Is this match as one-sided as the market suggests or is Japan severely underestimated? Find out as we break down the soccer betting odds and match-up.
Japan is the first team to qualify for 2014 FIFA World Cup
Keisuke Honda powered the Blue Samurai into next year’s World Cup in Brazil, converting an injury time spot kick that salvaged a draw against Australia and saw them grab one of two direct qualifications from Group B in Asia.
Japan became the first team to qualify for 2014 FIFA World Cup, joining hosts Brazil at the global showpiece. It marks their fifth consecutive World Cup appearance – an impressive run that just underscores their marker as the top-rated team in Asia (at No.32 in FIFA world rankings) and demonstrates how much Japanese football has been evolving over the years.
Alberto Zaccheroni has overhauled the Japanese side since taking over the reins and despite a slow start to the Brazil campaign, the Blue Samurai got it together in the final stage. Impressively so, with a 4-2-1 record and 14 points and a positive goal differential that includes 15 goals scored and just five conceded.
In March, Japan needed but a point to qualify for Brazil but a shock 2-1 defeat away to Jordan (while Honda was sidelined with injury) delayed that ambition. Inasmuch as Japan missed the opportunity then though they wouldn’t on their next shot against Australia in Saitama, capitalising in dramatic fashion with a last gasp equaliser that sent them through before their delighted fans.
Over the 19-month qualifying stretch, Japan has clearly moved from strength to strength, leading many to believe this might be the best Blue Samurai offering yet. For Zaccheroni, Japan’s qualification to the World Cup is evidence of this as well as a signal of intent towards making history at this month’s FIFA Confederation Cup beginning with their opening game.
Now that we know Japan is joining hosts Brazil at the World Cup, it does seem fitting that the pair are set to open the much-anticipated FIFA Confederation Cup. However, while Zaccheroni is clearly confident about his men’s chances, bookmakers aren’t buying what they are selling – they list Japan at a whopping +3300 to win outright for our sports picks, which incidentally, is the second largest price after Tahiti at a rather outrageous +150000 at Bet365. As well, they send Japan into the opening match as the significant underdogs at +850 to win outright and even put the draw similarly out of reach at +450.
Brazil eager to get test its World Cup preparations
Brazil is flush off an impressive 3-0 win over France in friendly action but few will be reading overly into that result. Why? Well, let’s face it, it was a watered down French team that made the trip to South America as Didier Deschamps took the opportunity to preview a young crop of players. A group that had very little international experience at the senior level on the whole and that, when all was said and done, left much to be desired: they failed to win a single match or score a goal in any. A Brazil side with big names such as Hulk and 57 million-euro striker Neymar (just to name a few) was a mismatch that was bound to play roughshod with France. So the takeaway from that is debatable.
Moreover, the win marked only the second win in seven games for Brazil with Luis Felipe Scolari at the helm. Granted, they only lost one match during this stretch, a 2-1 defeat to England at Wembley – a setback that they readdressed with a 2-2 draw earlier this month. But a 2-4-1 mark in seven games isn’t exactly superb, now is it?
Then again Brazil is the most successful nation in Confederation Cup history since its inception in 1992, winning three times including the last two in 2005 and 2009. Add to that home edge in this year’s instalment of the competition and it’s not surprising that odds makers have them as the firm favourites at +140 to win outright, shorter odds than those available on the defending World Cup champions and Euro Cup champions Spain.
As far as this matchup goes, Brazil has the decided advantage on paper, encapsulated by -333 betting odds on the win at Bet365. Four times these teams have met and Brazil has yet to lose a match – twice winning and twice settling on the draw. In October, Brazil beat Japan 4-0 in a friendly and in the last World Cup encounter they beat them 4-1. Since we’re on the subject, you can find correct score betting markets for your soccer picks on Brazil at +1100 for a 4-0 win or +1600 for a 4-1 win. Odds makers however seem to favour a 2-0 win by Brazil at +500. A 1-0 win or a 2-1 win come in at the next best prices of +750 and +900, respectively.
Soccer Betting Verdict
Undoubtedly, Brazil is the correct favourite and, thus, the popular play. At the same time however odds-makers do seem to be underestimating Japan in the market, especially given their recent upsurge in form and confidence. Buoyed by becoming the first nation to secure qualification for World Cup and motivated to prove their mettle on the international stage, Japan could make this a closer match than expected. After all, this is an opportunity for them to gain their measure against some of the world’s best teams such as Brazil is and a positive account in their opening match will go a long way towards that goal.
Soccer Free Picks: Brazil to win at -333 and by a score of 2-1 at +900 – odds courtesy of Bet365 .