Expectation back in Japan has reached fever pitch in recent weeks, with Keisuke Honda claiming that the Asian champions are capable of going all the way in Brazil.
Head coach Alberto Zaccherroni, however, has been keen to play down his side’s chances and, perhaps, a more realistic measure of Japan’s prospects of winning the World Cup is the 19/10 (2.90) quote from William Hill for them to get the better of their first opposition on Saturday.
Cote d'Ivoire battled to a hard-fought 2-1 win over El Salvador in their final warm-up match and the Elephants can be backed at 8/5 (2.60) with William Hill to kick off their World Cup campaign with a victory over Japan this weekend. The same firm go 2/1 (3.0) that the match ends in stalemate.
Former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba looks certain to lead the line for Sabri Lamouchi's side and William Hill have produced a tempting "headline offer" quote of 4/1 (5.0) that the veteran striker finds the net at any time in a victory for his side.
Shinji Okazaki was a key man for Japan in reaching the finals, the midfielder notching an impressive eight goals in 14 matches in qualifying and William Hill’s "headline offer" quote of 11/2 (6.50) for the 28-year-old to score at any time in a win for Zaccherroni’s charges is certainly tempting.
There should be no shortage of confidence in the Japanese camp ahead of this weekend’s Group C fixture, with the Asian champions having chalked up five successive victories in the build-up to the tournament.
That run of form is in contrast to the fortunes of Cote d’Ivorie, who have collected just two wins from their last seven matches.
With that in mind, Zaccharroni’s men appear to represent excellent value here and punters are advised to back Japan at a juicy 19/10 (2.90) with William Hill to claim all three points from this weekend’s clash.
|Japan to win at 19/10 (2.90) 1pt stake with William Hill
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