Japan vs Canada Odds & Prediction


Japan vs Canada

Japan forward Mana Iwabuchi (8) during the first half of a SheBelieves Cup soccer match against England Sunday, March 8, 2020, in Harrison, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

  • Canada, the only nation to medal at the two previous Olympics, kicks off its tournament Wednesday against host Japan
  • Japan, Olympic silver medalists in 2012, has been building for these Games and has a youthful squad at its disposal
  • Read on for a preview, full odds and a best bet for this opening game for this pair of Olympic hopefuls

Two of the heavyweight programs of the womenโ€™s game go head to head on Wednesday, July 21, for their Olympic opener. Having missed out on the Rio Olympics, Japan will be desperate to add to the silver medal it picked up in London in 2012, itself coming on the heels of its surprise 2011 World Cup win against the US.

Meanwhile, Canada will be looking to upgrade the color of its Olympic soccer medals from the past two Games, having managed bronze on both occasions.

Japan vs Canada Odds

Matchup Spread Moneyline Total
Japan vs Canada JPN -1.5 (+170) | CAN +1.5 (-310) JPN -150 | CAN +425
DRAW +275
Ov 2.5 (+130) | Un 2.5 (-165)

Odds as of July 20 at DraftKings

Japan Has Historical Edge

As you might expect from one of just four countries to win either a World Cup or Olympic gold in womenโ€™s soccer, Japan has held the edge over Canada in the history of the rivalry.

Japan is 7-4-3 all-time against Canada and rolled to a 4-0 victory the last time the two teams met, in a 2019 friendly. Canada has to go all the way back to the 2003 World Cup to find the last time it beat Japan, with Christine Sinclair, still playing after 299 appearances for her national team, finding the net that day.

Canada Struggling for Offense

Despite the presence of Sinclair, the all-time leader in international goals in the womenโ€™s (and menโ€™s) game with 186, Canada has struggled to score under head coach Bev Priestman. The team has scored just six goals in its seven games in 2021 and didnโ€™t find the net at all in its most recent outings โ€“ scoreless draws with Brazil and the Czech Republic.

However, Canada will be relying on Sinclairโ€™s experience in big games to come through in this tournament. The Portland Thorns striker has scored 11 goals in 15 Olympics matches, with Tokyo set to be her fourth Summer Games.

Canada will be hoping she gets some help, too, with the likes of Jessie Fleming being relied upon to bring her title-winning experience with Chelsea this past season to the national team setup.

Japan Reliant On Top Gunner

The hopes for the host nation have very firmly been pinned onto their own star attacker, in this case, Mana Iwabuchi. The striker has recently joined Arsenal in the Womenโ€™s Super League and has had a glittering career with the national team, being part of both the 2011 World Cup win and the Olympic silver medal the following year.

In all, she has 35 goals in 77 appearances, but much of her success has come in more recent years, following the retirement of legends such as Homare Sawa. Iwabuchi was named MVP of the 2018 Asia Cup and has six goals and four assists in Japanโ€™s five pre-Olympic warm-up games, all of which were victories.

Japan vs Canada Key Stats

5-0-0 Record In 2021 3-2-2
28 Goals For 6
1 Goals Against 3
Did Not Qualify 2016 Olympics Performance Bronze

Hosts Have Perfect Blend

In addition to Iwabuchi, Japan also has the luxury of calling on the talents of captain Saki Kumagai, who now plays for Bayern Munich after winning five Champions League titles with Lyon. The defender is ably abetted in the middle of the park by the presence of Yui Hasegawa, who provides goals and stability.

Those two will help lead a team that is heavily reliant on youth, with the country calling up eight players with 10 or less caps to the last World Cup, a tournament that ended in the last 16 with a narrow loss to eventual runners-up the Netherlands.

Seven of those players are back in the squad for these Olympics, such as central defender Moeka Minami, and their youthful exuberance will be vital to lift Japan back to its title-chasing ways of years gone by.

Best bet: Draw (+275)

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Paul Attfield

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