Japan vs Costa Rica odds and betting statistics
Japan vs Costa Rica recommended bets
Japan vs Costa Rica match preview
After cruising to victory in their opening group game, will Japan book their place in the knockout stages with another victory in Dunedin?
On Saturday, the Nadeshiko scored 5+ in a World Cup match for the first time in two decades, demolishing Zambia 5-0 in Hamilton and, in truth, it could’ve been significantly more.
It actually took until the 43rd minute for the breakthrough to come, with Hinata Miyazawa turning home Aoba Fujino’s inch-perfect cross.
The floodgates then opened after half time, with Mina Tanaka doubling their advantage on the slide, before Miyazawa bagged a third mere moments later, again connecting with a low-cross from the byline.
Nine minutes after that, Jun Endō burst in-behind to slot home a fourth, with Japan then awarded a penalty deep into stoppage time; Riko Ueki hauled down by the goalkeeper, who was sent off.
Ueki picked herself up, but saw her penalty saved, although Zambia’s substitute goalkeeper had stepped off her line so, at the second attempt, the 23 year old striker wrapped up the rout.
5-0 it finished at Waikato Stadium, even after Japan had two goals and one penalty disallowed by VAR due to offside, so it’s not exaggeration to say that Futoshi Ikeda’s team could’ve had double figures.
Japan won this competition in 2011, also beaten in the 2015 final, so could the Asian heavyweights be set for another deep World Cup run?
Ahead of their final group game, against the section’s other juggernauts Spain on Monday, will Japan win again?
Costa Rica meantime were on the wrong end of a shellacking in their group opener, swatted aside 3-0 by Spain in Wellington, with all the goals coming in a six minute spree, but that doesn’t begin to tell the story.
La Roja’s xG was a whopping 4.7, to Costa Rica’s 0.1, with las Ticas mustering just one shot, that was not on target, to Spain’s 46 shots, the most since women’s World Cup records began.
Amelia Valverde’s team are yet to win a World Cup match, with this their second appearance, surely targeting their last group game against Zambia as their best hope of changing that fact.
Will Japan enjoy another emphatic victory in this clash at Forsyth Barr Stadium?
Japan team news
After his team cruised to victory in their opener, is there any need for Futoshi Ikeda to change his XI?
Riko Ueki will hope her goal off the bench will earn her a start, although Mina Tanaka is to continue up front, having also found the target against Zambia.
Captain Saki Kumagai will win her 137th cap, starting in the middle of the back three.
Predicted XI (5-4-1): Yamashita; Shimizu, Ishikawa, Kumagai, Minami, Endō; Hasegawa, Nagano, Fujino, Miyazawa; Tanaka.
Costa Rica teams news
Amelia Valverde’s team have had an extra day to prepare for and travel to this fixture, and they need all the hope they can cling to.
Star striker Raquel Rodríguez was only on the bench against Spain, but will surely return here, displacing María Paula Salas.
Rodríguez, with Priscila Chinchilla and Melissa Herrera in-behind, can be a frightening front three, so will they be able to cause Japan problems?
Predicted XI (5-4-1): Solera; Coto, Villalobos, Benavides, del Campo, Elizondo; Alvarado, Villalobos, Herrera, Chinchilla; Rodríguez.