Japan may be through into the last 16 but they stay the position outsiders to win the tournament and it would be a huge mad if they beat Belgium here. The Red Devils will expect to advance to the past eight and it might only be then when we get a true idea of whether Belgium are real contenders or are going to come up short against the other elite teams.
On paper they have been really impressive under Roberto Martinez, unbeaten because a friendly defeat to Spain in his very first match in charge almost two years back. However they’ve opted to avoid playing the big teams from friendlies, came via a comparatively feeble qualifying group and three matches into the 2018 World Cup, we are not really any wiser as to how they’ll form up against the top sides.
Easy wins over Panama and Tunisia followed what was little more than a’B’ Team’ game against England that will have educated Martinez little he didn’t already know. The exact same could well be the case here with Belgium vastly superior on paper and also with a host of players to return in to the side with new legs.
Japan’s advancement to the last sixteen was perhaps the least glorious in the history of the contest. Their sole group win came from a Colombian side that played with 10 men for 87 minutes. They ultimately advanced thanks to some superior Fair Perform album to Senegal, with a farcical ending to their final game with Poland effectively seeing Japan prevent yellow cards and settle for a 1-0 defeat in the expectation that Senegal would not flat against Colombia.
It was a gamble that paid off but trainer Akira Nishino can not be proud of his side improved and there’s more than a part of irony they made it through on Fair Play, although at the identical time arguably bringing the match and even the whole tournament into disrepute. You can know this to some extent but it speaks volumes that Nishino had more religion in Colombia seeing off Senegal than in his team’s chances of scoring a goal that could have guaranteed advancement against an underwhelming Poland side.
It is hard to make any kind of situation for Japan here. They’ve lost their last five matches against European resistance, among which was a favorable with Belgium last year. To provide them a little credit, they performed fairly well in their second group game against Senegal and played some good football but against a side of Belgium’s caliber, they’re very likely to fall short in all sections.
The Belgians were the best scorers in the group stage, rattling in 9 goals and Romelu Lukaku will likely be licking his lips at the prospect of a final sixteen tie with Japan. It offers him a chance to go top of this Golden Boot standings along with the big striker should be in a position to win any physical tussles against the Japanese defence. With 7 goals in his past 4 internationals, financing Lukaku to score anytime appeals .
The same goes for financing Belgium -1 Handicap. They’re masters in the art of placing considerably weaker teams to the sword and prior to the non-event that was the England match, they had won four straight matches by 3 target margins, against sides in this World Cup while they averaged 4.3 goals per match in qualifying, and the combined best album in Europe.
Belgium Predicted Lineup: Courtois, Alderweireld, Boyata, Vertonghen, Carrasco, Witsel, De Bruyne, Meunier, Hazard, Mertens, Lukaku
Japan Predicted Lineup: Kawashima, Sakai, Shoji, Yoshida, Nagatomo, Hasebe, Shibasaki, Inui, Kagawa, Haraguchi, Osako
Read more here: http://chokhmah.academy/?p=18842