Japan hosts China in round 7 of the third stage of the World Cup qualification. The match will be played on Friday, January 28th at Saitama Stadium (Saitama)
Japan has had good football traditions in the last quarter of a century. Having debuted at the 1998 World Cup, the national team never missed the tournaments of this rank. Moreover, it managed to advance to the 1/8 finals three times, including in Russia in 2018. And even now, the roster is quite strong. There are a lot of players who perform in Europe, and they are in good roles at their clubs. However, there is no need to overestimate the Japanese. They managed to lose not only to the leader of the group, Saudi Arabia, but also to Oman.
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China is one of the world’s hegemons, including in sports. But the Chinese manage to prove themselves more in individual sports, but the team ones are generally weak. The same can be said about football. Billions of dollars were invested in it, a powerful championship was created almost from scratch, and football stars from all over the world began to play here. And even such famous coaches as Marcello Lippi worked in China. But there was no special effect, and the promotion to the World Cup in 2002 (with three defeats in the group stage) was the only achievement. Only Wu Lei is playing in Europe now, and then the representative of Espanyol can be considered a top player only by Chinese football standards. There are nationalized Brazilians, like Elkeson, but now many of them have been left without contracts due to changes in the Super League. It is not surprising that the national team of China cannot boast of high results in the current qualification: it gained only one victory (over Vietnam, and then due to a goal in the 95th minute) and five points.
China gained its last victory over Japan back in 1980. Now Blue Samurai are on a streak of three consecutive wins, but they were gained with certain difficulties (1-0 or 2-1). Currently, Japan is much stronger, and it’s time for this team to prove it. We bet on the victory of the Samurai with a -1.5 handicap.