Japan and Spain have never faced off in a competitive clash and this fixture Thursday will decide who will advance further in the competition. Visit our sportsbook to get the best World Cup markets and bonuses.
Spain and Total Over 2½ (Ev)
Spain enters this fixture, the first competitive meeting between these nations, as obvious favorites to qualify, with La Roja sitting on four points, one point ahead of both Japan and Costa Rica and three clear of Germany.
Needing only a draw to top the section, Spain could yet be knocked out should they lose here, and Costa Rica beat Germany. An unlikely scenario, of course, yet Spain should still be up for this one, as they look to settle the section in their favor.
For the Japanese, a golden opportunity to qualify was thrown away in their disappointing defeat to Costa Rica however, a draw could be enough should the Germans fail to win by more than two goals. A Japan victory would ensure their topping of the group.
Japan will have its work cut out on Thursday. They will have to play on the counter-attack, something they have relatively little practice doing. Japan’s chances of a positive result are further dented by the fact that Spain is not yet through to the knockout stage. Spain’s pace and creativity are top-notch and we expect them to score at least three goals on their own.
Spain Half-Time/Spain Full-Time (+105)
Between 2008 and 2012, Spain won three international tournaments without conceding a single goal in the knockout rounds. This current side is not as good as that one, but there are certain similarities: possession domination, pressing from the front, and an ability to give up few clear-cut chances.
They always start strong and try to solve the match in the first half and if you’re betting online we advise you to take this bet. We expect Spain to capitalize by maintaining their excellent form, which has seen them win six of their last seven matches while losing only one of their last thirteen.
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Alvaro Morata Anytime Goalscorer (+125)
Despite playing just 70 minutes at the World Cup, Alvaro Morata has scored in each of his two substitute appearances against both Costa Rica and Germany and has surely done enough to earn his first start of the tournament against Japan.
Luis Enrique’s side looked much more of a threat against Germany after the Atletico Madrid striker was introduced in the second half, causing all sorts of problems with his runs in behind. Spain’s coach will definitely rotate the squad against Japan because he needs fresh legs in the knockout stages and this is a great opportunity for Morata to star and score his third goal in the tournament.
The 30-year-old forward has scored 30 goals for his country and has a record of around one goal in every two matches whilst on international duty, so you should include him in your soccer picks and parlays.
The odds and predictions in the article are based on the time of writing and publication. They may differ as to when the actual event takes place.