Belgium clash with Japan at the Rostov Arena in Rostov-on-Don on Monday evening as they seek to seal a place in the quarter finals of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
The Red Devils won all three of their group stage games, finishing as leaders, and bagging a ton of goals in the process. They go into the game as heavy favourites, with most of their star players having been rested for the game against England.
Japan made it into the Round of 16 at the expense of Senegal who, despite getting the same points and goal difference as the Blue Samurai, crashed out thanks to fair play rules.
It will be a big match for both teams and particularly a platform for Roberto Martinez’s men to showcase their immense team talent.
Here’s our preview of the match. We have focused on popular betting markets to help you place your bets wisely. Odds used in the game are the latest from bookie Betfair.
PREDICTION AND BETTING TIPS
Belgium are a massive 4/11 bet to win the game inside 90 minutes and 2/13 to qualify while Japan can be backed at 19/2 to emerge victorious in normal time and 9/2 to qualify. A draw has been set at 15/4.
Squad depth and recent form all point to a Belgium win tonight. The Red Devils have not tasted defeat since December 2016 and have registered convincing wins in each of their last five fixtures.
Japan have won just two of their last six games, and only managed to make it into the last 16 courtesy of fair play rules.
We reckon it will be an easy win for Belgium tonight.
Romelu Lukaku, who has four goals in two games so far in the tournament, is quoted high at 5/6 to find the back of the net and 11/4 to score the first goal of the game. Compatriot Michy Batchuayi is a 10/3 bet to break the deadlock and EVS to score anytime ahead of Eden Hazard who is priced at 7/5 to score anytime and 4/1 to be the first on the scoresheet.
Dries Mertens – who’s been pretty impressive for Belgium as well sits level with Nacer Chadli down at 11/2 to open the scoring and 21/10 to score anytime.
OVER/UNDER 2.5 MATCH GOALS
In their last five fixtures, Belgium have failed to score 3 or more goals only once – in their last group game against England. We expect them to dictate the scoresheet tonight and continue their fine form in front of goal with most of their star players expected to feature.
The over 2.5 goals prospect has been quoted at 3/4 while under 2.5 goals is down at 11/10.
BOTH TEAMS TO SCORE
Belgium finding the back of the net tonight is virtually guaranteed with the Japanese having conceded in each of their last fixtures. The Red Devils, on the contrary, have conceded only three goals in their last eight fixtures – an incredible feat bearing in mind they have scored a whopping 22 themselves. We don’t reckon they will let Japan breach their defense.
The prospect of both teams scoring has been priced at 21/20 while the contrary is a more improbable 4/5.