Japan entered the World Cup after a tumultuous period for their program. Akira Nishino was hired as coach after a bumpy qualification. He had just two months to prepare his team. It all makes for a poor World Cup betting combination. But in the opener Nishino led Japan to an upset win. They will now be up against a Senegal team that also posted an upset win in their first match. Senegal and Japan are the surprise teams of Group H. The upstart tandem was picked behind Poland and Colombia. But now it’s a battle royal!
2018 FIFA World Cup Japan vs. Senegal
Date and Time: Sunday, June 24, 2018, 11 a.m. ET
Location: Central Stadium, Yekaterinburg
World Cup Betting Online Odds: Click here!
2018 FIFA World Cup TV Coverage: FOX
Japan so Far
Japan wasted no time taking the initiative in their 2-1 win over Colombia. Shinji Kagawa scored a penalty at the six minute mark to set the tone. Colombia tied the game at the 39 minute mark. But then Yuya Osako scored the game winner on a header. He took a fine corner pass from Keisuke Honda to break the deadlock. Colombia was a favored World Cup betting choice in the match. And picked to win Group H. To say it was a landmark win for Japan is appropriate. At the very least!
Senegal so Far
Poland received a lot of sportsbook online hype entering Russia. They were touted as a potential dark horse team. Not much attention was being paid to Senegal. Yet they were able to score a 2-1 upset of the Poles. Senegal jumped out to a 2-0 lead. Thiago Cionek opened the scoring for them at the 37 minute mark. Teammate M’Bayne Niang put Senegal up 2-0 with 60 minutes elapsed. It proved to be the game winner as the Poles got a late desperation goal with 86 minutes gone. But victory belonged to Senegal.
Unknown to many is that Senegal does bring ability to this World Cup. But its only the second time that they have qualified. As a result they lack public betting cache. Coach Aliou Cisse was derided during qualifying. His tactics are great for an afternoon nap. Senegal is not going to thrill fans with offense. But Cisse had the last laugh by getting his team into the party. The one legitimate concern is that the coach is suffocating some of his talent. Ultimately Cisse wants defense first. But then unleashed individual talent on the counter.
Sadio Mane is among the many good forwards for Senegal. He was named Player of the Year as a rookie for Liverpool. And is a top Premier League talent. Mane had eight goals in nine qualifying matches.
For Japan all eyes will be on Keisuke Honda. The talisman is far happier with new coach Nishino. His rocky relations with Vahid Halihodzic prompted the coach’s ouster in April. Honda showed his ability with the corner kick assist in the first match. Honda is the biggest star in Japan. The 31 year old is also a respected team leader.
Matchup to Watch
This looks like one of the most even World Cup betting matches so far. It should be tight. A defensive struggle is likely.
World Cup Betting Odds Picks
Expect Japan and Senegal to play to a draw
World Cup Betting Online Pick: Draw
World Cup Betting Online Score Prediction: Japan 0, Senegal 0
Check out a profile of Japan star Keisuke Honda!