Japan will try to slay another giant when they face Croatia on Monday in a Round of 16 clash at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Doha, Qatar. Japan finished atop a group that included former World Cup champions Spain and Germany, and they knocked off both teams by 2-1 scores. They topped the Spaniards on Thursday to win Group E. Croatia finished second in Group F, but they are 2018 World Cup runner-ups after losing to France in that year's final. They held Belgium, the No. 2 team in the world, to a 0-0 draw on Thursday to secure advancement. The Croats have a veteran team spearheaded by Luka Modric and Ivan Perisic that is after one more chance at glory. Meanwhile, Japan are in the knockout round for the fourth time but have never been past the Round of 16.
Kickoff is set for 10 a.m. ET in Doha, Qatar. Caesars Sportsbook lists Croatia as +107 favorites (risk $100 to win $107) on the 90-minute money line in its latest Japan vs. Croatia odds. Japan are +275 underdogs, a draw is priced at +220, and the over/under for total goals scored is set at 2.5. Before making any Croatia vs. Japan picks or World Cup 2022 predictions, be sure to see what proven SportsLine soccer insider Jon Eimer is saying.
Eimer is a high-volume bettor who has vast knowledge of leagues and players across the globe. Since joining SportsLine, Eimer has covered the English Premier League, Serie A, the FA Cup and much more. He is an impressive 48-25-1 on his Premier League picks for SportsLine in 2022, for a profit of almost $1,800 for $100 bettors. He also went 20-12 on his World Cup Qualifying picks, for a return of almost $600.
Now, Eimer has taken an in-depth look at Croatia vs. Japan and just locked in his 2022 World Cup picks and predictions. You can head to SportsLine now to see his picks. Here are the betting lines for Japan vs. Croatia:
- Japan vs. Croatia spread: Croatia -0.5 (+100)
- Japan vs. Croatia over/under: 2.5 goals
- Japan vs. Croatia money line: Japan +275, Croatia +107, Draw +220
- JPN: They have allowed a goal in four in a row after five straight clean sheets
- CRO: They have outscored their opponents 11-2 in their past eight matches
- Japan vs. Croatia picks: See picks here
Why you should back Croatia
The core of the team remains from their 2018 World Cup run, and while many of the players are getting to the end of their careers, they remain talented. Modric is 37 now, but he is still a key player for La Liga power Real Madrid, with three goals and two assists this season. He also is the nation's all-time leader with 158 caps and is fifth in goals with 23. Perisic is 33 and ranks third in both appearances (119) and goals (32). The midfield featuring Modric, Marcelo Brozovic and Mateo Kovacic has more than 300 appearances combined and it's the same trio that created the chances in 2018.
The Croatians are 1-1-0 against Japan in the World Cup, beating them 1-0 in 1998 on their way to the semifinals. They should have plenty of time to probe the Japanese defense for holes, and Perisic and Andrej Kramaric are among those who can finish. The 31-year-old Kramaric scored twice in a 4-1 victory against Canada and has 22 goals for Croatia, tied for sixth all-time.
Why you should back Japan
The Blue Samurai have never been past the Round of 16, but knocking off the 2010 and 2014 world champions has given their fans reason to believe. Their success has come in letting the opponents hold the ball and springing precise counter-attacks. They are averaging 32% possession in Qatar, and Spain held the ball for an outrageous 83% of Thursday's match. The Croats should play right into their hands, as they are averaging 59% possession.
Midfielders Ritsu Doan and Ao Tanaka struck for goals three minutes apart to take down Spain, and Japan have tons of confidence. Doan also scored against Germany, and Takuma Asano (eight international goals) had the winner. Daichi Kamada, who has 12 goals in 20 matches with Eintracht Frankfurt, also can be a major threat. Manager Hajime Moriyasu has had a knack for making all the right substitutions, and Japan's only group-stage loss was an anomaly. They had 57% possession and had a 13-3 advantage in shots but couldn't break through Costa Rica's defense.
How to make Japan vs. Croatia picks
Eimer has broken down Croatia vs. Japan from every angle. He is leaning Under on the goal total and has two other confident best bets and a full breakdown of the match. He's only sharing those picks at SportsLine.
Where does all the betting value lie for Japan vs. Croatia on Monday? Visit SportsLine now to get Jon Eimer's best bets for the 2022 World Cup match, all from the soccer expert who has been on a roll, and find out.