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Jim Knight thinks the normally solid Japanese defence could come under pressure from Egypt's in-form strikers and has a 11/4 goalscorer pick in mind as his value bet

Not many people would have expected Japan to qualify top of a group that contained reigning world and European champions Spain, but Takashi Sekizuka guided his unbeaten side into the last eight with three clean sheets to their name.

The defensive strength the Japanese Under-23 side possess shouldn't come as a huge surprise though, their performances at the most recent Asian games saw them finish as champions having conceded just once in seven games.

The addition of over-age players for this tournament has only further bolstered the squad and, as such, Japan have been made favourites at 11/10 (2.10) to win in normal time.

One slight worry for Sekizuka may be his squad's cutting edge in front of goal. Although Spain offered very little in the final third in the opening group game, the Japanese had several guild edge chances to put the game beyond their opposition - who were a man down - but they failed to do so.

Goals have certainly not been a problem for Egypt coming into this match.

Their opening three Olympic matches have seen 11 goals, even if the performances were not as commanding as Japan's, and they certainly look a threat when going forward. Egypt are the outsiders at 12/5 (3.40) and the draw trades at the same price with Bet365.

A large part of that price is because all three over-age players will leave the squad for club commitments before this match takes place.

Both teams to score is an interesting market here, Japan's defensive strength sees the "Yes" selection priced at 11/10 (2.10) with "No" market the favourite at 4/6 (1.67) but Egypt's prolific record would indicate they could test their opponents resolve on Saturday.

Further confidence in the selection of both to score should come in the form of Egypt's lack of defensive strength which has been on show at London 2012 where they're yet to keep a clean sheet.

Backing "Yes" at 11/10 (2.10) looks the way to go here, especially with in-form Egyptian frontman Mohamed Salah Ghaly in the starting 11. The 20-year-old forward has been in fantastic form for his country, he has scored in all three group games and also found the net on his last two appearances for the Egyptian senior side.

He's a 15/2 (8.50) shot to score first which looks worthy of consideration for those in search of a big price to back but the 11/4 (3.75) on him to score anytime looks too good to turn down as a solid value bet.


BET
OF THE
DAY
BEST BET
VALUE BET
Both teams to score at 11/10 (2.10) with Bet365
Mohamed Salah Ghaly to score anytime at 11/4 (3.75) with Bet365

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Jim Knight is Betting Editor at Goal.com and has been tipping football games since he was old enough to place a bet. He is a Leicester City fan, writer and member of the We Are Going Up Podcast

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