Colombia vs Japan World Cup 2018
For the second time in two World Cup tournaments, Japan and Colombia find themselves in the same group. This news is probably more of a comfort to fans of the South Americans, who will be fully aware that they brushed aside Japan during their clean sweep of Group C in Brazil. The 4-1 win was the final nail for the Japanese, who finished last in the pool despite still being a chance of qualifying had they won this match.
Japan’s record against South American nations both at the World Cup and in general is quite poor, although their 11-14-28 W-D-L record is somewhat skewed thanks to a 0-3-18 record against Argentina and Brazil combined. Even so, they have never beaten Colombia in a football match, and will go into this one as definite outsiders considering the gulf in quality between the AFC and CONMEBOL federations.
Japan qualified first in their AFC group, yet are ranked at 61st in the FIFA official standings, while Colombia are 16th in spite of barely making it through the South American qualification phase. Remarkably, Colombia sit behind Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Peru and Uruguay as the sixth best nation from the region according to the rankings; this fact neatly sums up the likely gap on the pitch.
Surprisingly though, the South Americans aren’t huge favourites in this match according to the top online sportsbooks and are a great value pick, both for this match and to reach the Round of 16. In this particular matchup, Colombia enter at -155, while you can get +262 for the draw. Japan are obviously favoured somewhat as they appear at +469 – in our opinion they could offer much more in terms of odds.
Our prediction for this match is a somewhat straight forward win for the Colombians. With talented attacking players like James Rodriguez and Radamel Falcao available for selection, alongside a sturdy defence featuring Tottenham Hotspur’s Davinson Sanchez, we are thinking the margin will be at least two goals, although we acknowledge that Japan too have good attacking options in Shinji Okazaki and Keisuke Honda.
For that reason, we’re predicting both teams to score, and going with a final result of 3-1 to the Colombian side.
Colombia vs Japan Preview
James Rodriguez came of age at the 2014 World Cup, although he has been below his devastating best in recent times. With plenty to prove, and a World Cup golden boot trophy to defend, we could see some goals from the forward, who also scored what was voted the best strike at the 2014 tournament. In a group that lacks some of the bigger nations, he could bag another handful of goals, and this is a match where he should definitely feature.
If you agree, your best option is to take a look at the player markets. Rodriguez is a great chance in the any time goal scorer market, while he will most likely appear alongside teammate Radamel Falcao at the top of the first goal scorer line. We find it hard to imagine than neither of these two will score in this match, so it is definitely worth a punt.
As indicated above, we also believe Japan will score, particularly if they get an opportunity from set pieces. Keisuke Honda is an absolute weapon from dead ball situations, while Shinji Okazaki is the man to finish off Japanese counter-attacks (we expect Colombia to dominate possession of the ball in this match). Both are best considered in the any time goal scorer market rather than the first goal scorer as we think Colombia will score first.
For player markets, make sure you wait until the final squad is announced to ensure your selection is playing in the match. If you pick a first goal-scorer, it’s not ideal for your player to start off the bench. This tip is also relevant to betting across all lines available.
Head to Head Alternatives
Colombia are a great value bet in this match, and should be enough to satisfy your betting appetite. However, if you’re looking to place a more substantial wager, there are a number of options available.
The scoreline we have predicted indicates that both teams will score, and there is of course a market for that. You will get +114 for both teams to do so, which is good value and slightly more than the money you will get for a Colombian victory.
We have stated that we expect goals, and the more goals that are scored the more likely there will be goals in each half. Colombia are paying +188 to score in both halves, which is not a bad bet either.
If Colombia score in the first 45 minutes, chances are they will lead at half-time and go on to win the match. For this reason, there’s always value in placing a bet on the half-time/full-time double market. Colombia are paying +163 to lead at the break and win the game, which is another value pick.
Finally, there’s always the correct score market if you’re really looking to cash in. Our pick of 3-1 to the Colombians is paying huge odds (+1421), while the favoured result appears to be a 1-0 victory to Colombia (+425).
Group H Betting Odds