World Cup 2018 AFC qualifying betting (August 31): Japan v Australia

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Updated: August 31, 2017

16tiwwc18logoFIFA World Cup qualifying – AFC Group B betting: Japan (5-2-1, 17 pts) v Australia (4-0-4, 16 pts)
Where: Saitama Stadium, Saitama, Japan
When: Thursday, September 1, 8.35pm (AEDT)
Prices: Japan $1.85, Australia $4.20, DRAW $3.30

Confirmed betting: Japan WIN (two units @ $1.80)

TIW says: Australia’s hopes of reaching the 2018 World Cup finals were handed a massive boost two nights ago when the UAE scored a shock 2-1 victory at home over regional giants Saudi Arabia. It was only the fourth win in nine matches for the Emiratis, who took their tally to 13 points from nine matches to be placed fourth in Group B in the final round of Asian qualifying. Japan top the standings with 17 points with Saudi Arabia and Australia on 16 each, meaning all the top four teams in the group are in with a chance of clinching the two automatic spots for next year’s finals.

That sets up a fascinating scenario in Saitama tonight where the Socceroos will take on the Samurai Blue of Japan. Warm and steamy conditions await the visitors who, in five qualification meetings since joining the Asian Football Confederation in 2006, have never lost to Japan. The last time Australia played Japan was in October in Melbourne, when a second-half Mile Jedinak penalty earned the Socceroos a 1-1 draw after Genki Haraguchi (who plays alongside Aussie Mathew Leckie with Hertha Berlin) put the visitors 1-0 up after just five minutes. But Australia haven’t beaten Japan since June 2009, when two Tim Cahill goals gave the Socceroos a 2-1 win in a World Cup qualifier at the MCG.

 

The Socceroos have struggled on short preparation in recent times but can at least draw some confidence with Aaron Mooy making a stunning start to his EPL career while Mat Ryan has locked down the top job between the sticks for Brighton & Hove. Tom Rogic continues to rule the roost at Celtic while Tomi Juric is already off the mark for club side Luzern in the Swiss Super League. However, Juric is in doubt for tonight’s clash after picking up a cork last weekend. A new-look Samurai Blue outfit is anticipated – there’s no Keisuke Honda while Shinji Kagawa has been coming off the bench for Borussia Dortmund.

Both could be overlooked on Thursday for starting berths, while Italian-based defender Yuto Nagamoto is battling injury. The future of Vahid Halilhodzic is said to be under a cloud should the Japanese fail to take maximum points tonight. Australia’s form in the Confederations Cup was encouraging but coach Ange Postecoglou simply doesn’t have the talent to field a starting XI that can compete with the best 40 or so football playing nations. Worse still, his formation featuring a back three can so easily be exploited by a Japan side that moves the ball with speed and skill. The price on offer seems too good to be true – Japan to take all three points.

 

 

• Selections are listed in three categories – 1) Suggested (likely bet but yet to be finalised); 2) Confirmed (locked in at the price listed); and 3) Leans (tips, but not recommended bets); all times quoted are Australian Eastern Time (AET); prices with thanks to Bet365 (except where markets are not available), correct at time of publication. Results/comments on today’s games/races will follow in the next post.

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