Odds Japan Will Win World Cup 2014

Japan goes into World Cup 2014 following some strong play in qualification, as well as a win at the last Asian Cup and a fourth-place finish at the 2012 Olympics. They are currently listed at +400 to win Group B, the same as Ivory Coast, but well behind the favorites, Colombia, who are pegged at -150. While Japan will likely be engaged in a no-holds-barred battle for second place in the group, their tactical strength may be problematic for the Colombians.

Japan Odds to Win World Cup 2014: 150/1 (from Bovada)
Japan Odds to Win Group B: +400 (from Bovada)

While Japan has looked strong in general, their recent record is marred by a pair of losses to Belarus and Serbia, neither of whom will be appearing at Brazil 2014. However, the Japanese looked outstanding in a pair of friendlies on European soil, recovering from a two-goal deficit to tie the Netherlands, followed three days later by a solid 3-2 win over Belgium. Japan advanced to the Group of 16 in 2002 and 2010. It would not be a shock to see them advance at Brazil 2014.

Early World Cup Pick

While Colombia is the consensus pick to finish atop Group C, second place is there for Japan to take. Given that the Colombians are enjoying the next best thing to home-field advantage, it may be asking a lot of the Japanese to beat them in their Group Stage match. However, a draw is not out of the question, given Japan’s proven ability to counter the ferocious attack of a squad like Colombia. The same holds true of Ivory Coast, a team that Japan should beat. The big question is whether Japan can overcome the tight defense of a Greek squad that will not be too happy about being counted out by many, even before the tournament begins.

Japan Qualifying Results - How they got to the World Cup

Japan finished in first place in Asian qualifying. However, aside from Australia, who are considered a distant longshot, the Japanese did not face any elite teams during qualification.

15/11/11 Korea DPR 1 – 0 Japan        
29/02/12 Japan 0 – 1 Uzbekistan        
03/06/12 Japan 3 – 0 Oman        
08/06/12 Japan 6 – 0 Jordan        
12/06/12 Australia 1 – 1 Japan        
11/09/12 Japan 1 – 0 Iraq        
14/11/12 Oman 1 – 2 Japan        
26/03/13 Jordan 2 – 1 Japan        
04/06/13 Japan 1 – 1 Australia        
11/06/13 Iraq 0 – 1 Japan

Japan World Cup Group Play Schedule

14/06/14 Ivory Coast vs. Japan - Arena Pernambuco
19/06/14 Japan vs. Greece - Estadio das Dunas     
24/06/14 Japan vs. Colombia - Arena Pantanal

Japan Key Players

Shinji Kagawa FW, Manchester United – A superior playmaker with remarkable vision, and a serious offensive threat from midfield.

Makoto Hasebe MF CSKA Moscow – Japan’s captain at the 2010 World Cup and 2011 Asian Cup, is gifted with the ball and owns an innate ability to maintain possession.

Shinji Okazaki MF Mainz 05 – Recently set the Bundesliga record for most goals in a season, the attacking midfielder’s offense will be critical to Japan’s success.