All about the Japan Team at Football World Cup 2018

If you think you know Japan, think again. It’s all change in the land of the rising sun under veteran international coach Vahid Halilhodzic. The Bosnian has not been afraid to ruffle the feathers of Japan’s big-name stars and drop players that do not agree with his methods, causing much debate amongst the Japanese supporters. Since Japan’s first foray into the World Cup in 1998, they have only made the last 16 twice and without the big names of some of the other teams in the competition they may struggle again.

Tips for Betting on Japan in the World Cup 2018

Vahid Halilhodzic’s controversial system has done away with the possession-based style that the Japanese are accustomed to, for more defensive tactics so betting on tight games with few goals would be likely to make the most cash. With discipline always high in the Japanese team, betting on few cards could prove lucrative.

Japan open against Colombia on 19th June, where they will seek revenge for Colombia’s 4-1 thrashing of them in their final group game in the previous World Cup. Colombia are not the convincing team they once were, with ageing stars such as James Rodriguez and Radamel Falcao failing to recreate the magic seen in previous years. Halilhodzic has taken the opposite tact of introducing young players in place of the main stars during the qualifiers and friendlies leading up to the tournament and will hope to capitalise through defensive play and well-timed attack. With odds of around 3-1 (decimal 4), a bet on Japan to win would be an interesting choice and those who like to take it a step further could do worse than to take a punt on a 1-0 win to Japan at 10-1 (decimal 11).

Bookies see the second game in Group H for Japan as a tighter affair, as they face Senegal. The African team have quality upfront in Sadio Mane if he gets himself back to full match fitness and keeps injuries at bay, but the Samurai Blue will be looking to keep him in check and draw would be a wise bet at 5/2 (decimal 3.5).

The final group game for Japan sees them face a strong Poland team, and even though it could be a must-win game for Halilhodzic’s men, it seems unlikely that they could get any result against the European team who are strong contenders in the competition. Robert Lewandowski in Poland’s attack is one of the most dangerous strikers around right now. Japan will struggle to contain him and a bet on Japan losing both the first and second half would be a good choice at 2-1 (decimal 3). A high number of corners could be expected in a match of this nature, with Japan furiously trying to keep out the Poland attack, and could be well worth a bet.

Betting Odds on Japan to Win the World Cup 2018

It would take a dreamer to believe in Japan winning in the tournament in Russia this summer, but the joy of football is that anything is possible. With the new regime’s system of defensive play and goals on the counter-attack, Japan could cause trouble for many teams as they disrupt their play. The current odds for Japan to win the World Cup are between 300/1 (decimal 301) and 200/1 (decimal 201), to reflect that it is a long shot, but a very lucrative one if the stars align.

Expected Japan Lineup at the World Cup

Vahid Halilhodzic has been using the pre-tournament friendlies to perfect his preferred style with a young, defensive team with Eiji Kawashima in goal, Gotoku Sakai and Yuto Nagatomo in the full-back roles and Maya Yoshida and Tomoaki Makino in the heart of the defence. Takuma Asano, Yosuke Ideguchi, Kazuki Nagasawa, Hotaru Yamaguchi and Genki Haraguchi play across the five man midfield, supporting Yuya Osako upfront. It is likely he will take this team, who have a range of European experience, into the tournament. Glaring omissions include Japan’s two biggest stars in Shinji Kagawa and Keisuke Honda, with many expecting Japan to struggle without their experience and skill. Halilhodzic does not believe they fit with his new plans, and it will be telling if he recalls them to the squad after the upcoming friendlies or if he will stick to his methodology and leave them at home. A veteran of international football having coached Ivory Coast and Algeria, Halilhodzic may have caused some debate in Japan, but his experience in this field should not be underestimated.

Vahid Halilhodzic’s style of play is suited to his well used 4-5-1 formation, with goals coming on the break from midfield to their lone striker Yuya Osako. Osako is tasked with holding up the ball and being the first line of defence, and with Halilhodzic opting to play with just one upfront, Leicester’s Shinji Okazaki looks to miss out in attack. With Southampton’s Maya Yoshida heading up the defence, the team will be hoping not to leak goals, however with no player scoring more than two goals during a qualifying campaign which involved ten matches, winning games might prove more difficult.

  • Maya Yoshida

    The only Premier League player to looking likely to feature in Japan’s team is Southampton’s 29-year-old Maya Yoshida. The defensive midfielder turned centre-back is an experienced member of the team, having played internationally since 2010 and is key in Japan’s defensive set up. He is also known to score goals, so a bet on him to snatch a winner could prove fruitful.

  • Yosuke Ideguchi

    We would expect to be talking about the stars such as Honda and Kagawa, but Halilhodzic has put all of his confidence in players such as Yosuke Ideguchi, who signed for Leeds United in the January transfer window, and is now honing his craft in Spain for Leeds’ feeder club Cultural Leonesa. The exciting 21-year-old midfielder has scored twice in eight international appearances, and this could be the tournament where he makes his name.