World Cup Betting: Back Goalless 1st Half in crucial World Cup qualifier between Japan and Australia

It's crunch time as the 2018 World Cup is getting closer and closer. Australia is visiting Saitama and taking on Japan as both teams are fighting for an automatic qualifying place.

Recommended bet: Half-time Correct Score – 0-0 @ 7/4 / (2.75) with bet365

Australia visit Saitama to take on Japan in a crucial World Cup qualifier on Thursday, with the two teams and Saudi Arabia vying for the two automatic group qualifying places.

It’s a huge week for Australia’s World Cup 2018 ambitions, with two games against Japan and Thailand that will decide whether they secure automatic qualification for the finals in Russia next year, or have to go through the arduous play-off process as they seek a fourth consecutive finals appearance.

As things stand, Japan top the group by a point from Saudi Arabia with Australia, despite having yet to lose a game in eight group matches, sitting in third place behind the Saudis on goal difference.  With Saudi Arabia hosting Japan in their final group game, a point in Saitama followed by victory at AAMI Park against Thailand would suffice for Australia.

There is little to choose when it comes to the head to head record between the Blue Samurai and the Socceroos, with Japan having registered eight wins, Australia seven and there being nine draws in the 24 previous meetings.

The reverse fixture in Melbourne last year ended in a 1-1 draw and it’s difficult to envisage this game being anything other than another closely fought and tight encounter either.

Ange Postecoglou’s team will be without injured captain Mile Jedinak, but they can call upon a trio of in-form star midfielders in Aaron Mooy, Tom Rogic and Jackson Irvine.

There is plenty of top level quality in the Japan squad too though, with the likes of Borussia Dortmund’s Shinji Kagawa, Pachuca’s Keisuke Honda, Leicester City’s Shinji Okazaki, Inter Milan’s Yuto Nagatomo and Southampton’s Maya Yoshida all included.

With so much at stake in this game and with neither team being able to afford to lose, goals could be at a premium here and the Under 2.5 Goals available at 4/5 (1.80) with bet365 looks a decent World Cup bet between two evenly matched teams under the circumstances. However, we’re going with 0-0 as the 1st Half Correct Score at 7/4 (2.75) with the same bookie, in anticipation of a fairly cautious opening 45-minutes from both teams.