- Spain v Japan
- Thursday, December 1, 2022, 14:00 ET
- At the Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan
Japan needs to beat Spain in the final round of Group games, but that looks like a tough ask for Hashime Moriyasu’s team.
Who do Bettors Favor?
According to the best-rated online sportsbooks Spain is the strong favorite with bettors to win this game and claim top spot in Group E. Luis Enrique’s team is -250 with most bookmakers, while Japan is the underdog, available at odds from +690 to +775 and the draw is priced at +390.
|Spain v Japan|
World Cup Group E Betting Briefing
Group E was labeled as the Group of Death prior to the tournament, and while it hasn’t quite lived up to that title, it has been a fascinating Group, providing two significant shocks, plenty of goals and some high-quality football, with end-to-end action.
The tone of the Group was set when Japan beat Germany in its opening game, and Spain is the only one of the four teams to be relatively unscathed. After its success against the 2014 World Cup winners, Japan slipped to defeat against Costa Rica, which had lost its opening game 7-0!
Meanwhile, Germany salvaged some pride and kept its qualification hopes alive by drawing with Spain in a high-class game that featured plenty of chances and fast-paced action.
Going into the last round of fixtures, Spain is on four points and has a vastly superior goal difference, so is virtually assured of qualification, barring unlikely wins for both Costa Rica and Japan, but both Japan and Germany need wins to be sure of their places in the Round of 16
Spain in Control
Despite the apparently difficult nature of the Group, Spain has been in control throughout, easily beating Costa Rica in its opener and having the better of an entertaining draw against Germany. The seven goals it amassed in that first game provide an extra layer of insurance going into the last round of fixtures and just a point in this game would be enough to see Spain finish as the Group winner.
With an average age of 26.7, this is the fourth-youngest squad in the competition and yet has been the most dominant in terms of possession and one of the most effective creative lineups in the World Cup.
The advantage to be gained in topping Group E may not be as significant as expected, given the poor form shown by Belgium in Group F, with which this Group is paired in the Round of 16 draw. Belgium’s defeat against Morocco has thrown that section into disarray so Spain will go into this game not knowing which is their likeliest opponent in the Round of 16.
That isn’t a significant problem, however, as the Spanish players will feel confident of beating anyone in the tournament in their current form.
Japan In Contention
With one round of games to go, Japan is still in contention for a spot in the knock-out phase, but the frustration for manager Hajime Moriyasu is that his team could already have booked their qualification.
The victory over Germany in Japan’s first Group E game was more impressive than Saudi Arabia’s win over Argentina as Japan was good value for the three points, and it opened up a clear route through to the knock-out rounds. Having done all the hard work, Japan’s players will be bitterly frustrated that they couldn’t get at least a point against a Costa Rica team that had just lost 7-0 to Spain.
Still, the most realistic pre-tournament predictions would have put Japan on three points at this stage, and that is exactly where Moriyasu’s team finds itself. To qualify for the Round of 16, Japan will now have to repeat its German heroics against a team that is even stronger. It should make for a fascinating clash.
World Cup Group E Match Betting
Japan’s victory against Germany owed much to Moriyasu’s coaching. After Japan was overwhelmed in the first half, he made a switch to exploit Germany’s lack of a specialist right back and that adjustment paid off in spectacular fashion.
Luis Enrique will need to be aware of his opposite number’s tactical sharpness going into this game, but unlike Germany, Spain has strength in all departments. And whereas the high-energy approach of the Japanese players put Germany on the back foot at times, the relative youth of the Spanish players means that they are less likely to struggle against the same tactics.
Japan should raise its game here and this could develop into an interesting game, with plenty of goalmouth action, though ultimately, Spain will prevail in a high-scoring match.