Today’s Predictions: Japan Vs Belgium
Japan 2 – 3 Belgium
The 6th round of 16 match of the FIFA World Cup 2018 is one between the in-form Belgium and surprise qualifiers Japan.
- Date : 2nd July 2018
- Time : 11:30 PM (IST)
- Venue : Rostov Stadium
Belgium looked absolutely dominant in their group stage, winning all 3 games convincingly. They are living up to their billing as one of the tournament favourites, while Japan can count themselves slightly lucky to qualify, as they found themselves ahead of Senegal on the fair play table.
FIFA World Cup Qualification
Japan cruised past their initial qualifying group, winning all their games after drawing the first one 0-0 with Singapore. In the third round, they faced a huge hiccup as UAE beat them at home, however they recovered and earned a huge win over Saudi Arabia also, before a huge 2-0 win over Australia (their first win over them in 8 attempts), secured automatic qualification for them.
Belgium dominated their way to World Cup qualification, scoring a record 43 goals while conceding only 6. Though they were placed in relatively easy group with Bosina – Herzegovina and Greece their only real challengers, The Red Devils delivered a strong statement of intent that their ‘Golden Generation’ is more than ready to live up to that tag. They won 9 matches and drew one to Greece, with Lukaku leading the way with 11 goals and Eden Hazard in stupendous form himself.
Japan have endured a miserable run of form of late, with 4 defeats in their last 6 matches. The only shining light is that they comprehensively defeated Paraguay 4-2 in their most recent fixture. A 1-1 draw to Mali aside, they have sufferance consecutive defeats to Belgium, Switzerland, Ghana and Ukraine, scoring just 1 goal in those 4 matches, while conceding 7, which is a huge cause of worry for their fans.
Belgium are unbeaten in their last 4 games, as Roberto Martinez seems to have gotten the perfect formula for all their big name players to gel. Big wins against Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Costa Rica proved their potent attack can be devastating, while a 0-0 draw against Portugal was a good test for their defence.
Japan and Belgium in the World Cup So Far
Japan caused a huge upset of their own with a massive win against the much-fancied Colombia. Japan got a penalty very early on in the game, with Colombia’s Sanchez also getting sent off for a deliberate handball, giving Japan a very important numerical advantage. They kept their nerves and eventually won the game 2-1. In their second game, Japan showed great spirit to make an inspirational comeback and tie the game 2-2 in the dying minutes. However, they lost their last game to Poland, but still managed to qualify over Senegal.
Belgium were dominant as expected against Panama, with Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne eventually stepping up to assist Romelu Lukaku. The defence, along with Thibaut Courtois, is also looking confident and this bodes well for the side for the games ahead. They went on to record two more impressive victories over Tunisia and England to complete a perfect record in the group stages.
Head To Head Record
These two nations have met 5 times before, and Japan have won twice and Belgium have won just once in those fixtures.
Japan’s biggest worry in recent times has been the fitness of their inspirational captain Makoto Hasebe, who spent the entire 2017/18 season out with injury, however, he has been declared fit for this tournament. Several youngsters, such as Takuma Asano and Yuya Kubo will be making their debuts at the World Cup.
Belgium have one of the most formidable starting lineups in the tournament, with defensive cover cited as their only weakness. A major shock was the exclusion of AS Roma’s combative midfielder Radja Nainggolan from the final 23 man squad, a decision which forced the player to take immediate retirement from international football and sent shockwaves down the European football circuit. Belgium would be happy to have Michy Batshuayi back from a lengthy injury though.
Players To Watch Out For
For Japan, veteran goalkeeper Kawashima is back as the first choice keeper, while other stalwarts like Keisuke Honda and Shinji Kagawa are still around to carry their nation forward with their experience. Leicester’s Shinji Okazaki is their best hope in attack, while Southampton’s Maya Yoshida is a rock at the back.
Belgium have an abundance of world class talent to choose from, none more so than Chelsea’s mercurial forward Eden Hazard. Widely considered as one of the best players in the world, this could finally be Hazard’s golden chance to prove that he is on the same level as Messi and Ronaldo. Kevin De Bruyne, arguably the Premier League’s best player last season will be pulling the strings in midfield, while Manchester United’s striker Romelu Lukaku would be gunning for the Golden Boot straight away.
Japan Vs Belgium Betting Odds And Key Statistics
- This is Belgium’s 13th World Cup appearance.
- Japan’s first ever world cup was as recently as 1998. They have never made it beyond the round of 16, and failed to qualify from their group at the 2014 World Cup.
- Romelu Lukaku has also scored 4 goals already, and we would recommend betting on him to score 2 or more in this match.
- Belgium won their first 4 games at the 2014 World Cup before being eliminated by Argentina in the quarterfinal. They are heavy favourites to reach the quarterfinal stage this time around as well.
- Japan scored plenty of goals with their fearless style of play, while Belgium scored 9 and conceded 2 goals during the group stages. Hence, we recommend betting on the above 2.5 goals market and the both teams to score market.
This match is expected to be a one sided affair, as Belgium have looked unstoppable at this world cup and have probably been given the easiest fixture of the round.
Our Predicted Score line : Belgium 3-1 Japan