With the round of 16 looming in Qatar, bookies aren’t feeling particularly confident about Japan’s chances… But backing the surprisingly ascendent team might just be the best bet you make this World Cup.
The Samurai Blue, who were ranked 23rd in the world entering the 2022 FIFA World Cup, have been one of the most exciting sides to watch so far at the biggest single sporting event in the world – with their win this morning over Spain being a particular highlight.
Despite taking down Spain, however, bookies are still giving Japan fairly long odds of winning the whole thing. For example, SportsBet is currently only giving Japan AU$51 odds to take home the World Cup: longer odds than Croatia ($31), who they’re set to play next in the round of 16, but better odds than Uruguay ($81), Morocco or the USA (both $91).
For comparison, Australia is getting $201. Ouch. The odds-on favourite remains Brazil, with Sportsbet paying out $3.30 as of publishing.
Yet considering Japan’s recent form, they could be a bit of a dark horse. Beating Spain was no mean feat, nor was beating Germany, another footballing powerhouse. Okay, their loss against Costa Rica was a bit embarrassing, but the fact remains that the Japanese seem in remarkably good form.
The odds are against them for their game against Croatia ($2 for Croatia, $3.90 for Japan and $3.20 for a draw) but they could feasibly beat the Balkan side. They’d likely have to face Brazil after that, which seems a bit more daunting, but let’s just see…
All we’re saying is that a punt on Japan now could make you some serious yen if they end up taking it home.
2022 marks only the seventh time Japan has appeared in a FIFA World Cup, although Japan has been one of only a handful of countries to host a World Cup, sharing hosting duties with South Korea back in 2002. They’ve never made it past the round of 16 before… But this could be their year.
Japan plays Croatia on Tuesday 6th of December at 2am AEDT.