Join us for our latest World Cup expert analysis to assist you with Monday’s Round of 16 fixtures.
Japan will attempt to extend its giant-killing record of defeating Germany and Spain by eliminating Croatia. At the same time, South Korea and Brazil battle for a position in the quarter-finals.
Read on for our soccer analysis and free World Cup betting previews for a schedule involving:
- Brazil vs. South Korea
- Japan vs. Croatia
Brazil vs. South Korea
Monday, December 05, 2022 – 02:00 PM EST at Stadium 974
The Selecao Won’t Be Stunned Like Portugal
South Korea sent shockwaves through the soccer world when stunning Portugal on the final Group H matchday but will now be faced with the five-time champions in a final-16 showdown at Stadium 974.
Uruguay and Portugal – despite an altered squad – couldn’t solve the soccer puzzle that is South Korea during their Group H outings. And with more goals scored than their South American foes, the Korean squad qualified ahead of the Uruguayans in a surprise qualification that has been a theme of this World Cup thus far.
Unfortunately, the second-place finish in Group H has put South Korea against the tournament favorites Brazil. A team that most recently handed them a 5-1 defeat this past June.
Brazil Won’t Hold Back This Time
The Tigers of Asia will hope they can emulate Cameroon’s success over Tite’s squad, but the lineup for Brazil’s only tournament loss won’t be comparable in this Round of 16 clash.
Tite notably rested 80% of his key starters to avoid any further injuries, and all of these stars – including Neymar – will likely return in the starting XI on Monday. This doesn’t bode well for South Korea or any nation, for that matter.
The Selecao has now qualified for the knockout stage of the World Cup nine times consecutive, and it’s been over 30 years since they were last eliminated from the Round of 16.
Brazil vs. South Korea Betting Picks
The current World Cup odds show Brazil as heavily juiced favorite. But an injury-prone backline could be a concern with the attacking threats of Son and Hwang.
Brazil’s defeat to Cameroon was surprising, but Tite will field the most potent lineup available on Monday, so we should still expect the Selecao to own the bigger attacking advantage.
From a betting perspective, Brazil’s moneyline isn’t of interest, but the over 2.5 goals look tempting as both teams can score to make this an entertaining 90 minutes.
Score Prediction: Brazil 3 – South Korea 1
Betting Pick: Over 2.5 Goals (-130) at Caesars Sportsbook
Japan vs. Croatia
Monday, December 05, 2022 – 10:00 AM EST at Al Janoub Stadium
An Underdog Story in Japan
For the fourth time in World Cup history, the Blue Samurai has booked a position in the final-16, but they’ve notably failed to reach the quarter-finals ever! With that said, after taking two huge successes over Germany and Spain, could this be Japan’s most valiant World Cup ever?
Japan is an underdog story that most of us can support, and they genuinely represent this term by winning those games against Spain and Germany with 17.7% and 26.1% ball possession, respectively. As Croatia loves to hold onto the ball, this will suit the Japanese just fine. Boasting a fearless counterattack that could spell danger for Zlatko Dalic’s side.
The 2018 World Cup runners-up won’t be an easy team to break. Croatia’s golden generation has one more chance to prove their worth, as memories of that heart-breaking moment in Russia still haunts them today.
The Chequered Ones Are Physical
Finding luck beyond Croatia’s back line has been a struggle for most teams recently, and this trend continued in Qatar. Allowing just one goal in their group stage outings, Japan will struggle to find success in front of the goal, and we should expect a low-scoring encounter because the Croatians can prevent goals but also struggle to score them.
Croatia failed to score in three of their group stage fixtures and have notably tied 5 of their last 6 knockout games in major competitions, three of which included 1-1 scorelines at Russia 2018.
Japan vs. Croatia Betting Picks
The current World Cup odds at SBK have Croatia in a favorable moneyline position, but Japan’s emphatic counterattacking is a worry, and we cannot support this betting approach.
Extra time is a likely scenario, including the potential for a conservative score of 0-0 or 1-1. The under 2.5 goals is a total bet I’m comfortable with, especially considering the laid-back approach and defensive skills that Croatia boasts.
Score Prediction: Japan 1 – Croatia 1
Betting Pick: Under 2.5 Goals (-162) at SBK