World Cup Betting Lines – Japan down to their last chance against Colombia
Japan is still mathematically alive in Group C of the World Cup but just barely. Also, they no longer control their own destiny in their final outing against Colombia at 4-m ET on June 24 as they need some outside help from Greece. Japan blew a 1-0 lead in their opening match against Ivory Coast on June 21 and came out on the wrong end of a 2-1 score line. In their second contest against Greece last Thursday they failed to take advantage of a 10-man Greek side for the final 52 minutes and had to settle for a 0-0 draw.
The results find Japan tied for third place in the group with Greece while Colombia leads it with six points followed by Ivory Coast with three. Japan has a -1 goal difference with Greece at -3 and this could end up being a huge factor when it comes time to calculate the final standings. In reality though, it doesn’t matter how well Japan plays and what score they win by if Ivory Coast beats Greece the same day. Things get a little complicated here, but With Colombia winning their first two games the South American nation has guaranteed itself a berth in the second round with a second-place finish being the worst they can do.
Ivory Coast can still finish first or second depending on their result against Greece. However, they can also find themselves in the group’s cellar if they lose the encounter. A win by Ivory Coast will send the Japanese contingent home even if they manage to beat the Colombians. The best Japan can do now is reach four points. A Japan win and Ivory Coast/Greece draw would see Japan and Ivory Coast both end up with four points and Greece finishing with two.
The tie-breaking procedure would then have to be used with the first process being goal differential. Currently Japan is -1 with Ivory Coast being even. This would see the Japanese go through automatically if they win by two or more goals. But the best scenario for Japan could be Greece beating Ivory Coast by no more than two goals. This would give Colombia six points, followed by Japan and Greece with four each and Ivory Coast with three. If this is the case, Japan automatically advances due to superior goal difference.
As for the game itself, Japan needs to pick up the pace offensively as they’ve managed just one goal in 180 minutes, which was a screamer by Keisuke Honda against Ivory Coast. Honda needs be at his best against the Colombians and Shinji Kagawa, if he makes it off of the bench and onto the pitch, also has to play the game of his life. Japan has to go for it now, but make sure they don’t leave themselves wide open defensively.
Colombia is guaranteed of a top-two spot, but they’ll likely be gunning for first place, so they’re not going to sit back and relax here. If Japan’s lucky though, Colombia will be satisfied with advancing and aren’t concerned if they end up first or second. If this is the case, the South Americans could rest some of their key players for the second round. If Japan utilizes their speed and regains their scoring touch they could pull off a win here, but if Greece doesn’t help them it still won’t be good enough.
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