Belgium vs. Japan: 2018 World Cup – Match Preview

/Third favourites for the World Cup Belgium face Japan in the round of 16 on Monday evening.

Belgium won all three group stage fixtures, including a 1-0 win over England on Thursday.

Romelu Lukaku has scored four goals in just two matches at the competition and is in contention for the golden boot.

Japan edged out Senegal for second spot in Group H having finished with a superior fair play record.

They were beaten 1-0 by Poland in the final group game, with Southampton’s Jan Bednerak scoring the winner.

Match history
The two nations have met five times prior to Monday’s clash, including a fixture at the 2002 World Cup.

A late Peter Van Der Heyden goal earned Belgium a draw against the tournament hosts.

Last five international meetings
Belgium 1 Japan 0 – 14/11/17
Belgium 2 Japan 3 – 19/11/13
Japan 4 Belgium 0 – 31/05/09
Japan 2 Belgium 2 – 04/06/02
Japan 0 Belgium 0 – 03/06/99

Belgium by two goals – 3/1 with Bet 365

Team news
Belgium made nine changes against England, but are expected to recall numerous familiar faces for the Japan tie.

Lukaku and Eden Hazard will overcome minor knocks, whilst Vincent Kompany could make his first start of the tournament.

Shinji Kagawa and Takashi Inui were surprise omissions vs. Poland, but both will return.

Leicester City forward Shinji Okazaki was forced off in the defeat and is a major doubt.

Expected starting XI’s
Belgium (3-4-3): Courtois; Kompany, Alderweireld, Vertonghen; Meunier, Witsel, De Bruyne, Ferreira Carrasco; Hazard, Lukaku, Mertens
Japan (4-3-3): Kawashima; Sakai, Yoshida, Shoji, Nagatomo; Hasebe, Gaku, Kagawa; Haraguchi, Osako, Inui

Predictions

Result: Belgium (2/5 with Betfair)

Correct Score: 2-0 (11/2 with Bet 365)

Anytime Goalscorer: Romelu Lukaku (10/11 with Betfair)

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