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Japan vs Saudi Arabia Predictions

  • 11:00
  • Expired
  • Al-Sharjah Stadium
Saudi Arabia

odds when tipped

odds when tipped

Tip Reasoning

Japan haven’t exactly flourished in UAE yet, but they’ve been solid and have ultimately got results thanks to having a little bit of class. If they can move through the gears on Monday, then Samurai Blue can show people why they entered this tournament as favourites to go all the way.

After their exploits in Russia, where they made it out of their group and very nearly upset a star-studded Belgian side in the last-16, Japan would’ve been expected by many to blow teams out of the water in this lesser tournament, though they’re yet to record a clear-cut win. The Japanese did qualify for the knockouts by topping Group F with maximum points, though they didn’t have to beat much.

From an attacking point of view, the Japanese have looked useful in terms of creativity; they made lots of chances for themselves against Turkmenistan on match-day one, which is just as well since they conceded twice, while they created plenty when clocking 1.97 expected goals for against Oman in their second game. They weren’t as good against Uzbekistan last time out, but they still had the quality to win the game and score twice. They’ve not blown teams away, but Samurai Blue have at least shown that they can create plenty of scoring opportunities, while they’ve also given the impression that there’s more in the tank.

However, while Japan have looked useful in the final third, they’ve not looked too clever at the back. They conceded twice against Turkmenistan on match-day one, while they were also caught out against Uzbekistan last time out. Hajime Moriyasu’s men have looked a little shaky when teams come onto them, while they’ve also looked susceptible to the counter-attack.

Like Japan, Saudi Arabia have looked good going forward; they started the tournament by notching four goals against North Korea, while they continued to do well both in terms of creativity and end-product when scoring twice against Lebanon on match-day two. That said, they looked weak at the back when facing Qatar last time out. They had already guaranteed themselves a place in the knockouts, though they were still trying to win the group. On that occasion, it was easy for their opponents to pick them off on the break, which doesn’t bode well ahead of a match against a Japanese attack that has already looked good and that probably has considerably more to give.

At present, Japan are odds-on favourites to win this match, which seems slightly excessive. On paper, Japan do have more about them and they ought to be favourites, though is the disparity in quality great enough to merit such a disparity in prices between the pair? Probably not. The bet that does stand out at the prices is ‘Over 2.5 Goals’. Both teams have shown plenty going forward, while neither have looked too sharp at the back when push has come to shove. As two relatively weak back-lines go up against two useful attacks, who between them are averaging 2.92 expected goals for at this tournament, backing the goals to go in represents a slither of value.

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