Prediction: Belgium vs Japan - My Arsenal Blog

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Prediction: Belgium vs Japan

Posted on July 01, 2018 by Veselin Trajkovic

Prediction: Romelu Lukaku to score.

Best odds: 10/11

Bookmaker: PaddyPower

The round of 16 of the ongoing World Cup in Russia has certainly kicked off in style, with two arguably best players in the world already out of the tournament as Lionel Messi’s Argentina bowed out to France while Cristiano Ronaldo couldn’t inspire Portugal to get past Uruguay.

Belgium will face Japan on Monday evening.

Japan

Belgium vs Japan may not seem like a very even contest on paper, but Japan have deservedly progressed from a difficult group H which saw Robert Lewandowski’s Poland and Sadio Mane’s Senegal go down the drain. They even beat he eventual group winners Colombia by 2-1, albeit with an advantage in numbers since the third minute when Carlos Sanchez saw the red card raised against him for stopping a certain goal with his arm.

The Team

Japan may not boast many players known in the Premier League, but we should certainly know all about Shinji Okazaki, Maya Yoshida and Shinji Kagawa. Takashi Inui as also an interesting player. The Eibar attacking midfielder came on after 65 minutes of their last-round defeat to Poland, and it became imediately clear how much they had missed his creativity and direct approach up to that point.

Belgium

Looking at the quality and the depth of the Belgian squad, it’s very hard to find a flaw. And while their previous campaigns may be regarded as somewhat disappointing, they certainly kicked this one of in style. They demolished Panama and Tunisia before beating England as two heavily rotated line-ups fought for the top spot in group G.

The Team

With four goals to his name so far, Manchester United’s Romelu Lukaku shares the second place in the race for the World Cup Golden Boot with Cristiano Ronaldo who won’t have a chance to increase his tally anymore. England’s Harry Kane is the only man ahead with five strikes so far.

Kevin De Bruyne is widely considered as the main reason for Manchester City’s convincing title run last season, while Eden Hazard of Chelsea is highly capable of running the show and winning games on his own. His teammate Thibaut Courtois is between the posts, and Spurs trio of Jan Vertonghen, Toby Alderweireld and Mousa Dembele are also there along with former Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen, Manchester City’s Vincent Kompany and Manchester United’s Marouane Fellaini. A truly formidable team, and that’s not even mentioning the likes of Dries Mertens, Thomas Meunier, Adnan Januzaj or Michy Batshuayi.

Interesting Facts

  • Even though Belgium are considered favourites, the two teams have so far played five times with the European side winning only once, two draws and two wins by Japan;
  • So far, Belgium have shown arguably the most of all teams participating in this World Cup;
  • Lukaku’s path to a potential Golden Boot has been made a little easier with Ronaldo and Messi out of the tournament.

Prediction: Romelu Lukaku to score.

Best odds: 10/11

Bookmaker: PaddyPower

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