Betting tip World Cup 2018: Colombia - Japan

Tuesday, 19.06.2018 at 14:00 o’clock (CET)

Exciting duel in Group H

Group H at the 2018 World Cup in Russia gets underway on Tuesday. This will include a duel between the teams from Colombia and Japan. This match will be a key indicator as to which team will secure itself a place in the knockout round. As always, in our 2018 World Cup betting tips we provide a full analysis of both teams’ current form. Kickoff is at 1 PM on June 19 (CET).

Colombia

  • a balanced team overall
  • never beaten by this opponent
  • physical advantages

Japan

  • finally won again recently
  • more pressure on Colombia

Current Form of Colombia

Colombia enters the tournament as the likely favorite in one of the most exciting groups at this year’s World Cup in Russia. In our opinion, José Pekerman’s players possess a perfect blend of team cohesion and individual ability, as they do a mix of experience and youth. Add to this the fact that reaching the 2018 finals isn’t unknown territory for this team, having previously performed successfully at Brazil 2014 as well. Back then, the South Americans made it into the quarterfinals and even boasted the tournament’s top goal scorer in the person of James Rodriguez. Now with Bayern Munich, this passionate midfield player is the driving force behind an enormously strong attack. Around him, we find Izquierdo and Cuadrado on the wings, as we do strikers captain Falcao, Luis Muriel and Carlos Bacca, all of whom also make a living with top clubs and are therefore used to the high tempo. We also note a physical advantage over Japan, with the Colombians famous for their robust approach to the game, resulting in the aforementioned good blend of physicality and playmaking skills. Furthermore, this squad has been able to develop defensively in comparison with the 2014 World Cup. In Tottenham’s young star Davinson Sanchez, they have a player at the heart of their defense who has the potential to become one of the absolute shooting stars of this tournament. Yerry Mina, though he had very few opportunities during his time at FC Barcelona, is very much a weapon in set-piece situations, having scored 3 goals in 12 internationals – not a bad number for a central defender. On the defensive flanks, they are also well manned in the form of Arias and Mojica, though they do lack a little breadth in this particular area. The fact is, Colombia is certainly able to compete well against big teams, as shown in their 3:2 win over France in March 2018. Plus, they haven’t lost a single international match this year, even though both of their matches against Egypt and Australia ended in 0:0 draws. Because of this, it is fair to assume that the Pekerman squad will have a tough time dealing with any opponent that fields a tough defensive unit and doesn’t allow the Colombians much space. However, whenever those spaces do open up, they certainly possess the dynamism and playmaking qualities to make the most out of things up front. The Colombians have demonstrated occasional problems against Asian teams, as we saw in a 1:2 defeat at the hands of South Korea towards the end of 2017. In Group A of South American qualifying, they had no easy task either. Ultimately, as fourth-place finishers they only ended up one point ahead of sixth-place Chile, who didn’t make it to the finals. Over the course of their qualifying campaign, we were particularly surprised by their offensive problems. While 21 goals in 18 matches isn’t a horrible number, last-place finisher in their group Venezuela actually only scored 2 goals fewer than Colombia.

Current Form of Japan

If you were forced to assign roles in Group H, this duel between Colombia and Japan would be billed as a match between the biggest favorite and biggest longshot in the battle to move on to the next round, with the Colombians arguably sharing their role as favorites with the Poles. During their preparations for the tournament in Russia, Japan was only able to convince at the very end. Just a few days ago, they celebrated a 4:2 success over Paraguay, their performance in the second half clear cause for hope since they were able to come back from a 0:1 deficit at halftime. Prior to that, they went through 5 winless matches in a row, with their offense, especially, giving great cause for concern: They lost against Switzerland 0:2, likewise against Ghana, accompanied by a 1:2 defeat at the hands of Ukraine and a 1:1 draw against Mali, a team which did not qualify for the World Cup. All of that notwithstanding: In their victory against Paraguay, their most important attackers definitely demonstrated their class. Takashi Inui netted two goals, while BVB star Kagawa also added his name to the list of scorers. However, whether stability really does return to the Land of the Rising Sun is a matter of some doubt. Not least because the beginning of 2018 saw the end of coach Vahid Halihodzic’s tenure, the man who took over this team in 2015 and had led them so successfully to these World Cup finals. They concluded phases two and three of Asian qualifying as group winners in both cases, only recording two losses in the process, once against the United Arab Emirates, and once in the final-though-meaningless match against Saudi Arabia. In December, they suffered a very consequential 1:4 loss against South Korea, which ultimately represented the writing on the wall for the Bosnian coach, further increasing the strain in the relationship between trainer and team. New trainer Akira Nishino had, as we mentioned, barely any success coming into the Paraguay much. Partially because the Japanese were experimenting tactically. One such experiment involved a three-man formation, which proved a complete flop against Switzerland. However, when we look at the overall skill level of Japan, they are certainly not in bad shape. A number of their players earn a living overseas, especially in the German Bundesliga, including midfield powerhouse Hasebe (Frankfurt) as well as Harguchi and Usami (Düsseldorf), along with the aforementioned Kagawa. In Okazaki and Muto, they can also count on two strikers who, in England and Germany, are the foundation stones of their teams (Leicester and Mainz). Between the goalposts they place their trust in World Cup veteran Ejii Kwashima. Unfortunate for Japan: This direct dual between Japan and Colombia does not bode well for the men from Asia: In their three previous encounters, the Japanese have only managed to score one goal. The last time they met was in the group phase of the 2014 World Cup, when Japan lost 1:4.

Prediction and Betting Tip

In our mind, Colombia goes into this match as the favorite, even though Japan recently returned to its winning ways. However, we see Japan as a significantly weaker team than Colombia. As a consequence, a bet on the Colombians winning this match appears logical. Our recommendation: Tip 1.

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