Belgium go head-to-head with Japan for a place in the quarter-finals of World Cup 2018.
The Blue Samurai can perhaps consider themselves to be the most fortunate to be in this match as they only squeezed out Senegal to take the runners-up spot in Group H by virtue of Fair Play points.
Belgium will certainly provide Akira Nishino’s side with stiff opposition, for Roberto Martinez’s men were one of just three teams to win each of their three group games.
It is no surprise, then, that William Hill make Belgium their 2/5 (1.40) favourites to advance inside 90 minutes.
Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku, Dries Mertens and Axel Witsel should be recalled for Belgium after being rested in the 1-0 win over England in the final group stage match.
Each of the four men who have scored for Japan in Russia – Shinji Kagawa, Yuya Osako, Takashi Inui and Keisuke Honda – were named as substitutes for the Blue Samurai’s game against Poland.
Kagawa, Osako and Inui could all come back into the side, but Honda is an unlikely starter, for the veteran midfielder has played just 38 minutes of the campaign thus far.
Shot-shy Blue Samurai?
Japan have scored in just one of their last six World Cup fixtures against European opponents and William Hill go 7/10 (1.70) that Nishino’s side fail find the net against Martinez’s men.
Belgium could claim a comfortable win as they scored nine goals – more than any other side – in the group stages and they boast a formidable attacking force.
Japan, meanwhile, have managed just one clean sheet in their last 16 matches.
William Hill’s 23/20 (2.15) quote for Martinez’s men (-1) to beat the handicap mark, then, could represent good value for punters ahead of Monday’s match.