Our football match prediction:
Stade Maurice Dufrasne in Liege will host Friday's football match between Japan and Mali. The Japanese national team kick off their preparations for the World Cup finals and we predict that they are going to fight tooth and nail against the African side. The Samurai Blue were beaten by the likes of Brazil and Belgium in previous two friendly games and, no doubt, they are eager to get back on course. Mali, on the other hand, failed to find the net in previous five games in all competitions, so we do not believe that there is a big value in betting on the underdogs. The good news for Japan fans is that Keisuke Honda, who used to play for Milan in the past, returns to the squad for the March friendlies. You should bear in mind that Japan and Mali meet for the first time ever on the international stage.
Highlighted Player (Wataru Endo):
Wataru Endo is a Japanese footballer who plays for Urawa Red Diamonds as a defender. Endo is a product of Shonan Bellmare youth academy and he continued playing for the club at senior level. After scoring 21 goals in 153 appearances (league) for the club the 178-cm tall centre-back moved to Urawa Red Diamonds in 2016 and he has been playing for the J1 League club ever since. Endo won the AFC Champions League with Urawa in 2017 as the Reds defeated Al-Hilal in the final of the competition. The Japanese defender played 90 minutes in the victory over the Saudi Arabian side and the winning of the AFC Champions League trophy is considered the biggest success of his career. Wataru Endo made his debut for Japan on August 2, 2015 in a 2-1 loss to Korea DPR at the EAFF E-1 Football Championship. In 2016 he was the AFC U-23 Championship trophy with the Samurai Blue. The Urawa Red Diamonds footballer was born in Totsuka-ku, Yokohama (Japan) on February 9, 1993.
Highlighted Team (Mali):
Mali are an African football team that have never participated at the World Cup finals. Les Aigles (the Eagles), though, did well to make it to the 1972 Africa Cup of Nations final, with the team facing Congo in the title game. Mali suffered a 3-2 loss to Pierre Lechantre’s men back then, but that is regarded as the team’s biggest success. The Malian national football team play their home games in yellow shirts and yellow shorts, while the colour of the team’s away kit is white. Stade du 26 Mars is regarded as the home stadium of Mali and the capacity of the venue is 60,000. Les Aigles won the Amilcar Cabral Cup on three occasions (1989, 1997 and 2007) and they made it to the final of the tournament four times. Frederic Kanoute is the most notable footballer who played for the Malian national team and the former Sevilla and Tottenham attacker scored 23 goals in 39 appearances for the Eagles.