Japan through to Asian Cup quarter finals

Japan has progressed to the Asian Cup quarter-finals with a 1-0 win over Saudi Arabia, they will now face Vietnam. 

Tougher last 16 ties, than a semi? 

Japan came through a tough game in the last 16 against Saudi Arabia, which cemented their spot in the quarterfinals where they will face Vietnam. Japan will go into this game as strong favourites even though Vietnam will be a tricky opponent due to the improvement they've made over recent years.

Japan will feel no pressure going into this from their favourites tag as they have to cope with that in most games they play in against Asian opposition. Vietnam themselves will also feel no pressure because for them it is a game that they have nothing to lose in as people expect Japan to win, therefore if Vietnam pulls off a win, then it's a massive shock but if they lose it's just expected.

Vietnam also had a tough last 16 tie, mainly because their game against Jordan went to extra time and penalties, with Vietnam coming out the victors with a 4-2 shootout win. 

Japan should get to the semi-final

Japan should navigate their game against Vietnam, no matter how tricky side Vietnam are, Japan has enough in the locker to see them off. If any complacency creeps into their game though, Vietnam is more than capable of punishing the Japanese which means they'll have to go about their job professionally.

If as predicted Japan does get past Vietnam and make it to the semi-final, then they will face the winner of the tie between China and Iran. Iran is the most likely winner in that match, and if the semi-final will involve Japan vs Iran then it would be the biggest game of the 2019 Asian Cup so far.

Japan got the furthest of any Asian side in the World Cup and pushed Belgium all the way in the last 16, and Iran is the highest ranked Asian side according to the Fifa rankings and has been the best side so far in this edition of the Asian Cup.

Iran has been the best team of the tournament, and because of this a lot of fans, 'experts' and Twitter posters are tipping them to win the competition, but if any team from the continent are capable of stopping them then it's Japan. The winner of the Asian Cup will come from this semi-final.

If I had to predict the winner, I would have to say Japan to win, and Japan to win the Asian Cup. I believe they are the number 1 side in Asia right now regardless of the Fifa rankings. If I had to rank the top 5 in Asia right now it would be this:

1. Japan
2. Iran
3. South Korea
4. Australia
5. Saudi Arabia

I still predict the final will be against Japan and South Korea, no team in South Korea's side of the draw has really set the world alight so it could be any of the 'decent' sides in that half so far but I have to predict someone.

Final Japan vs South Korea  

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