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Belgium vs Japan - Preview - World Cup 2018

Belgium vs Japan
It’s do or die as we enter the Round of 16. The 2018 FIFA World Cup has produced enough upsets to says the least and should Japan get one over Belgium, I doubt there would be many who would be truly astonished by that feat. But this is Belgium, a team who have dominated from the get-go and lived up to their ‘dark horse’ label with the footballing world now believing that they can actually go all the way. Let’s find out at what we can expect from their clash with the Asians.


FIFA World Cup
Belgium vs Japan 
Round of 16 
Monday 2 July    
Rostov Arena    

To Win
Belgium 4/10
Draw 34/10
Japan 13/2


The Red Devils powered through the group stage to finish at the summit with maximum points from three games, scoring nine goals and conceding just twice.

Their campaign began with a 3-0 thrashing of Panama, before annihilating Tunisia 5-2. Roberto Martinez’s men then came up against England in a top-of-the-table clash with the Belgians grinding out a hard-fought 1-0 victory courtesy of an Adnan Januzaj strike.

Romelu Lukaku is Belgium’s top goal scorer with four goals to his name. The 25-year-old has led the line with power and finesse but his suppliers have made it simple with Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Dries Mertens offering creativity, pace and skill.

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Japan made history after being the first ever team to advance to the knockout stages on the fair play rule after picking up two less bookings in comparison to Senegal. Akira Nishino's side ended with the same amount of points, goals scored and goals conceded as the Senegalese, but were shown only four yellow cards during the group stages compared to the African team’s six.

The Samurai Blue started their World Cup campaign with a 1-0 victory over 10-man Colombia before playing to an exciting 2-2 draw with Senegal and ending their group stage bout with a boring 1-0 defeat to Poland.

Japan have failed to score in five of their past six World Cup games against European opponents (W1 D2 L3) – their only goals coming in a 3-1 victory over Denmark in 2010. Their performances have overall been below-par and they will definitely need to pick their game up against Belgium.

Probable line-ups:

Japan 4-2-3-1
Kawashima; Sakai, Yoshida, Makino, Nagotomo; Hasebe, Shibasaki; Haraguchi, Kagawa, Inui; Osako

Belgium 3-4-2-1
Courtois; Alderweireld, Boyata, Vertonghen; Meunier, De Bruyne, Witsel, Carrasco; Mertens, Hazard; Lukaku

Prediction:  Belgium (-1) Handicap (11/10)
I can’t see Japan getting anything out of this game, let alone a goal. The 4/10 price on Belgium is a banker bet but instead, I’m gunning for value. The (-1) Handicap is priced up at 11/10 – great value for the Red Devils.

Written by Aaron Crowie

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