Iraq will face favorites Japan on Friday at the Education City Stadium in the second group-stage match of the 2023 AFC Asian Cup.
Iraq beat Indonesia 3-1 and defeated Vietnam 4-2 in a crucial match for both teams. The winner of this match is guaranteed a spot in the knockout round and will finish as Group D toppers.
2007 champions Iraq won their campaign opener against Indonesia thanks to Mohanad Ali's 17th-minute goal. Marcelino Bertinan equalized for Indonesia, but goals from Osama Rashid and Aymen Hussain helped them to a comfortable victory.
Japan, who won their fourth and last trophy in 2011, scored five first-half goals in their campaign opener against Vietnam. Takumi Minamino had a fantastic first half with two goals and an assist. Takefusa Kubo replaced Minamino in the 84th minute with an assist for Ayase Ude a minute later.
Iraq vs Japan Head to head and key numbers
- The two teams have met 12 times in all the matches so far. The Samurai Blue won 7-2 to take the lead in the head-to-head record with three games drawn.
- Eight of the 12 meetings between the two teams have scored under 2.5 goals.
- Iraq are winless and have lost seven of their eight matches against Japan in the 21st century.
- They have met twice in the Asia Cup, first in the quarter-finals of the tournament in 2000 and then in the group stage in 2015. The 2011 champions have a 100% record in these encounters, outscoring the 2007 winners 5-1. In these games.
Iraq vs Japan Prediction
Usud al-Rafidayn They have qualified for the knockout rounds in each of the last seven editions of the tournament and will need to keep that run alive. They started their campaign with a win and therefore need just one win in the remaining two games to ensure passage to the next round.
They have won four of their last five games in all competitions, scored 11 goals while conceding five times, and will be expected to leave a good account of themselves in this tournament.
The Samurai Blue are on an 11-game winning streak in all competitions and continued their scoring streak with a 4-2 win in the campaign opener. They have scored at least four goals in 10 games in that period and could enjoy a good run in this tournament.
They have won seven of their last eight meetings against Iraq, keeping five clean sheets, and are strong favourites. With this in mind, Japan is expected to register a comfortable win.
Prediction: Iraq 1-3 Japan
Iraq vs Japan Racing tips
Tip 1: Conclusion – Japan wins
Tip 2: Goals – Over 2.5/Under Goals – Over 2.5 goals
Tip 3: Score at least one goal in the second half – Yes
Tip 4: Takumi Minamino to score or assist anytime – yes
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