Belgium vs Japan – Preview, Predictions and Betting Tips
This match is over.
Final score: Belgium 3 – 2 Japan
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2nd July 2018 – 19.00 GMT
Samara Arena, Samara
Belgium secured top spot in Group G thanks to winning all three matches in their group over Panama, Tunisia and England – racking up nine goals and keeping two clean sheets in the process.
Japan’s passage to the last 16 was a little less serene. Their opening day win over Colombia (after their opponents were reduced to ten men in the third minute) was followed by a draw against Senegal and a defeat to already-eliminated Poland. They became the first ever nation in the World Cup to advance due to a disciplinary record.
Belgium have more quality throughout their ranks and should be clear favourites to win this, with 2/5 for them to triumph reflective of such expectation.
This game is likely to be closely-fought but it should be remembered than Belgium kept two clean sheets in the group stages and have five in their last seven outings. They are a team who can nullify the opposition and with plenty more quality in the attacking third, should have enough for victory. A 2-0 Belgium victory is a likely outcome, priced at 11/2.
Knockout matches tend to be cagier affairs than group games as there is more significance upon the result with sides swaying more towards caution. Japan are likely to adapt a conservative approach to this game and try to nullify Belgium’s attacking threat, whilst hitting on the counter-attack. This game is likely to be marked by Belgian territorial dominance against a deep-lying defence. Fewer than 2.5 goals is available at 9/10.
Belgium are currently on an unbeaten streak of 22 matches – of which they have won 16 – a run stretching back to the June 2016.
- Belgium to win the World Cup at 13/2
Japan have won just two of their last nine matches, and have lost five of those, while they have also lost their last five matches against European nations – including a friendly against Belgium in November.
- Japan to qualify for the quarter-finals at 9/2