After a thrilling Round of 16 in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the quarter finals are now set in stone and get underway this this Friday night at midnight! We hit on a few tips at good odds in the Round of 16 including the $3.75 underdogs Russia to advance past Spain!
We take a look at all four quarter final matchups and give our betting tips below.
The first quarter final kicks off at midnight on Friday night and pits Uruguay up against France. The French came out on top of a topsy turvy match against Argentina in the Round of 16 that saw three lead changes and an eventual 4-3 score line. The French have looked less than convincing in the tournament as they just edged past Peru and Australia in the group stage before playing out a 0-0 draw to Denmark in the final game. They controlled just 40% of the possession against Argentina and allowed their opponents to fire 10 shots.
The only part of their game that looked stout coming into the Round of 16 clash was their defence after allowing just one goal in the group stage. However, Argentina were able to move the ball freely against the French, which opens up plenty of possibilities for the Uruguayan team. France will be without starting midfielder Matuidi who received a second red card in the win over Argentina. Corentin Tolisso looks to be the likely replacement to play alongside Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante in the midfield, while the forward trio of Antoine Griezmann, Olivier Giroud and Kylian Mbappe finally hit their straps in the Round of 16 clash.
Uruguay were fantastic in the Round of 16, sending Portugal and Cristiano Ronaldo packing in a 2-1 win. They have no suspension issues to worry about but will be waiting with bated breath on the fitness of star striker Edinson Cavani. The PSG forward limped off the ground in the 74th minutes in Uruguay’s win over Portugal after scoring both of his team’s goals.
France start as $2 favourites to win the game in regular time and $1.45 favourites to advance to the semi-finals. The fitness of Cavani will be a massive concern for the South American team, as they have struggled to find an avenue to goal at times throughout the tournament. France’s offence finally clicked in their Round of 16 and the forward trio look poised to dominate again.
Brazil vs Belgium (Saturday 4am AEST)
The matchup of the quarter finals in my opinion sees Brazil facing off against Belgium at 4am on Saturday morning. Belgium spent their get out of jail free card in the Round of 16 after trailing Japan 2-0 before scoring three second half goals to advance to the quarter finals. Belgium maintained 57% possession and fired 24 shots in the win but were ultimately outplayed for the majority of the first half and will be counting their lucky stars that they have the opportunity to line-up against Brazil on Saturday.
On the contrary, Brazil were dominant over Mexico in the Round of 16. Mexico had some good chances on the counter attack as they usually, but Brazil hardly looked like surrendering the game and came away with a 2-0 win. They did have to work for the first goal, which came in the 51st minute, but it was smooth sailing from there as they started to play like the team that has them as $3.75 favourites for the trophy.
I said it in our Round of 16 preview that I still have massive reservations over the Belgium team. They breezed past arguably the two easiest teams in the competition in the group stage before edging past England in a dead rubber that neither team wanted to win. They showed their vulnerability in their Round of 16 when they allowed two early goals to the Japanese and needed some moments of luck and brilliance to dig themselves out of the hole.
Brazil will be without starting midfielder Casemiro who picked up his second yellow in the Round of 16 but in an embarrassment of riches situation they have a ready-made replacement in Fernandinho to step in.
Sweden vs England (Sunday 12am AEST)
Could the penalty shootout against Colombia be a turning point in English football? The Three Lions finally broke their shootout hoodoo as they overcame the South Americans in a thrilling round of 16 clash to set up a tie with arguably the easiest quarter final opponent in Sweden. With the win and the benefit of having the ‘easy’ side of the draw to compete with, England have now moved into $5 to win the World Cup, which is second favourite behind only Brazil.
Harry Kane was once again fantastic in the win, drawing and scoring the penalty that would put England 1-0 up and calmly putting it away his penalty shot in the shootout. Goalkeeper Jordan Pickford made arguably the play of the World Cup so far with his save of a Carlos Bacca attempt in the shootout.
After just edging out Italy to qualify for the World Cup months ago, few would have predicted that Sweden would now be competing the in the World Cup qualifiers, especially without their marquee striker Zlatan Ibrohimovic. Switzerland controlled 67% of the possession in t heir Round of 16 clash against Sweden, but the game was much more even than the stats suggest, and crucially, Emil Forsberg put away the goal that would see the Swedes into the quarter final.
I’m all in on England here. This is the best team they have had in decades and it’s full of talented youth and depth. I genuinely think they can go all the way lead by arguably the best striker in the world.
Can Russia continue their fairy-tale run in their home World Cup? They face off against one of the impressive teams in the World Cup so far, Croatia, at 4am on Sunday morning. The hometown heroes edged past Spain in a penalty shootout in the Round of 16 to book their place in the quarter finals and will have the backing of a nation behind them on Sunday morning.
Croatia also needed a penalty shootout to advance in the Round of 16, although arguably dominated the majority of the game and probably should have ended it in regular time. After Denmark scored in the first minute of play and Croat Mario Mandzukic equalised in the 4th minute, Croatia went on to control the majority of the rest of the game, maintaining 54% possessions and firing 20 shots.
Neither team has any suspended players however there is fitness concerns over Russian left winger Yuri Zhirkov, whose injury forced him out at halftime of their Round of 16 game and is expected to rule him out of Sunday’s game.
In my opinion, the hardest match to call of the quarter finals. Croatia start as $2.22 favourites to win in regular time and $1.53 to advance but there’s no way I’m betting against a fired up home town team here.
TIP: No Bet
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