World Cup 2018: Japan vs Senegal prediction, team news and preview as Group H underdogs look to seal place in the knockout stages
Victory for either nation would leave them with one foot in the last 16 where they could come up against England or Belgium
APAN and Senegal know the winners of this clash will almost certainly guarantee a place in the knockout stages at Russia 2018.
Senegal produced an impressive all-round display to see of Poland in their opening match and will be confident of adding a second win against their rivals from Asia.
But having shocked ten-man Colombia to win their own first game, Japan are coming into this clash high in morale.
Sadio Mane had a quiet game by his standards against Poland, but he poses a major goal threat and Betway are offering an attractive 20-1 on him scoring first in a 2-0 win for Senegal.
- This will be the fourth meeting between Japan and Senegal, with the African side unbeaten in the previous three (W2 D1, all friendlies).
- Japan and Senegal’s most recent encounter was in September 2003, which produced a 1-0 win for the African side in Niigata (Papa Bouba Diop goal).
- Japan have won two of their three World Cup games against African opponents, though they did lose the most recent one (1-2 vs Ivory Coast in 2014).
- This will be the first time Senegal have faced Asian opponents in a World Cup game.
- No Asian nation has ever won both of their opening two games at a World Cup tournament before.
- Japan haven’t won consecutive games at the World Cup since 2002, when they co-hosted the tournament with South Korea. On that occasion it was in their second and third game of the group stage (versus Russia and Tunisia).
- Senegal have won three of their six World Cup matches. They’ve got the best win rate of any African nation to play in the competition (50%).
- Senegal have conceded just five goals in their last nine matches in all competitions, with four of them coming in the second half of games.
- Only two African nations have ever won both of their opening two matches to a World Cup tournament – Cameroon in 1990 and Nigeria in 1998.
- Keisuke Honda has been directly involved in six of Japan’s last eight goals scored at World Cup tournaments with three goals and three assists.