the last few days, but both are reported to be fit ahead of this clash, which mins both teams will be at full strength.
Belgium: Courtois – Alderweireld, Boyata, Vertonghen – Meunier, Witsel, De Bruyne, Carrasco – Hazard, Lukaku, Mertens
Japan: Kawashima – Sakai, Yoshida, Shoji, Nagatomo – Hasebe, Shibasaki – Haraguchi, Kagawa, Inui – Osako
Belgium has a golden generation of players who are at the peak of their powers, they are in good form, don`t seem to have any glaring weaknesses and have the right coach as well. All these have been suggested not only by their solid play in the World Cup, but by all the results since Roberto Martinez took over in 2016.
If the Belgians continue their good level of play (and build on it), they could realistically try to go all the way in the competition, and claiming a rather comfortable win over Japan in the process shouldn`t be that hard. With all due respect to Japan, which played well to qualify, it`s not like they are in some kind of zone, playing lights out football. They have been decent and benefited from favorable circumstances, not much more than that.
The Asians will surely put in the effort and will be feisty, and we know the KO matches in World Cup competition can be very tight affairs, so one always has to be careful when betting on heavy favorites like Belgium is now. Nevertheless, taking into account Belgium’s talent, form and offensive capabilities, there don`t seem to be any arguments for an upset here.
Backing Belgium to win with (just) a -1 goal asian handicap is enough respect given to Japan as far as I`m concerned, so that will be my tip. Prediction: Belgium – Japan 3-0.
Pick: Belgium (-1 Asian Handicap)
Odds: 1.64 @ Pinnacle
Possible profit: 5.76
Event date: 2 July