Round of 16: Belgium vs Japan - soccer world cup Preview

Belgium vs Japan

It's David vs Goliath stuff at the soccer world cup as Japan prepare to stand to stand toe to toe with Belgium in the Round of 16. 

It’s do or die as we enter the round of 16! With the amount of upsets we've seen thus far, would it really be that surprising to see Japan come out on top?

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.

Belgium vs Japan | Rostov Arena | Monday 2 June | 20:00

To Win Match (90 Mins) 
Belgium 4/10 
Draw 34/10 
Japan 13/2 

The Red Devils powered through the group stage to finish at the summit of Group G 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 considerably easier with Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Dries Mertens offering creativity, pace and skill.

Japan made history after being the first ever team to advance to the knockout stages on the Fair Play points rule after picking up two fewer 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 stage compared the African team’s six.

The Samurai Blue started their soccer 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 tame 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 been below-par overall and they will definitely need to pick their game up against Belgium.

Verdict: Belgium (-1) Handicap (11/10) 
I can’t see Japan getting anything out of this game, let alone a goal. The 4/10 Belgium win 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. 

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