Japan pulled off a stunning second-half comeback to beat Spain, 2-1, in the final match before the round of 16 to win Group E.
Despite the loss, Spain still advanced to the knockout stage, edging out Germany, who beat Costa Rica, on goal differential with both nations tied at four points. The win was Japan’s second comeback in the final half of this World Cup, and it was another win over a World Cup winning from two of the past three tournaments — Japan upset Germany, 2-1, in the first group match.
Japan moved on to the round of 16 and will face Group F runner up Croatia on Monday. The win was a big one for the underdogs, and it was a profitable victory for many World Cup bettors.
Heading into Thursday’s match, Japan had +625, +600 and +550 odds to defeat Spain on BetMGM, Caesars and DraftKings, respectively. Japan had more bets coming in at 43% but less money at 20% at BetMGM, according to data analyst John Ewing.
Germany was the top pick to win Group E at BetMGM with the four-time champions being the biggest liability at the sportsbook with 68% of tickets and 70.6% of the handle, according to data specialist Drew O’Dell. Spain was the favorite at -110.
Japan had the second-worst odds to win the group at +1100. This means a $100 bet would have paid out $1,200. There was little to no action on Samurai Blue, but those who did place a wager won huge. Japan had +1000 odds to win Group E at DraftKings.
Germany will join Belgium, who lost to drew against Croatia on Thursday, as two big European nations to not make the knockout round of the 2022 World Cup. As is the case every cycle, the World Cup is always full of surprises.