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Can Japan win the World Baseball Classic for a third time?

newsonjapan.com -- Mar 10
Japan are a two-time World Baseball Classic winner. However, it seems like a long time ago that Japan won those honours.

The team claimed the inaugural World Baseball Classic trophy in 2006, defeating Cuba in the final 10-6. Three years later, Japan won the World Baseball Classic final again, with a 5-3 victory over heated rivals South Korea.

Since the 2009 World Baseball Classic win, Japan failed to regain the championship trophy in the two subsequent tournaments. Despite missing out on the tournament final, Japan won third place in both 2013 and 2017, as they once again reached the final four of baseball’s equivalent of the World Cup.

Baseball fans are debating Japan’s chances at the World Baseball Classic and whether the team can win the tournament for a third time. Baseball fans can use the bet365 ボーナスコード to wager on the tournament outright winner and follow all the action.

Welcome back World Baseball Classic

The World Baseball Classic will return after a five-year absence in March. Japan are one of the favourites to win the tournament thanks to an array of incredible talent playing domestically and in the United States.

The 2023 edition of the competition is an improvement from the previous tournament. The World Baseball Classic 2023 has added four more teams to take the count of nations up to 20. The addition of four new national teams will make the competition more difficult. Group play will feature four groups with five teams. The top two teams in each group will progress to the knockout rounds. Meanwhile, the team that finishes last in its group will be relegated to the qualifying stage of the next World Baseball Classic.

Can Japan win the World Baseball Classic?

Compared to soccer’s World Cup, the World Baseball Classic, which crowns the sport’s world champion, is very different. Baseball is not as advanced in some countries as it is in others. For example, baseball has a long tradition in Japan, but not so in the United Kingdom – which have also qualified for the tournament.

There is a gulf in quality when it comes to talent. Some teams have players playing at a high level, such as the United States, Japan, and South Korea. Other countries struggle to piece together squads with players having experience in Major League Baseball, Nippon Pro Baseball League, or the KBO. Fans will likely see plenty of blowout wins in the group stage and possibly in the knockout rounds. The final of the 2017 World Baseball Classic saw the United States smash Puerto Rico 8-0.

According to the famed sports statistics website, FiveThirtyEight, Japan have the best chance of winning the World Baseball Classic based on the data available. The team has an overall record of 23-8 all-time in the tournament. The website used an ELO rating to determine Japan’s chances of winning. An ELO rating is used to determine the relative player skill levels in a zero-sum game. Japan have an ELO rating of 1,563. The United States, the winner of the 2017 edition of the tournament, have an ELO of 1,519.

Although Japan do not have the most Major League Baseball talent in the competition, they do have a squad filled with determined professional players. It is all well and good to have players competing in the world’s best baseball league, yet it is another thing to get them to play well for a month-long tournament. Japan showed in 2006 and 2009 that it can win the World Baseball Classic. The national team can certainly do it once more.

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