World Cup Quarter-final – Predictions + Betting Tips
Next up, the quarter-finals. The shock results didn’t end in the second round as we were treated to more enthralling action and elimination of big teams. Russia knocking out Spain on penalties was without doubt the biggest scalping, but we also saw the elimination of Portugal, Argentina, Denmark, Mexico, Japan, Colombia and Switzerland.
Notice how England aren’t on that list? Despite the Three Lion’s match against Colombia heading into a penalty shootout, England managed to defy the odds and win, earning a favourable match against Sweden. The winner of that will take on either Croatia or hosts Russia in the final in what is certainly a kind route to the final. Is it really coming home?
The other side of the draw is where we will see what the big boys are made of. By the time England play on Saturday afternoon, two of Brazil, Belgium, Uruguay and France will have been eliminated. France and Brazil are the bookies’ favourites, but only one can make it to the final and we may be in store to see them meet head on in what will surely be an epic semi-final match.
Match of the Day
It was a nail-biter, but England deservedly made it past Colombia on Tuesday night to face Sweden in the quarter-finals. Colombia lacked their main-man James Rodriguez and seemed resigned to try to frustrate England. Ultimately, it didn’t work and the Three Lions got rid of the dubious title of having the worst penalty shootout record of any nation at a World Cup with their first win in penalties.
- Venue: Samara Arena
- Sat 07 July 15:00
- Referee: Bjorn Kuipers
- Quick Glance Odds H: 15/4 D: 12/5 A: 10/11
About the Game:
England won a penalty shootout and are in the quarter-finals of a World Cup. That’s a sentence I didn’t expect to be able to say during Russia 2018, but, against the odds, England won their first shootout in a World Cup at the fourth attempt. Jordan Pickford’s heroics at that stage will go down in history should England be progress to the final.
Colombia were a tricky and niggly opponent for England, forever hacking at players, intimidating the referee and generally trying to make things difficult for the players. Sweden will be an altogether different opponent. The Swedes are slower but more organised than Colombia and will be tough for England to break down. The Three Lions will likely have to do without Dele Alli and perhaps Ashley Young too. But they can be confident. Harry Kane is the tournament’s top scorer and has scored in each game he has started. Raheem Sterling and Jesse Lingard could look to exploit Sweden’s preoccupation with Kane, but as we said, it won’t be easy: the Swedes have kept clean sheets in three of their four games so far. England go into this match as favourites and it could be a case of handling the pressure as much as anything. Having just won a penalty shootout, surely we can start to dream, right?
Surely Sweden should now be recognised as deserving of their place at this stage in the World Cup. The Swedes emerged from one of the toughest groups as winners and saw off the much fancied Switzerland in the last round.
Sweden have the luxury of not going through grueling extra-time and a penalty shootout and may be fresher than England. That will aid the fact that Sweden are perhaps one of the most organised and disciplined teams at the World Cup. The absence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic has also played to that fact and Sweden should be commended on the smooth transition into the post-Zlatan age. The fact that they are underdogs will not faze Sweden here. They have been so heading into most of their games but have emerged on top. But England will be a much more dangerous attacking opponent than Switzerland and while the defence is strong, rebutting attack after attack for ninety minutes will drain the players. But, once again, it has worked to great effect so far, so why change things? Sweden will stick to their game plan and will not be intimidated. Though the underdogs at the bookies, Sweden will still be fancied by many.
Prediction: Draw at half time – Three out of the four games each team has played have been level at half-time. We expect England to go through, but this will be a tight game for the majority.
Rest of the Games
France opened proceedings in the second round and will do so again here with another South American opponent, Uruguay. France are picking up speed but Uruguay have been consistently solid with the tournament’s best defence. Two giants in the form of Brazil and Belgium meet on Friday night, while the action ends with the hosts Russia taking on Croatia on Saturday evening.
- Venue: Nizhny Novgorod
- Fri 06 July 15:00
- Referee: Nestor Pitana
- Quick Glance Odds H: 18/5 D: 11/5 A: 1/1
About the Game:
Uruguay were deserving winners in their second round match against Portugal but victory did not come without cost. Edinson Cavani, the scorer of both of Uruguay’s goals, limped off late into the second half. It has been confirmed that he is not seriously injured, but it is extremely unlikely he will start here. That’s a huge loss for Uruguay, especially as he and strike partner Luis Suárez have combined to such deadly effect so far this tournament.
But Uruguay can take solace in their defence, which is currently the tournament’s best with just one goal conceded so far. That will face its sternest test here though. Dealing with the speed and trickery of France’s front three will be the key concern of coach Óscar Tabárez and could be where the match is won or lost. Uruguay have largely coasted so far with an easy group but they were the better team against Portugal. They have risen to the occasion once and there’s no reason they can’t do it again. But, it remains to be seen just how big of a loss Edinson Cavani will be.
France too have coasted somewhat. They did enough to get through their group while never looking particularly convincing. The fact that this team of superstars is yet to gel can still justifiably be thrown at this French team during this World Cup. But, we saw just what they’re capable of in the second half performance against Argentina. Coming from behind, France utilised the speed of their attack to devastating effect to turn things around and eliminate Argentina.
Perhaps that will be the impetus for better performances from this team. Either way, breaking down this Uruguay side is no easy task, as Portugal will attest to. While their opponents attack is undoubtedly weakened, France must find a way past the best defence so far in the tournament. But they have a secret weapon. Kylian Mbappé – not that anyone was unaware of his talents – burst onto the international stage with his performance and goals against Argentina. Continue like that and he could write his name into the history books in this World Cup.
Prediction: France win – Cavani is a huge loss to Uruguay and they may struggle to score. That puts the onus on France to go out and win this and we expect them to do just that.
- Venue: Kazan Arena
- Fri 06 June 19:00
- Referee: Milorad Mazic
- Quick Glance Odds H: 11/10 D: 5/2 A: 11/4
About the Game:
Brazil appear the team to beat. The pre-tournament favourites have looked solid so far, if perhaps not overly exciting. Brazil were never really troubled at the back against Mexico in their last match and look the only team currently balancing defensive solidity with goals at the other end.
Neymar, while on the whole not living up to expectations, is growing into the competition. However, another attacker is proving to be Brazil’s talisman. Phillipe Coutinho has been a joy to watch so far and proved the key to unlocking the Mexico defence last week. His sublime through ball led to the first goal and if Brazil progress far he may well emerge as the player of the tournament. Defensively Brazil will face a sterner test here. They looked assured against Mexico and were never really troubled, but that is unlikely to be the case here. Belgium possess unlimited attacking talents and Brazil will need to up their game. The injured Marcelo and Douglas Costa are likely to still be out, though the latter has returned to training.
Will Belgium’s squad finally live up to the sum of its parts? They can count themselves somewhat lucky to still be in the competition. Trailing 2-0 to a plucky Japan team after an hour in the second round, Belgium were able to turn things around quickly, before a last second goal sparred them the agony of extra-time and perhaps penalties.
We saw what Belgium are capable of, but there is still much to suggest that the team is not yet at the heights of Brazil. Like France, Belgium are currently a team of superstars that is yet to gel to its full potential. Unlike France, Belgium doesn’t have a prestigious history in World football and there is pressure on this golden generation to achieve. Perhaps that is what’s limiting them currently, but if not, then something else is. Either way, Belgium will have to be at their best. Brazil are favourites and after the agonising way in which they were eliminated from the last World Cup, losing is simply not an option for them.
Prediction: Brazil to qualify – While Belgium’s team is strong, we just can’t see Brazil messing up here. They will use their vast experience to find a way to the semi-final somehow.
- Venue: Fisht Stadium
- Sat 07 July 19:00
- Referee: Sandro Ricci
- Quick Glance Odds H: 3/1 D: 21/10 A: 6/5
About the Game:
The hosts are in the quarter-finals. Russia are currently ranked 70th in the official FIFA rankings having taken a tumble in recent years. That hasn’t stopped them surpassing expectations in this tournament though. Home support has likely played a large part but you have to give Russia their dues for overcoming Spain in the last round.
That victory was mostly down to keeping defensive discipline to the last. But, Russia will see more of the ball against Croatia who do not play the same overwhelming possession football as Spain. That will give players such as Aleksandr Golovin the chance to shine and show the world once again what he can do. Russia have shown themselves to be creative and effective with the ball as evidenced by the combined eight goals they put past Saudi Arabia and Egypt. They are certainly underdogs here, but with home support, they should not be counted out.
Croatia were perhaps the standout team of the group stages. Three victories from three, including that inspired three goal demolition of Argentina, put Croatia on everyones’ radars as one of the standout teams. Fans were given a dash of realism in the turgid performance against Denmark though with Croatia just sneaking through on penalties. Will that performance be a wake up call to re-up the standards or was that a more accurate reflection of the team’s abilities? That question will hopefully be answered here.
There’s no doubt that on paper Croatia are the stronger team. The qualities of Luka Modrić and Ivan Rakitić cannot be overstated and should Russia not keep tight then those two could dismantle Russia. Mario Mandžukić is banging in the goals that those two provide and Liverpool’s Dejan Lovren is performing well in central defence. Perform like they did in the group matches and Croatia should win this, but it remains to be seen how much the Russian support will effect the players.
Prediction: Both teams to score – We dare not call a winner here after Russia continue to march on and Croatia performed so poorly in their last match. But, one thing that stats tell us is to expect goals from both teams.
Combi bet of the day: Our Pick*
|England v Sweden||Half time result: Draw||20/21||1.95|
|Uruguay v France||France win||1/1||3.9|
|Brazil v Belgium||Brazil to qualify||4/7||6.13|
|Russia v Croatia||Both teams to score||11/10||12.88|
Bookie of the week: Our Pick
William Hill are our bookie of the week. To find out all you need to know about William Hill you can read our William Hill review.
* All our selections are provided for entertainment only and should only be used for informational purposes. Whilst we use our experience and knowledge to help inform you to make a considered bet, we are not responsible for any losses that may arise from actual results being different than predicted.