Japan vs. Spain: Top Storylines, Odds, Live Stream for World Cup 2022

Joe TanseyNovember 30, 2022

Japan vs. Spain: Top Storylines, Odds, Live Stream for World Cup 2022

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    AL KHOR, QATAR - NOVEMBER 27: Alvaro Morata of Spain in action during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group E match between Spain and Germany at Al Bayt Stadium on November 27, 2022 in Al Khor, Qatar. (Photo by Lionel Hahn/Getty Images)
    Lionel Hahn/Getty Images

    Spain has first place in Group E in its sights at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

    La Roja used a seven-goal win over Costa Rica and a draw with Germany to top the section with four points ahead of their group finale against Japan on Thursday.

    Spain needs a win or a draw to advance into the round of 16. A win is preferred so that the European side can go through as the group winner. A matchup with the second-place team in Group F awaits the Group E winner.

    Japan lost the momentum it gained from a 2-1 win over Germany in a 1-0 loss to Costa Rica.

    The Samurai Blue got their game plan all wrong against Los Ticos, which led to the team not being as effective in attack as it was against Germany.

    Japan is expected to be at a disadvantage on Thursday against a Spanish side that loves to be in possession of the ball.

    The Samurai Blue will be eliminated if they lose on Thursday, so they need to find a way to create chances in order to earn another good result against a European power in Qatar.

Odds and Match Info

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    AL KHOR, QATAR - NOVEMBER 28: Joshua Kimmich of Germany and Pedri Gonzalez of Spain during the Group E - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 match between Spain and Germany at the Al Bayt Stadium on November 28, 2022 in Al Khor, Qatar (Photo by Pablo Morano/BSR Agency/Getty Images)
    Pablo Morano/BSR Agency/Getty Images

    Odds

    Spain (-255; bet $255 to win $100)

    Japan (+750; bet $100 to win $750)

    Draw (+390)

    Over 2.5 Goals (-145); Under 2.5 Goals (+115)

    Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook.


    Match Info

    Date: Thursday, 1 December

    Start Time: 2 p.m. ET

    TV: Fox

    Live Stream: FoxSports.com and Fox Sports app

Spain Just Needs to be Spain

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    AL KHOR, QATAR - NOVEMBER 28: Gavi of Spain coaches his teammates during the Group E - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 match between Spain and Germany at the Al Bayt Stadium on November 28, 2022 in Al Khor, Qatar (Photo by Pablo Morano/BSR Agency/Getty Images)
    Pablo Morano/BSR Agency/Getty Images

    Spain just needs to follow the game plan that got it to this spot.

    La Roja have been dominant in possession and have been able to finish off a few key chances to hold the lead for a good amount of the tournament.

    They struck early against Costa Rica and then piled on seven goals against the CONCACAF side. Those seven tallies could come in handy if the Spanish need to rely on the goal-differential tiebreaker.

    Spain has also proved it can grind out a result in a low-scoring game in Qatar. It played to a 1-1 draw with Germany that featured a goal from substitute Álvaro Morata and a late concession in the 83rd minute.

    That late leveller by Niclas Füllkrug is the only goal conceded by the Spanish defense over 180 minutes in the World Cup.

    Spain's dominant possession style could allow it to keep the ball in Japan's half for most of the 90 minutes.

    La Roja may change their approach with Morata starting as a true striker instead of using a false nine, because it would benefit them to finish off the result before halftime instead of chasing goals in the second period.

    Spain has been one of the most consistent teams in Qatar, and it is expected to finish at the top of Group E.

Japan Must Draw on Experience from Germany Win

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    DOHA, QATAR - NOVEMBER 27:  Ritsu Doan of Japan controls the ball during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group E match between Japan and Costa Rica at Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium on November 27, 2022 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Juan Luis Diaz/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
    Juan Luis Diaz/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

    Japan is in a spot to advance to the round of 16 because of its win over Germany.

    The Samurai Blue withstood the challenge of the four-time world champions in the first half but fell behind to an İlkay Gündoğan penalty in the 33rd minute.

    However, Japan made the proper adjustments in the second half and pocketed two goals in eight minutes to take three points from its illustrious opponents.

    Japan now needs a similar game plan to deal with the pressure it will face from Spain.

    The Asian side can bunker in with its defense in the first half, but then it needs to be proactive with its second-half changes, especially if the game is still scoreless at the break.

    The tactical plan worked against Germany but failed against Costa Rica because Japan used a more conservative approach that left it susceptible to conceding.

    The Samurai Blue can't afford to lose the Spain game in the first half, so expect them to be tough to break down and then make it a more open contest in the second half.

    A win takes Japan through as the Group E winner, but a draw will only work if Costa Rica and Germany play to a draw. Hansi Flick's side could make up the one-goal difference with a win, while Los Ticos would leapfrog Japan with a victory.


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