Japan vs Costa Rica Odds, Pick | Women’s World Cup Preview
Mina Tanaka/Getty. Pictured: Risa Shimizu.
Japan vs Costa Rica Odds
|Costa Rica Odds||+2200|
|Over/Under||3.5 (+123 / -160)|
|Both Teams to Score (Yes/No)||(+300 / -450)|
|Odds via bet365. Get up-to-the-minute World Cup odds here.|
Japan looked every bit a World Cup title contender in their opener with a 5-0 win over Zambia.
Meanwhile, Costa Rica managed to prevent an offensive onslaught by Spain, losing their opener 3-0. But Las Ticas will need to find another gear if they want to record their first-ever World Cup win.
Read on for my analysis and pick for Japan vs Costa Rica at the Women's World Cup.
Japan Appear to Be Offensive Juggernaut
Japan were one of just two teams to score five-plus goals in their World Cup opener, with the other team being Germany. Four different players got onto the scoresheet for Japan, with the offense looking incredibly cohesive. Hinata Miyazawa broke the deadlock just before halftime, and she added a second a little over 15 minutes after halftime. Mina Tanaka, Jun Endo and Riko Ueki also contributed to the team’s offensive onslaught.
Defensively, they allowed zero shots. They out-tackled and out-cleared Zambia, with 48 tackles and 41 clearances while forcing 84 turnovers.
Yet, Tanaka still thinks the team can do better.
"The first match was tough. We still got five goals. They got zero shots. We did it as a team and that was wonderful," she said. "This is the second match and we're less nervous. We can play better. I want to be more relaxed and contribute more to the team."
Since the beginning of the year, this team has allowed just three goals – and scored 15 – in seven matches. That went unchanged, as Japan recorded their third clean sheet of the year. When Japan are scoring, this team is unbeatable, but when Japan go up against tougher defenses – i.e. Brazil, the USWNT and Denmark – goals are a little harder to come by. In their three losses this year, they didn’t manage a single goal. Still, they appear to have entered this World Cup with scoring in mind. And given the state of other teams’ matches, this team’s chances at a second World Cup are looking even better.
Costa Rica Facing Near Impossible Task
There’s no way around it — Costa Rica are looking outmatched against Japan, particularly after their 3-0 loss to Spain. Goalkeeper Daniela Solera was crucial in net for Costa Rica, making 10 saves to keep the margin at three after allowing an own goal to start the game. She’s the first goalkeeper to make 10-plus saves in a Women’s World Cup game since 2015. But, the rest of Costa Rica’s defense made it too easy for Spain to pick them apart.
Costa Rica did manage a good number of clearances (79) and forced turnovers (84), but that also can be attributed to the fact that they allowed Spain to dominate possession.
Offensively, the team wasn’t much better. Possessing the ball just 18% of the time, they managed a singular shot. The passing by Costa Rica wasn’t great either, with the team’s 158 passes at 48% accuracy being dwarfed by Spain’s 581 passes at near 90% accuracy.
This team does have some weapons in its arsenal that it could hope to deploy better, as Raquel Rodriguez has 55 goals through 100 caps. Priscila Chinchilla is a 21-year-old rising star who has 20 goals through 45 international appearances.
It’ll be a long road for Las Ticas in this one, however, with just one win under their belt this year.
Japan vs Costa Rica Pick
This one feels like a no-brainer. While Costa Rica could cause some problems, Japan will prevail after looking to improve upon their opener. And that looks like getting on the scoresheet earlier. Meanwhile, Costa Rica would do well to get ahead first if at all possible.
While Costa Rica are still looking for their first World Cup win, it’s unlikely to come in this matchup. Defensively, Las Ticas should look to emulate what they did against Spain, but the defense will need some help from the offense if it doesn’t want to get worn down. Allowing Japan to dominate offensive possession would inevitably result in goals scored by the team’s offense. It’s likely this one will be another offensive onslaught. I take Japan, 4-0.
The Pick: Japan 4 – Costa Rica 0 (Japan -2.5, -115 via bet365)