Japan vs. Spain predictions, preview and betting tips
Group leader Spain seeks to position itself to make a deep tournament run as it takes on Japan at Khalifa International Stadium in Al Rayyan, Qatar, on Thursday. Kickoff is scheduled for 10 a.m. ET.
The Spaniards are practically a lock to qualify for the knockout stage in this year’s World Cup. Even with a loss, the team’s goal differential, which sits seven clear of Japan, will be nearly impossible to overcome.
The 2010 Coupe Du Monde winners (Spain) went on to win EURO 2012 but haven’t lifted a major trophy since. At the 2014 World Cup, they failed to advance from the group stage. Four years later, in Russia, the Spanish fell to the hosts in penalties.
Manager Luis Enrique took over the national team in July 2018 and led Spain to the EURO 2020 semifinals. Enrique’s men faltered against eventual winners Italy in penalties (1-1, 4-2).
Although the odds are stacked against them, Japan hopes to earn a result in order to make the Round of 16 for a second-consecutive World Cup. The Eastern Asian nation has made it out of the group stage in three of the last five tournaments.
Players to watch in the Japan vs. Spain contest
Daniel Kamada: The 26-year-old midfielder was influential in 2021-2022 for Frankfurt during the team’s Europa League triumph. This season, the Japanese attacker has found the net seven times in 13 appearances and has recorded an additional three assists.
Ferran Torres: The Foios, Spain native, scored twice against Costa Rica in the first matchday but blanked against Germany. Torres is the main goalscoring threat in the Spanish side and led the team with four goals in six matches during qualifiers.
Best Japan vs. Spain predictions and odds
ESTNN’s soccer analysts will provide two Japan vs. Spain betting tips in the following section.
Japan vs. Spain prediction: Spain -1 @ FanDuel (+110)
FanDuel offers one of the best spreads among all sportsbooks online at -1 in favor of Spain for plus money. The Spaniards are third-favorites to win the World Cup behind Brazil (+250) and France (+650).
On matchday one, the team mauled Costa Rica 7-0 and prevented the Ticos from attempting a shot. It was the first time a country hadn’t recorded a shot since the Central American country did so in 1990. La Furia Roja held 82% of the possession, completed a whopping 1,045 passes and took 17 shots.
The seventh-ranked team by FIFA was seven minutes away from defeating Germany but Niclas Fullkrug was able to slot home the equalizer to end the match in a 1-1 draw. Spain dominated the possession (65%) and registered more passes (634-344).
Japan opened its World Cup journey with a shocking 2-1 win over Die Mannschaft. Luck was certainly a factor due to the Germans dominating the match and missing key opportunities they’d usually put away.
The following matchday, Costa Rica upset the Samurai Blue 1-0 after Keysher Fuller nabbed the winner in the 81st minute. Most sportsbooks listed Japan as -210 favorites before the match.
It’ll be tough for the Japanese to maintain pace with a team that boasts players from the top clubs around the globe, including Golden Boy winners Pedri (2021) and Gavi (2022). Many Japanese players are members of European clubs but don’t participate in elite-level competitions such as the Champions League and Europa League.
La Roja has won three of its last five games by one or more goals. The results below show its opponents.
It’ll be challenging for the Japanese to have any opportunities to put beat goalkeeper Unai Simon and Spain’s experienced backline led by Rodri, Ameryic Laporte, (both Manchester City) Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid) and Jordi Alba (Barcelona).
Our pick at ESTNN is to wager Spain to cover the one-goal spread. If Enrique’s men win by one goal, the bet is considered a push. If they win by more, the slip is a winner.
Japan vs. Spain odds: Total goals by Spain (over 1.5) @ -200 (BetRivers)
Out of all 32 teams in the World Cup, the Red Fury have scored the most goals (eight) through the first two games. In its previous ten outings, Spain has scored 24 goals (an average of 2.4 goals per game.)
Hajime Moriyasu and his squad know they’ll need to score goals to advance since Germany should ease past Costa Rica. This will open up counterattacking possibilities for the Spaniards’ lethal attack.
In its previous six contests, Spain has scored at least two goals on three occasions. We believe the team will score over 1.5 goals against Japan. BetRivers is offering -200 odds for the bet on its sportsbook.
If you’re interested in reading about more betting lines in Qatar, visit our World Cup predictions page.
Group E preview and other World Cup matches
The Spaniards are heavy favorites at -3500 to qualify from Group E for the knockout stage. Germany climbed to -400 after Japan (+550) squandered its golden opportunity vs. Costa Rica (+700). Most oddsmakers have Die Mannschaft at -1000 on the moneyline in its matchup vs. Costa Rica (+1800).