Football Tips: Perisic the key in this 19/1 Japan v Croatia Bet Builder

Our tipster Andrew Beasley is siding with Croatia.

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Japan v Croatia Bet Builder tips

Croatia to Win
Both Teams to Score
Marko Livaja to Score Anytime
Ivan Perisic Anytime Assist

*A Bet Builder with these bets pays at approximately 19/1 with Paddy Power. CLICK HERE TO ADD IT TO YOUR BETSLIP.

With a pair of European big dogs in Groups E and F at the 2022 World Cup, most people predicting how the tournament would unfold probably had Spain or Germany as the ‘home’ team for this fixture. Hell, it looked that way as recently as half time on Thursday evening, with both sides 1-0 up against modest opposition. But then Japan completed what must be one of the strangest Group Stages ever, by beating two of the last three World Cup winning nations having also lost to Costa Rica.

While it’s far less of a surprise to see Croatia in this tie, few would have seen them as runners-up to Morocco in their section. And had Belgium taken any one of the five clear-cut chances they mustered in their 0-0 draw in the final game, the Croatians could easily have been knocked out anyway.

In short, who knows what the hell is going to happen in this match. Let’s try to figure it out, friends.

Monday 3pm: Japan v Croatia
TV: BBC

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Croatia to Win

These teams had identical attacking numbers in the Group Stage. Both scored four goals from 3.8 expected (checks out, poindexter), though Croatia had the edge for shots on target and big chances.

Zlatko Dalic’s side were also the better of the two teams in defence. The issue here is that everything we’ve said also applies to Germany and Spain when compared to Japan, yet the Asian team still got the better of them both. Can lightning strike for a third time?

The history of the fixture doesn’t give us any relevant pointers, as it’s 16 years since their last meeting. Even ignoring time, it’s one win apiece with one draw, and four goals each.

But the recent form book is on Croatia’s side. They’ve won six and drawn three of their last nine matches, stockpiling a +9 goal difference across those games. Japan might be 11 goals in credit across the same period, but over half of that tally came against Hong Kong. While they deserve credit for toppling the heavyweights in Qatar, they have no other wins in their last five matches and needed miraculous recoveries for the victories they got.

Japan’s confidence must be soaring. Even if they go behind here, they’ll believe they can get back into the game. But everything points towards Croatia being the better side, so they have to be picked to win.

Both Teams to Score

The 2018 World Cup finalists have not been flawless by any means though. As well as the glut of golden opportunities they gave up to Romelu Lukaku, Croatia went behind to Canada after just two minutes. While they’ve been solid for much of their time in Qatar, they are one of the bigger overachievers when it comes to goals conceded versus expected.

Japan also don’t draw a blank too often, having only done so in three of their last nine games. We’ve seen what they can do when their backs are up against the wall, and they can get on the score sheet even if they ultimately bow out here.

Marko Livaja to Score Anytime

All four of Croatia’s 2022 World Cup goals occurred in the space of 54 minutes against Canada. Andrej Kramaric bagged a brace, while Marko Livaja and Lovro Majer picked up one apiece.

Any of the trio would make a reasonable goal scorer selection here but it’s Livaja who has by far the best league form this season (even if it is for Hajduk Split in Croatia rather than in one of the big leagues). He has 11 goals where the other two players have four between them.

The 29-year-old also scored against Austria in September, making him the only Croatian to net in the last two competitive matches in which the team scored. Livaja can get a goal at some point against Japan.

Ivan Perisic Anytime Assist

Kramaric’s two goals against the Canadians were both created for him by Ivan Perisic. The veteran also happens to be Tottenham’s top assist provider in league and Europe this season, with seven.

In a game that is likely to be tight, having excellent set piece delivery could prove crucial. Perisic has that as well as five assists in this last 10 appearances for club and country. Finish your Bet Builder by selecting Ivan Perisic in the Anytime Assist section.

Japan v Croatia Betting tips

Croatia to Win
Both Teams to Score
Marko Livaja to Score Anytime
Ivan Perisic Anytime Assist

*A Bet Builder with these bets pays at approximately 19/1 with Paddy Power. CLICK HERE TO ADD IT TO YOUR BETSLIP.

All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.

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