Senegal vs. Japan
|Date & Time||Sunday June 24, 2018, 11:00 AM (EDT)|
The Line: Senegal +110 / Japan +297 / Draw +222 -- Over/Under: 2.5
Japan and Senegal meet Sunday in World Cup soccer action at Central Stadium.
Few teams came into this tournament in worse form than Japan, as the club was dealing with a coaching change and outside noise from a frustrated fanbase. Maybe a 2-1 victory over Columbus can get the Japanese back on track. Japan was obviously helped by an extremely early red card on Carlos Sánchez and a penalty goal from Shinji Kagawa, but the only thing that matters in this tournament is the result. Japan is sitting pretty with three points and went from being a team that likely gets bounced in group stages to a team with new life and a chance to get to the round of 16 for the third time in their last five World Cup appearances. Overall i the victory, Japan controlled the ball for 58 percent of possession and got six shots on target. It’s obviously a lot easier to play a team that has one less guy on the field, but that Japan effort was something we haven’t seen in a while and is an encouraging sign moving froward.
Senegal is another club that shocked its first round opponent and has three points after beating Poland, 2-1. The Lions of Teranga were able to take advantage of an own goal by Thiago Cionek and then put the match away late when M'Baye Niang found the back of the net. Despite giving up four shots on goal while getting just two of its own, Senegal controlled the pace of the match and looked like the better team from start to finish. Senegal has now lost just once in its last 11 matches, and while the competition hasn’t always been great, this is a club that has to be quite confident right now and feel it can go toe-to-toe with any side you put in front of them. Senegal have a chance to make it out of group stages for the first time since their last World Cup bid in 2002.
There’s no previous meetings between these two sides.
With both of these teams coming off what most would consider an upset and sitting atop the group with three points, it’s going to be interesting to see how aggressive either side is going to be. This could be one of those matches where both teams park the bus and are fine taking a point to increase the odds of advancing to the next round. Senegal is the better team and Japan was helped drastically in its opening victory, but what’s done is done and we often see teams get conservative when they’re already sitting pretty in the group.
I’ll side with a draw in a defensive battle.