Japan vs Croatia odds and prediction: who is the favourite in the World Cup 2022 game?
The Samurai Blue, who beat both the Spaniards and the Germans in the group stage, are now tasked with achieving another first: winning a knockout game at the tournament. In three previous appearances in the World Cup last 16, Japan have lost to Turkey (2002), Paraguay (2010) and Belgium (2018).
Hajime Moriyasu’s men are about to face a Croatia side who came second in Group F, behind Morocco – another unexpected group winner.
World Cup runners-up four years ago, the Croats squeaked through ahead of Belgium, and in part have Romelu Lukaku to thank for that. The Belgian striker’s string of misses against Croatia ensured that Zlatko Dalic’s side got the match day-three draw they needed to qualify.
- Japan have conceded the opening goal in all three of their World Cup games so far
- Both sides have excellent quality going forward and Japan came from behind to win against both Germany and Spain
- Croatia will be looking for a fast start and look a good option to score the opening goal
Given their greater World Cup pedigree, it’s not surprising that the bookmakers are backing Croatia to beat Japan. That said, they’re not overwhelming favourites and according to latest odds, bookies are pricing a Croatia victory at 1/1 whereas the odds on a Japan win is just behind at 13/5.
A draw is valued at 11/5.
In between their upset victories over Spain and Germany, Japan managed to lose to Costa Rica. So who knows what they’re capable of?
One thing that appears probable, though, is that their clash with Croatia won’t be a goal-fest. The Croats were involved in two 0-0 stalemates in the group stage, and conceded just once; meanwhile, it’s three and a half years since Japan last played in a game that saw both teams score more than one goal.
And don’t hang your hat on the tie being done and dusted inside 90 minutes, either: five of Croatia’s last six major-tournament knockout games have gone to extra time, and two of those needed penalties.
Prediction: Croatia 2-1 Japan (after extra time)