Japan Norway Odds, Prediction, Picks | Women’s World Cup Round of 16
NurPhoto/Getty. Pictured: Honoka Hayashi.
Japan Norway Odds
|Over/Under||2.5 (+130 / -167)|
|Both Teams to Score (Yes/No)||(+120 / -163)|
|Odds via bet365. Get up-to-the-minute World Cup odds here.|
One of the most exciting group stages in recent memory is over, and now the knockout stage begins at the Women's World Cup.
In a matchup of former World Cup champions, Japan are one of three teams to have won all three of their group stage games. Meanwhile, Norway finished second in Group A with one win, one loss and one draw.
Both teams finished the group stage having scored plenty of goals, which makes this matchup interesting. Read on for my analysis, as well as my pick and prediction for Japan v Norway.
Japan Firing on All Cylinders
Japan looked every bit the part of a World Cup contender in the group stage, outscoring opponents 11-0 for their most dominant group stage showing ever at the event. Among their wins included a 4-0 rout of a very good Spain squad and a 5-0 win over Zambia.
“Our team is more confident, that is sure,” coach Futoshi Ikeda said following the group stage. “But this is the knockout stage, and we only have one chance to win. So our mindset has to change accordingly.”
Players echoed that sentiment, with midfielder Yui Hasegawa saying that they have to “keep that level of performance” as they continue into the knockout rounds. Given this team’s play against Spain, that shouldn’t be an issue against Norway – despite how good Norway are.
Japan are firing on all cylinders at this World Cup, something they showed promise of at the SheBelieves Cup, which featured close losses to the USWNT and Brazil. They followed those up with a 3-0 win over Canada, and have continued to come into their form ever since. They’re peaking at the right time, and will be a difficult out in the knockout rounds.
Hinata Miyazawa leads all goal scorers for Japan, and she is tied for the tournament lead with four. She has a real shot at the Golden Boot if Japan can continue their run, as she’s tied with Germany’s Alexandra Popp, who has since been eliminated from the tournament. Mina Tanaka has also shown her goalscoring abilities in Japan’s well-rounded attack.
Norway a Dangerous Underdog
Make no mistake, as good as Japan were in the group stage, Norway won’t be an easy out – particularly if Ada Hegerberg makes her return. Hegerberg has been out for the last two weeks, but trained on Friday.
While she didn’t play in the group stage finale against Philippines, Sophie Roman Haug scored a hat trick as her replacement.
“She’s been following the medical plan and been successful in every step of that plan,” Norway coach Hege Riise said. “So we will see her in training (Friday) and see how she reacts to that, like the last step before the game.”
The team, he said, will be preparing for Hegerberg “to play or come in,” although having two equally strong choices at forward is a “luxury for me as a coach.” It also makes it more difficult for Japan to prepare defensively, which is a plus for Norway.
Despite their run in the group stage being so-so, Norway still managed to score six goals, allowing just one. They finished the group stage on a high note, with a 6-0 win over Philippines. Heading into the knockout rounds with momentum is something most teams strive to do, and it’s what could make Norway dangerous against Japan.
Japan vs Norway Pick
Japan versus Norway is going to be an exciting matchup. These two teams have met eight times previously, with Japan winning five of those games and Norway three. Neither team is a stranger to knowing what it takes to win a World Cup, either. Norway were champions back in 1995, while Japan took home their title in 2011.
The Japanese have dominated opponents on the goalscoring end of the spectrum, despite not dominating possession or shot-taking against Spain. They’re a more efficient team, and that type of play can break down teams not just physically, but also mentally.
While Norway might make it a little more difficult for Japan, I expect Japan to come out on top.
The Pick: Japan 3 – Norway 1 (Japan ML, -125 via bet365)