Having changed their manager since securing a spot at Russia 2018, our tipster believes a tough tournament is in prospect for the Asian side
Group H looks one of the most open betting heats of the 2018 World Cup given there isn’t a standout top seed dominating the market.
bet365 price Colombia as 11/8 (2.38) favourites to emerge as winners after the South Americans put on an impressive display in the 2014 edition, losing to Brazil in the quarter finals.
Vahid Halilhodzic guided Japan to the World Cup playing a direct but effective style as the Asian side topped their qualification group with 20 points from 10 games ahead of Saudi Arabia and Australia. The Bosnian coach drew plenty of criticism in the media for his approach though, despite securing important results at crucial moments.
The decision to drop established players such as Keisuke Honda and Shinji Kagawa plus a move away from the traditional Japanese passing style of football saw him dismissed in April following some disappointing showings in friendly encounters.
Akira Nishino was named as the new manager but defeats to Ghana and Switzerland in the build up to the World Cup haven’t inspired much confidence in their prospects for Russia.
Friendly results shouldn’t be taken too literally of course, but there is little to suggest the level of performances are likely to be subject to the improvement required to make a positive impact in what is otherwise a well balanced group of teams.
The 63-year-old has played safe in his squad selection but the side who crashed out of the competition four years ago – failing to win a game in the process – could be set for another summer of disappointment.
With a relatively inexperienced manager on the international scene looking to implement a new style, albeit one that the nation has been used to seeing in the past, opposing the Samurai Blue could prove a profitable approach for punters.
bet365 offer an industry best 6/4 (2.50) that Japan finish bottom of Group H in Russia and while they don’t face the highest calibre of opposition that price is an attractive one.
Odds correct at the time of writing. Please gamble responsibly.