Verdict: Under 2.5 goals
Best Odds: 7/10
Two sides who will be looking to get 2023 underway with a victory in Tokyo, Japan will welcome Uruguay to the New National Stadium on Friday morning.
Starting with the hosts, while Japan might have eventually fallen to World Cup heartbreak in Qatar over the winter, Hajime Moriyasu’s men did gain a string of plaudits. Shocking almost everyone as they punched their knockout stage ticket in the Middle East, the Samurai Blue also picked up some major heavyweight scalps during their famous flurry on the world stage. Claiming a pair of 2-1 wins against European icons Germany and Spain, the mood in their camp should remain at a real high. Quickly skyrocketing their way up the FIFA standings, there is no doubt that Japan will be looking to make another statement when they return to Tokyo on Friday morning. Certainly proving that their shock 1-0 loss at the hands of Costa Rica was just a minor blip, it should be noted that Moriyasu’s side have lost just a pair of their last 10 appearances across all formats within 90 minutes.
Enjoying what has been a stellar run of form with Premier League high-flyers Brighton, Kaoru Mitoma should lead Japan’s attack on Friday morning. However, the likes of Maya Yoshida, Yuto Nagatomo and Hiroki Sakai have all missed out on a call-up this month.
Likewise, in what was a real shock, ex-Liverpool forward Takumi Minamino has not been included in Moriyasu’s 26-man squad.
As for the visitors, although Uruguay might have signed off their World Cup adventure with a 2-0 victory against Ghana on December 2nd, that doesn’t cover what was a lackluster run in the Middle East. While La Celeste might have traveled over to Qatar tipped as a standout contender to punch their knockout stage ticket, the South American giants certainly found themselves under a huge amount of scrutiny. Sacking long-term boss Oscar Tabarez over the winter and yet to find a new permanent replacement, Friday’s guests will be desperate to find a post-World Cup boost in Tokyo. Although Uruguay might still hold a fearsome reputation for their defensive resolve, the Blues should be concerned by their most recent trip to Japan. Eventually getting hit with an action-packed 4-3 defeat when they made the trip to Saitama for a friendly showdown back in 2018, La Celeste could face another tricky test here.
Darwin Nunez has had to withdraw from their squad after picking up a knock during Liverpool’s Champions League exit last week. Likewise, Barcelona defender Ronald Araujo has also removed himself from selection this month due to a recent injury issue.
In what was a remarkable move from interim boss Marcelo Broli, neither Edinson Cavani nor Luis Suarez has been included in La Celeste’s squad.
Key Factors to Consider
- When Japan and Uruguay last met while on Copa America back in 2019, Friday’s opponents played out a 2-2 draw in Porto Alegre.
- When La Celeste last made the trip to Japan four years ago, the South American heavyweights were hit with a lively 4-3 defeat.
- Five of the six meetings between Japan and Uruguay have finished with both teams finding the net.
- However, including their winter World Cup run, Uruguay have seen each of their last five appearances finish with under 2.5 goals.
- The Samurai Blue have recorded just a single clean sheet from their last five matchups across all formats.
Although Japan and Uruguay might have a real history of producing fireworks, neutrals could be treated to a far more cagey on Friday morning. While the Samurai Blue might have eventually fallen to World Cup heartbreak at the hands of Croatia over the winter, Moriyasu’s men did gain plenty of plaudits as they punched their knockout stage ticket. Collecting the scalps of both Germany and Spain during their Middle Eastern adventure, Japan will be looking to open 2023 with a statement in Tokyo. However, although La Celeste might have come under a huge amount of scrutiny as they failed to find a route out of the group stage in Qatar, the South American giants still hold a real reputation for their defensive resolve. With Uruguay seeing each of their last five appearances finish with under 2.5 goals, we are backing a similar outcome here.
Verdict: Under 2.5 goals
Best Odds: 7/10
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!