One of the most competitive groups in this FIFA World Cup comes to an end as Japan take on Spain. Both teams are in a prime position to advance to the knockout stage. Spain is first with four points, whilst Japan is in second with three points after the damaging defeat against Costa Rica. Get your best betting odds for the clash at the Khalifa International Stadium.
This will be the first meeting on the FIFA World Cup stage. Japan is ranked in 24th place whilst Spain are seventh, which is lower than in recent years.
Japan looked like a team poised to secure qualification to the knockout stages against Costa Rica, but a counter-attacking move halted their progress. In the game against Costa Rica, Japan did not take advantage of mistakes or lapses of judgement that their opposition made, like against Germany. In the upcoming game, a similar approach might be used by Hajime Moriyasu to deal with the high amounts of possession by Spain.
The Japanese squad has great talent with a great mix of young and experienced players, which will be useful as they make it through to the later stages of the tournament.
After the perfect start, thumping Costa Rica 7-0, Spain faced a very diligent German side and still managed to break them down thanks to the inclusion of Alvaro Morata. The midfield pair of Gavi and Pedri has been magnificent for Spain and both youngsters have taken this opportunity by the scruff of the neck.
The balance of the team looks great when attacking and also defending. One will have to see them up against a team that really pushes them deep inside their box. Having Rodri playing in centre-back might expose their lack of pace in that backline. Luis Enrique would love to get a victory over Japan, putting his mind at ease with that first place in the group.
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*Odds subject to change. Odds correct at time of publishing