Holland vs. Japan Moses Mabhida Stadium, Durban South Africa 7:30 AM Saturday June 19, 2010 on ESPN
by Jason Green of Predictem.com
Match Odds: Holland 1.40 / Japan 8.00 / Draw 4.10
Over/Under: 2.5 goals
Moneyline: Holland -270 / Japan +850 / Draw +850
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In a Group E match up between the group leaders on Saturday afternoon Holland takes on Japan. While it was no surprise that the Dutch won their opening match it was a little surprise that Japan beat a favored Cameroon squad.
In their opening matches Holland beat Denmark 2-0 and Japan beat Cameroon 1-0. Both these teams are tied with 3 points atop Group E and the winner of this match can assure their spot in the knockout stage.
Holland has one of the best offenses in the World Cup tournament and Japan has their work cut out for them in this match and will have to play great defense.
Even thought the Dutch have a very dynamic offense they really did not show it in the win over Denmark. Holland dominated Denmark in terms of time of possession (66% to 34%) and shots on goal (19 to 11), but their first goal came on an own-goal and they tacked on another goal in the 84th minute.
Japan’s victory over Cameroon in their opening round match was not just surprising because Cameroon was favored, but Japan lost the time of possession battle (57% to 43%) and only took 3 shots on goal the whole match.
These teams met in a friendly in 2009 and the Dutch came out and beat the Japanese handily 3-0.
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Holland Recent Form:
6/14/2010 Holland 2 Denmark 0 (World Cup)
6/5/2001 Holland 6 Hungary 1 (Friendly)
6/1/2010 Holland 4 Ghana 1 (Friendly)
5/26/2010 Holland 2 Mexico 1 (Friendly)
Japan Recent Form
6/14/2010 Japan 1 Cameroon 0 (World Cup)
6/4/2010 Japan 0 Ivory Coast 2 (Friendly)
5/30/2010 England 3 Japan 1 (Friendly)
5/24/2010 Japan 0 South Korea 2 (Friendly)
There has been speculation that Holland MF Arjen Robben will be match fit and play against Japan, which would give them even more offense, but he will be a match time decision.
Japan G Eiji Kawashima played a solid match stopping some point blank shots in the win over Cameroon, but he will not keep a clean sheet in this match with the offense that Holland has.
Japan’s Keisuke Honda, who scored the lone goal in the Cameroon match, plays as the team’s lone striker and they will use that one striker formation again against Holland. Japan will rely on their defense in this match and they will look to score on the counter-attack.
The Dutch big MF’s of Wesley Sneijder and Robin van Persie did not do much in the match against Denmark, but the Japanese have to key on these guys. Sneijder is one of the best in the world taking free kicks. One of these guys, if not both, will come out and score in this match.
Luckily for Japan the main weakness of the Dutch is their defense, so they will have to take advantage of any scoring chance they will get, as they will likely not get many.
Dutch strikers Nicklas Bendtner and Dirk Kuyt will have to work around a loaded backfield since Japan will drop back on defense. Since Japan still has to play a decent Denmark squad, but they will still be happy if they play to a draw against Holland, but that will not happen.
Japan simply cannot hang all the way back, as they must stack the midfield, so the Dutch to not dominate the time of possession.
Jason’s Pick: Even though Holland was not that impressive in their opening match they will show what they are capable of in this one. Japan will defiantly play a defensive match, but that will not matter, as Holland will easily win this match by a score 3-0 or 4-0. I would not only take Holland to win, but the Over is also a good pick.