Japan vs North Korea Prediction: Goals expected in World Cup qualifier

 | March 20 | 

3 mins read

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Japan continue their quest to reach the 2026 World Cup as they host North Korea on Thursday morning (10:23 kick-off) in the second round of qualifying. Hajime Moriyasu will be hoping to lead the Asian Cup quarter-finalists to their eighth consecutive World Cup finals, and they’ve made a decent start to the group, winning two from two. 

Below you can find our Japan vs North Korea prediction, including team news, match odds and a couple of betting selections. 

Japan vs North Korea Tips

  • Over 3.5 goals @ 6/5
  • Japan to win and BTTS @ 11/4

Team News

Liverpool’s Waturu Endo will captain his country again here, and he will be joined by former Liverpool forward Takumi Minamino. Luton Town’s Daiki Hashioka has also been called up, but the two players to keep an eye on are Reims’ Keito Nakumura, who has scored six goals in his eight caps so far, and Feyenoord’s Ayase Ueda, who has bagged 11 in 24. Both players should play a key role here for manager Moriyasu.

Meanwhile North Korea have a severe lack of experience in goal, with all three of their goalkeepers boasting just three caps between them. Midfielder Jong Il-Gwan will hope to add to the 29 goals he has scored for his country, while six players could be handed their debuts.

Match odds

Japan are the clear favourites for this tie, priced at 1/14 to take all three points. North Korea can be backed at 20/1 for the win with a draw available at 7/1. BTTS is 2/1, and over 2.5 goals is 1/2.

Over 3.5 goals @ 6/5

An easy on to pick out in my eyes. Japan are clearly the dominant force here and should be able to score goals at will. With Ueda and Nakumura both flying, we could see both names appear on the scoresheet against an inexperienced goalkeeper. Japan scored in every game of the Asian Cup and despite falling to Iran in the quarter-finals, put in some decent performances.

They scored three against Indonesia and Bahrain and four against Vietnam. Prior to that tournament they scored six against Jordan and five against Thailand. This is a squad well-suited to scoring goals, so backing there to be plenty of them in this one feels like the sensible move.


Japan to win and BTTS @ 11/4

If goals are the order of the day, I’d like to go one further and back BTTS, along with a home win. The home win is, as we can tell by the odds, as close to a sure-thing as we are going to see. Japan are simply far superior to North Korea at this present moment in time.

But they do concede a lot of goals. They didn’t keep a single clean sheet during the Asian Cup and both teams have now scored in their last six matches. Even the likes of Vietnam and Jordan managed to score against them so the fact we are being offered 11/4 on this outcome feels generous.


Check out our World Cup Betting Tips here. 

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