Belgium v Japan Betting Tips & Preview – Monday 2nd July 2018

Belgian Flag Japanese Flag

Belgium moved to the top of Group G after beating England but their reward is a potentially more difficult looking route to the final. Roberto Martinez and his men cannot look that far ahead though, instead keeping all their focus on this knockout clash with Japan.

If Japan can overcome the odds here then it would mark their best ever World Cup campaign. The Blue Samurai have never gone further than the round of 16 before, the stage they were eliminated at in both 2002 and 2010.

Top Tips

Belgium to win @ 4/11

Belgium to win with -1 handicap @ 11/10

Odds correct at time of writing but may have changed since. Check site for latest prices.

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Belgium Form

Belgium extended their unbeaten run to 22 matches after seeing off England in a drab final group stage game. Both teams rotated their sides heavily and it seemed that only the Red Devils had any intention of winning the contest. With England seemingly happy to drop down into second place, Belgium created the better chances in the match and they sprayed the ball to one another with very little pressure. The only thing to take from this match given the changes the two sides made, is that Roberto Martinez has some solid squad depth.

To see Belgium at full strength, you have to look at their two earlier group stage games. They were initially frustrated by Panama but turned up the heat in the second half, firing in three goals. Romelu Lukaku netted twice and the Man United striker grabbed himself another brace against Tunisia. The Red Devils came out the blocks flying against the North Africans and their five goal haul did not flatter them as they looked a constant danger whenever on the ball. Roberto Martinez wouldn’t have been pleased to see his men concede from a set piece but there were few criticisms to be made of their performance.

England v Belgium 28th June 2018 0-1 Win
Belgium v Tunisia 23rd June 2018 5-2 Win
Belgium v Panama 18th June 2018 3-0 Win

Japan Form

Japan have performed better than expected this tournament but they’ve shown little that will concern Belgium. They got off to a winning start in Group H but you would perhaps expect them to beat a Colombia side reduced to 10 men after just three minutes. Given that they did have a man advantage, the Blue Samurai hardly looked dominant and they almost threw away their lead again late on. When facing 11 men of Senegal, Japan had to settle for a draw in what was a fairly evenly matched contest.

Akira Nishino’s men should be commended for their attitude after twice coming back against the Lions of Teranga. They created some decent chances throughout the match but just lacked that clinical touch at times. Their efforts against Poland however cannot be praised as they slowly prodded the ball around the defence towards the end of the match. Japan were 1-0 down at this point but with Senegal losing, second place was still theirs thanks to their superior fair play record. Their lack of ambition and sportsmanship drew widespread criticism and it doesn’t say much about them if they were worried about being more comfortably beaten by an already eliminated nation.

Japan v Poland 28th June 2018 0-1 Loss
Japan v Senegal 24th June 2018 2-2 Draw
Colombia v Japan 19th June 2018 1-2 Win

Head to Head Stats

Belgium beat Japan shortly after their final World Cup qualifiers, Romelu Lukaku scoring the game’s only goal as he became Belgium’s all-time record goalscorer.

The pair have met once previously at the World Cup back in 2002. Belgium’s former manager, Marc Wilmots, getting himself on the scoresheet in a 2-2 draw.

14th Nov 2017 Belgium 1 - 0 Japan Belgium Friendly
19th Nov 2013 Belgium 2 - 3 Japan Japan Friendly
31st May 2009 Japan 4 - 0 Belgium Japan Kirin Cup

Injuries & Suspensions

Roberto Martinez’s first choice eleven is nicely rested for this test after all 10 outfield players skipped the England game. Japan were at full strength against Poland but were still able to enjoy a rest in the last 15 minutes of the game as both teams gave up trying.


  • Romelu Lukaku - Injury sustained against Tunisia only a minor one and he’s back raring to go.
  • Thomas Vermaelen - Suffered a bloody clash of heads against England but injury only a cosmetic issue.


  • No injuries

Betting Tips

Belgium are the overwhelming favourites for this match, and for good reason too. They are full of confidence right now and their talented squad should be able to show their superior class in Rostov.

Belgium to win

Belgium last lost a match 23 games ago and Roberto Martinez deserves plenty of credit in guiding them to this long streak. They’ve put in the odd disappointing shift in time such as the 0-0 draw with Portugal in early June but have risen to the occasion in Russia. Japan simply do not have the same quality as the Red Devils, looking worse man for man in every department and their work rate alone will not be sufficient here.

Belgium -1

When Belgium win games they often do so with a good degree of comfort. Japan don’t have the attacking names to cause the Red Devils many issues but their opposition have a star studded line-up capable of scoring plenty. Roberto Martinez has seen his men win four of their last five matches by at least three goals so clearly they are not a side who tends to sit on a lead.

Lukaku to score

The powerful talisman is set to return for this game and he’ll be looking to pick up where he left off. He’s looked so sharp so far this World Cup and has a fine record scoring against weaker opposition as he has so often shown for Manchester United. Belgium’s record goalscorer has only failed to score once in his last 11 international appearances, making him a wonderful anytime scorer bet for this game.

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