Japan vs Senegal
Competition: 2018 World Cup finals
Date: 24 June 2018
Kick-off: 17:00 CET
Shinji Kagawa said something very interesting ahead of this game; “if we don’t improve, we’ll lose”, the experienced Japanese international said, despite the fact that his team beat the group favorite the other day. Even though Japan played against Colombia with an extra man for more than 90 minutes (added time included), they struggled to beat their South American rivals, they got equalized, and had to take the lead again, to pick up all three points. A victory tends to… overshadow everything else, but Kagawa had a point; Japan were very good, but I repeat, they played with an extra man practically in the entire match, plus, they found the Colombians in a rather poor day, individually. Even on three points from one match thus far, they shouldn’t feel their mission is accomplished.
If Japan were “very good” against Colombia, Senegal were “awesome” versus Poland. Not only they won 2-1, but they made things look rather… easy, opening the scoring in the first half, and practically putting the game to bed in the 60th minute, going 2-0 up. Poland’s goal came late, and even after that, Senegal showed good things, anything but panicking. All in all, it was the best performance by an African team in these finals, thus far, and a promise for even better days to come for Aliou Cissé’s team. Senegal were poor in most of their friendly games after they qualified for the finals, but the looked very improved against South Korea just before flying to Russia, and against Poland they showed that they are… finding rhythm.
Previous five matches:
Colombia vs Japan 1-2
Japan vs Paraguay 4-2
Switzerland vs Japan 2-0
Japan vs Ghana 0-2
Japan vs Ukraine 1-2
Poland vs Senegal 1-2
Senegal vs South Korea 2-0
Croatia vs Senegal 2-1
Luxembourg vs Senegal 0-0
Senegal vs Bosnia and Herzegovina 0-0
Japan’s last group match is against Poland, on Thursday. Same day, Senegal will be facing Colombia.
Japan vs Senegal: Head to head Stats
Japan and Senegal have met three times in the past, all in friendly games. They drew 2-2 in 1987, and the Senegalese won the other two matches, 2-0 in 2001, and 1-0 in 2003.
Japan vs Senegal: Prediction
I’m backing Senegal to win the game, and to practically seal their qualification for the last 16 of the competition.
Japan vs Senegal: Betting Tips
Senegal’s win pays 2.37 and is my main tip, as their double chance is at just 1.30. “Senegal to keep a clean sheet” pays exactly the same as their victory, 2.37.