We’re hurtling through the Round of 16 stage of the World Cup, and this afternoon it will be the turn of Japan and Croatia.
Japan have been one of the surprise packages of the tournament to date, picking off former champions Germany and Spain.
Croatia, in the meantime, who have gone about their business with steely determination, reached the final four years ago, so they have some pedigree.
Japan have no fresh injury concerns to contend with, but Ritsu Doan and Kaoru Mitoma will have surely done enough to retain their starting spots after their displays against Germany.
Whereas, Luka Modric and Dejan Lovren will have to walk a tightrope as they are just one booking away from a suspension that would rule them out of the quarter-finals were Croatia to advance.
To ramp up excitement for this clash, we have scoured the markets and handpicked a couple of tips for you to cast your minds over.
Japan to make history
At various points of the World Cup, Japan have shown their quality, and the manner in which they came from behind against Germany and Spain, was remarkable.
Japan stands on the precipice of history, as they have never progressed beyond the Round of 16 before, and they would love to extend their World Cup journey.
Croatia were arguably lucky not to slip to defeat against Belgium after Romelu Lukaku missed a hatful of chances, which saw the Red Devils crash out in the group stage.
Of course, Croatia will be a formidable opponent, and they have only lost two of their past eight knockout matches at the World Cup.
Japan will be highly energetic on and off the ball, and they know how to soak up pressure, having managed just 17.7% possession against Spain — the lowest figure in World Cup history.
All the Round of 16 games so far have been decided within regulation time, and I don’t see this one being any different. I have a sneaky feeling that Japan will be on the comeback trail once again, and they will turn things around after going a goal down. If you like the sound of this, Unibet is offering tasty odds of 18/1 for Japan to win from behind.
Ritsu Doan to make an impact again
Doan is one of those players that likes to make the headlines, and he did so in spectacular fashion against Spain and Germany.
He proved his ability to turn games during the clutch moments as a super sub, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him make an impact this time from the start.
With two World Cup goals to his name, he will be integral to Japan’s chances of advancing to the quarter-finals, and he could find the target.
If you are leaning towards the goalscorer markets, then Doan is available at 5/1 with Paddy Power to score anytime, a price that seems to be fair by all accounts.