The clash between Japan and Senegal will be played at the Central Stadium in Yekaterinburg on June 24th. The Samurai Blue made a surprise in the opening round with a win over favored Colombia, while the Lions of Teranga exploited Poland’s defensive mistakes to get three points, and this tilt has the potential to be exciting and produce goals on both sides.
Japan vs. Senegal
Three-Way: 1: Japan +260; X: +210 Draw; 2: Senegal +135 (Odds provided by Delaware Park Sportsbook)
Spread +0.5:Japan -161; Senegal +125
Total 2.5 goals: Over +154; Under -185
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The game with Colombia started in Japan’s favor as Carlos Sanchez received a red card already in the 3rd minute as he purposely handled the ball in the box and Shinji Kagawa converted the penalty to make it 1-0. The Samurai Blue was a better team and had a couple of opportunities to double the lead but Takashi Inui missed a golden chance before Juan Quintero’s cheeky free-kick that went underneath the wall and beat Eiji Kawashima to make it 1-1. The punters who had both teams to score at +120 made the profit already in the first half.
Japan dominated in the second half and created several goalscoring chances, while Colombia didn’t even have an attempt on target, but they defended well until the 73rd minute when Yuya Osako met Keisuke Honda’s corner and headed it past David Ospina to give his nation a big victory. The odds on over 2.5 goals could be found up to +160, which is a great profit, while Japan to win at +400 was even better bet.
On the other hand, Senegal beat Poland 2-1 thanks to a couple of defensive errors from the Polish and excellent counter-attacking tactics. The Lions of Teranga got to a 1-0 lead in the 37th minute as Thiago Rangel Cionek scored an unlucky own goal after he deflected a shot which went into his own net. Although Poland tried to equalize in the second half and pushed Senegal to their penalty box, M’Baye Niang seized on the loose ball after a huge error from Jan Bednarek and Wojciech Szczesny and finds the back of the net from inside the box to double Senegal’s lead.
Grzegorz Krychowiak softened the defeat in the 80th minute after a great cross from Kamil Grosicki, but that goal helped the punters who backed both teams to score at +100 and over 2.5 goals at +150 more than his team to avoid a loss. The odds on Senegal to win were +230, so if you bet on the Africans here, congrats on making a nice profit.
Players to watch
Shinji Kagawa was the best Japanese player against Colombia before he was subbed off in the 70th minute, not only because he converted a penalty, but he also forced it and created a couple of good chances to Inui and Osako, so I expect to see more of the same from Dortmund’s player.
Sadio Mane had a pair of attempts on goal against Poland and a great pass success of 92 percent on 38 passes in total, and although he didn’t record a goal or assist, his presence made the players around him better. The Liverpool’s forward could be more involved in front of the Japanese net this time around and I think he could be the man of the match here.
Japan: Kawashima; Sakai, Yoshida, Shoji, Nagatomo; Shibasaki, Hasebe; Honda, Kagawa, Inui, Osako (Okazaki).
Senegal: N’Diaye; Wague, Koulibaly, Sane, Sabaly; Kouyate, Gueye, Sarr, Mane; Diouf, Niang.
Japan’s chances to lift the trophy in Russia are +25000, while the Samurai Blue is +1000 to make it to the quarter-finals. Senegal’s chances to win the World Cup are up to +10000, while the Lions of Teranga are +550 to reach the quarter-finals.
Senegal is a favorite at +135 on this one, but we already saw that betting on the winner in matches of this group is not such a good move as both favorites lost the opening games, so I am suggesting goals. Both teams proved they can score and have the players to do so, so I am going with goals on both ends, but over 2.5 goals at +154 could also be a good option.
The Pick: Both teams to score YES (+100)