Japan v Paraguay Preview: Odds & Betting Tips – Tuesday, 29th June
Japan v Paraguay Betting Odds
Kick Off: 15:00 GMT
Credit where it is due really for the Asian nation. Their coach Takeshi Okada stated before the tournament that he expected nothing less than a berth in the semi finals of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. While the rest of the world would not have paid much heed to his words, other to mock them, Japan have stood up to be noticed. They saved their best performance for the final World Cup group match against Denmark, in which they looked a relaxed side, even though the pressure was on them to avoid defeat. They opened up a comfortable 2-0 lead, with star man Keisuke Honda putting on a master class in midfield, including banging home the best free kick of the tournament so far from 30 yards. That was his second goal of the campaign, and along with Yasuhito Endo in the midfield, made relatively light work of the Danish, and booked themselves a second round tie against Paraguay. Neither Paraguay nor Japan have been into the quarter final stages of the World Cup, and so history will be made come the final whistle of this match. Japan finished in second place behind Holland in their group, and will be pretty pleased with the solid performances they have put him, and their final group victory will have given them a great deal of confidence going into their second round match.
The strength of the Japanese all comes from midfield. That is where all of their influence and inspiration comes from. While it is their main strength, it can also be their weakness, if the their opponents decide to flood the midfield and suffocate their main avenue of attack. The Blue Samurai were not expected to make it into the second round of the tournament this year, being behind Denmark and Cameroon in the group betting. But they have proved their doubters wrong, joining South Korea in the second round from Asia. Japan are organised at the back, and they can fall into defensive mode quite easily, as they look to endure games. But, as shown against Denmark, when they have the time and space to put their foot on the ball, then it is a different matter altogether. They can be quite potent going forward, but again it will all stem from their key midfielders. Cut off their supply lines and they can be beaten. Paraguay will be well aware of this. Japan are industrious as expected, and can play at a pace which will trouble some of the more experienced teams in the competition. Their defensive blue wall has served them well, keeping the attacking prowess of Holland at bay for example in their second group fixture. Japan, on their day, can be a real handful, and while the golden generation of players may have passed, there is a lot of optimism that their rebuilding is heading in the right direction.
The South Americans were fancied as a dark horse coming into the tournament, in World Cup betting they were not really fancied to top their group. But that is what they did, qualifying in first place ahead of Slovakia, which meant that the defending World Champions Italy were going home early. Paraguay have a lot to offer at the World Cup, and their group matches have shown enough for them to build upon. They were always a defensively weak side, but coach Gerardo Martino has appeared to have sorted out those particular problems, and they looked a tight unit. They have conceded just one goal, and that coming from a goalkeeping howler, which gave Italy their equaliser in their opening fixture of South Africa 2010. With a solid win over Slovakia, Paraguay played their way into pole position, but they will have been scratching their heads as to why they could not break down New Zealand after dominating the game. Ultimately the 0-0 draw did not harm them, but they will know that they need to put away their clear cut chances when it comes to the knockout stages. After a successful qualification campaign from South America, Paraguay, with their new balance and poise, will be fully confident of progressing through to the quarter finals of the World Cup for the first time.
Watching Paraguay, they seem to have shifted to more of a defensive side than one would have expected, especially with the wealth of talent they have in their forward ranks. Perhaps they know themselves that South Africa 2010 represents their best chance of getting deep into the competition, and they are playing with a sensible air of caution as opposed to being all gung ho about their attacking qualities. While they have strung together some great moves, and have carved defences apart, they have not scored as many goals as they would have expected, just three in their three games. They really do have the talent and flair to punish teams, and Japan could be in the firing line for that. What Paraguay do well, is move the ball around the pitch very well as a unit. They look very comfortable on the ball, and in keeping possession, and while you sense an urgency in them to get forward, they have looked quite patient and conservative. The one thing about Paraguay which intrigues punters the most, is that they really have not been challenged that hard, and they have really not bee tested. They have plenty of power to tap into when they do need to throw a little more caution to the wind and push forward, and that should be the difference between the two sides here.
Japan v Paraguay Betting Tip: Paraguay to win by 1 goal 11/4 at Bet365
Current Paraguay V Japan Odds: