Kick-off: 1000, 31/07/2021
Stadium: Kashima Stadium
Japan were the only team to win all three group-stage games at the Tokyo Olympics and look worthy favourites to see off New Zealand.
The Kiwis did look defensively sound in two of their matches, though, so we’re not expecting this to be a blow-out now the pressure is on in the knockout rounds.
Let’s go with 5/6 for the hosts to prevail and under 3.5 goals in the game as our first Japan vs New Zealand prediction.
A Look At Japan’s Betting Odds
Japan are captained by former Southampton defender Maya Yoshida and also have ex-Marseille full-back Hiroki Sakai to keep things tight at the rear.
Going forward, Real Madrid-owned youngster Takefusa Kubo, who has done well on loan with Mallorca, Villarreal and Getafe, is leading the way with three goals.
The 2012 semi-finalists opened with a 1-0 victory over South Africa and then edged out Mexico 2-1.
However, it was a 4-0 drubbing of France which made people really sit up and take notice, with Kubo scoring first in all three of those fixtures.
Hajime Moriyasu’s side like to start strongly and 11/5 for them to be 1-0 up at the break appeals from the Japan vs New Zealand odds.
A Look At New Zealand’s Betting Odds
New Zealand have a couple of familiar faces in Blackburn striker Chris Wood and West Ham defender Winston Reid, who helped Brentford earn promotion to the Premier League when on loan last term.
The younger players in their ranks really do lack experience of competing at a high level, though, and that could catch them out.
Wood grabbed the only goal of the game in a decent 1-0 defeat of South Korea and netted in a 3-2 loss to Honduras.
A goalless stalemate was then good enough to keep them just ahead of Romania as Group B runners-up.
Danny Hay will have his team well drilled at the back and any New Zealand outfit will always hold their own in physical battles.
Whether the Kiwis have the quality to progress further is open to doubt, though, and 14/5 for them to lose by a two-goal margin is added to our Japan vs New Zealand betting tips.
France 0-4 JAPAN – Kubo, Sakai, Miyoshi, Maeda
Romania 0-0 NEW ZEALAND
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