Those who are staying up – for whatever reason, whether drowning your sorrows, partying hard, or celebrating an opening success – for the Ivory Coast and Japan’s meeting in the early hours may be in for a little treat. Japan’s last visit to Recife was a seven-goal thriller against Italy in one of the games of 2013 and while this might not be quite as thrilling, there’s a lot of potential for goals.
Under Alberto Zaccheroni, Japan have taken an offensive, high tempo approach and also been happy to take the defensive risks that entail. Part of a high goals conceded record comes from the fact that their centre backs don’t match up with their attacking quality. Shinji Kagawa, Kezuke Honda and Shinji Ozkaski are a high quality trip most nations would be proud of as shown by impressive European performances.
The Ivory Coast boast one of the finest midfielders in world football with yay Toure running from deep while Serge Aurier and Aruthr Boka can both push on hard from either side of a rickety centreback pairing. Kolo Toure may start but was poor for Liverpool and Souleymae Bamba, at 33, did not impress in 9 league for Trabzonspor.
Both these sides however, are better going forward than back. Only Brazil shut out Japan in last year’s Confederations Cup but they eventually went home pointless after letting in 9 goals, and the Ivory Coast have scored in five of their six games at the last two World Cups – including against the likes of Holland, Brazil and Argentina. Much of the same side will play tonight – 6 of the side are over 30 – and 63% of the Ivory Coast’s competitive games since 201 have seen over 2.5 goals. In the past year alone Japan have had 14 out of 17 over 2.5 goals (82%) and Ivory Coast have had six out of nine (67%). In short, over 2.5 goals looks to have a fine chance and so does both teams to score.
2 pts Over 2.5 goals (19/20 Betway)
1 pt Both teams to score (17/20 Betfair Sportsbook)