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Dejan Lovren and Luka Modric of Croatia after qualifying to World Cup Round of 16.
Dejan Lovren and Luka Modric of Croatia after qualifying to World Cup Round of 16. Photo by Ayman Aref/NurPhoto via AFP.

Croatia beat out Belgium to qualify in Group F despite star midfielder Luka Modric and his teammates showing a less imaginative and more pragmatic version of the 2018 runner-up variant. How will they fare when they take on Japan? Find out with our Japan-Croatia World Cup picks.

Four years ago, Croatia reached the final of the World Cup, losing the last act to France. It’s hard to imagine them going so far in the tournament once more, as the mix between the experienced players and the young guns looks less productive.

However, Croatia remain a top team capable of delivering when they must. The same can be said about Japan, though.

Japan surprisingly beat Germany (2-1) and Spain (2-1) in the group stage but also lost to Costa Rica (1-0), making millions wonder which exactly is their real face at this World Cup.

Here are our picks for Monday's World Cup match between Japan and Croatia (odds via DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).

Japan vs. Croatia Game Info

Date: Monday, Dec. 5, 10:00 a.m. ET
Coverage: FOX Sports 1, Telemundo,, Peacock
Location: Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah, Qatar
Weather: 83 degrees, 2% chance of precipitation, 9-mph winds

Japan vs. Croatia Picks

  • Moneyline: Draw (+230 via DraftKings)
  • Over/Under: Under 2.5 (-110 via DraftKings)
  • Prop bet: Red card in match (+360 via FanDuel)

Japan vs. Croatia ML Pick

Draw (+230) ★★★

Expectations are that this is going to be a close encounter with little to decide between the two teams. Croatia drew 0-0 both against Morocco and Belgium in the group stage, so they are familiar with draws at this World Cup.

Japan’s reactive style suits opponents who are looking to control hostilities at any cost, which is not necessarily Croatia’s case.

Croatia have mature players who know how to adapt to the opponent, so they will risk only as much as they feel is needed. Croatia have no issues sitting behind the ball and playing the underdog role themselves if they feel that’s the strategy that will allow them to go through.

Japan proved they aren’t best-equipped to win matches they start out as favorites, losing 1-0 to Costa Rica in the group stage.

A draw looks like a possible result, given that both sides look ready physically to handle a 120-minute drama if it comes to that.

Japan vs. Croatia O/U Pick

Under 2.5 (-110) ★★★★

There shouldn’t be much to separate these two sides. It’s unlikely that we’ll witness an open match, with attacks flowing from one box to another.

Both Japan and Croatia will look to speculate a big error and hit on the counter if the occasion comes, or to profit from a set-piece situation.

This clash is expected to be a low-scoring, fierce battle for a spot in the quarterfinals, with both teams investing all their energy into progressing.

Japan vs. Croatia Prop Pick

Red card in match (+360) ★★★

The expected script of the match suggests there will be many interruptions, as contact will be the piece of resistance for both Japan and Croatia while trying to contain their opponent’s attacks.

That's an open invitation to cards, and American referee Ismail Elfath is no stranger to the yellow and red variety. At this World Cup, he refereed two matches: Portugal vs. Ghana (3-2) and Cameroon vs. Brazil (1-0). In each of them, he showed six yellow cards, with a red coming in the dying seconds of the Cameroon vs. Brazil game.

At +360 via FanDuel, a bet on a red card in Japan vs. Croatia is worth taking into consideration.

Where to Bet on Japan-Croatia Picks

  Here are our best World Cup betting sites:  

Japan-Croatia picks made 12/4/2022 at 11:29 a.m. ET