Both Japan and the Netherlands commenced their 2010 World Cup campaigns with impressive victories. Heading into their opening fixture as the underdogs, Japan’s pace and timely scoring flustered a strong Cameroon side, spurring them on to a 1-0 victory. Meanwhile, the Oranje of the Netherlands got off to a tepid start, yet woke up in second half to secure a 2-0 victory over Denmark.
With both teams currently tied atop the Group E standings, this fixture will be vital in terms of advancing to the round of 16.
Netherlands vs Japan Betting Odds:
Over 2.5 (+114)
Under 2.5 (-129)
Keys to the Game:
Japanese coach Takeshi Okada has warned their Dutch opponents that his side will be targeting an all-out victory. Prior to the tournament, Okada believed Japan had the talent to reach the final four in South Africa, a proclamation that was laughed off by most soccer pundits. Now, it’s Okada who’s doing the laughing as his squad looked confident in defeating Cameroon and will look to continue their impressive run against the Dutch. In their opening game, Okada utilized the star player for the Blue Samurai, Keisuke Honda in a lone striker role, but expect him to shift back to the midfield against the Netherlands. Japan generally struggles to produce goals and opportunities, so expect young striker Takayuki Morimoto, who was sidelined for the Cameroon fixture, to feature in a prominent role for the Japanese.
The Netherlands see an excellent opportunity in this match against Japan. Dealing with health issues to some of their best players, mainly Arjen Robben, the Dutch will look to secure an easy three points against Japan with hopes of resting their stars in their final group match. Playing in a World Cup after months of domestic competition is tough on the body, and a team as loaded in talent such as the Netherlands may struggle later on. Although it was initially believed that Robben was to be fit against Japan, it is looking like he will remain sidelined, with hopes of him returning for the final game versus Cameroon. Expect the Netherlands squad to attack a Japanese side they should be able to effectively pass the ball around. Midfielder Wesley Sneijder was brilliant in his team’s first match, completing 94 percent of his passes and controlling the game in the midfield. More of the same will be needed from the team’s stars if they want to rout Japan, in hope of solidifying first place.
What to Expect:
Netherlands’ second-half performance against Denmark exemplified the unbelievable quality of this side. The team is brimming with confidence, and contains a necessary balance between determination and skill to be victorious in a tournament like this. They look to have the makeup of a team ready to finally get over the proverbial hump, and it will continue with a relatively easy match against Japan. Although the Japanese are diligent workers, with great pace, Netherlands should have their way with the Blue Samurai. Do not be fooled by Japan’s opening match. Although they secured the 1-0 victory, they generated few chances and looked unorganized on the attack. Although coach Okada has his sights set on attacking with the Dutch, expect them to begin with a conservative approach. The Netherlands on the attack will be lethal and if Japan chooses to trade chances, this game could be over quickly.
Netherlands vs Japan Match Prediction: Netherlands 2 – Japan 0
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