WORLD: Friendly International
Time: 11:25 AM
Venue: Noevir Stadium (Kobe)
It’s been a thrilling 2021 for Japan who have won all four of their games, scoring 31 times whilst conceding only once. Remarkably, Hajime Moriyasu’s men even came within one goal of matching their all-time record victory (15-0 vs Philippines, 1967) with their 14-0 win over Mongolia in March. Though this promises to be a more stern test against Serbia who they’ve never previously scored against (L2).
Despite Japan’s incredible recent record, they have not won any of their last seven encounters with UEFA nations since a 1-0 win over #97 ranked Cyprus back in 2014 (D1, L6). Notably, only three games in the aforementioned sequence saw goals before HT, whilst six were level at the break.
After failing to win at short odds last time out, Dragan Stojković’s Serbia can take comfort in the fact they came from behind to extend an unbeaten run which now stretches ten matches (W3, D7 – 90 mins only). Furthermore Stojković-managed sides have visited Misaki Park Stadium on six prior occasions and never lost (W5, D1) – all victories were by a single-goal margin.
Though ranked three places above Japan by FIFA, Serbia (#25) possess a mere 22.22% win rate across their last 18 games vs nations ranked within ten places of their hosts (#28) (W4, D7, L7). Interestingly, just one third of the aforementioned games saw at least one goal in both halves despite the 18 games averaging 2.61 total goals per fixture.
Players to watch: Yuya Osako bagged eight goals across his last two international appearances, making up over a third of his efforts for Japan across his eight-year international career (34.78%). As for Serbia, Strahinja Pavlović scored his first international goal after being subbed on last time out, he was also booked in four of his last eight Serbia appearances.
- Japan’s form in last 5 matches: WWWWL.
- Serbia’s form in last 5 matches: DWDWD