World Cup Quarter Final Betting Tips
The first round of the 2018 World Cup has seen some of the major favourites going home; the trend continued into the first matches of the playoff. Portugal and Argentina packing their bags may not be a huge surprise, as they lost to opponents of the same or even better quality. However, Spain’s defeat to host nation Russia is definitely the biggest surprise of the round. The Russians progressing to the quarter-finals showed us that all the statistics, big names and current form means nothing when it comes to the knockout phase of the World Cup. At this point, stakes are high and every mistake could be a costly one. Here are some World Cup quarter-final betting tips that should be taken into consideration when making your bets on the upcoming matches.
Uruguay and France have a long history of football duels, which hasn’t been very successful for French. In eight matches played so far, France managed to win only once; four matches ended with a draw and the Uruguayans won three matches. This poor record, however, means nothing as the last competitive match that Uruguay won (2 – 1) took place in 1966. More recently, Uruguayan matches tend to lack excitement as in the last five matches (2002-2013) only one goal was scored. The last encounter between two teams, in the 2013 friendly match, saw Uruguay as the victors.
France has progressed four out of the last five occasions that they’ve reached the quarter-final stage of the World Cup. The team definitely has the quality to go all the way, which they showed in their defeat of Argentina; one of the most exciting matches of the tournament so far. The spotlight of the match will be on the teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe; he scored two crucial goals in the encounter. Mbappe is likely to be the main threat to Muslera’s goal in this match. The French just might leave the play to their opponents and use his speed to counter-attack. If Uruguayans concentrate their defence on Mbappe, as they did with Ronaldo, this could open the space for Griezmann, whose quality poses an equal threat.
A Quality Match
Uruguay probably showed more skill than we expected. They won all four matches without conceding a single goal. Credit for the team’s fantastic defence should go to Atletico Madrid duo Jose Gimenez and Diego Godin, whose control of the last line of defence has been nothing but perfect so far. On the other side of the pitch, attacking duo Suarez and Cavani scored five out of seven goals for Uruguay. However, Cavani’s absence due to an injury sustained in the match against Portugal might prove to be a big handicap for Uruguay.
Both teams have been successful so far, showing both individual quality and good organisation in their matches against Argentina and Portugal. With stakes so high, they may turn to a more defensive approach in this match and wait for their opponent’s mistake. As most of their recent head-to-head matches ended goalless, the first of our World Cup quarter-final betting tips is that we believe the game will be a draw until the 90th minute, with less than two goals. If someone is to score, you should keep your eyes on Antoine Griezmann.
BRAZIL – BELGIUM
This will be the match of the highly anticipated games in the quarter-finals. The two most attacking teams will face each other for one place in the semi-finals and everyone is expecting goals, goals and more goals. Brazil has suffered a 16 year drought and has come to Russia to take the sixth World Cup title and establish themselves as the most dominant football nation again. Belgium, on the other hand, has one of the best generations in its footballing history, all of whom are at the peak of their game. For them, it’s probably now or never. It’s a chance to prove that they grew from promising talents to a team capable of winning trophies.
Brazil has an excellent form of 15 matches unbeaten, with eight clean sheets in nine previous matches. Brazil’s star player, Neymar, has been involved in 20 goals (11 goals, 9 assists) in his previous 19 matches and is more than eager to make an impact on the tournament. However, Brazil also has several other players that can make a difference such as Coutinho, so their opponents will have to lock that goal up tight. So far Brazil has had an easy walk and has been dominant in every match, but it should be pointed out that in these games they actually had no real opponents. The only time one team (Switzerland) pressed them, they failed to win. This time, Brazilians will face an ultra-attacking team and it would be interesting to see how they will cope with the Belgian midfield, especially because Casemiro, the heart of their defence in midfield, is suspended for the match.
An Attacking Game
Belgium is on an even better form, with a 23-game unbeaten streak with 76 goals scored (3.3 per game). So far in the tournament, they scored 12 goals in four games, becoming the most effective Belgian World Cup squad ever. Key Belgian players in this match will be Hazard and De Bruyne. These two players are capable of breaking opponents defence with a single pass. Along with powerful Lukaku in front, they will be the main threat to Brazilian goal. A big weakness in the Belgian team is its defence, which showed poor quality in its previous matches against far weaker opponents such as Tunisia and Japan. Since Belgium plays very offensively, its last line is positioned very high on the pitch. This could be an opportunity for Brazilian attackers who are more skilful and quicker than Belgian defenders.
All in all, the second of our World Cup quarter-final betting tips is that a slight advantage goes to Brazil, but you should definitely bet on more than 2.5 goals.
SWEDEN – ENGLAND
The other side of the tournament tree is surely not so exciting but is also far from certain. England has finally managed to break its Penalty Curse. The public back home has dispelled doubts in its national team and the players are definitely far more relaxed than they were at the beginning of the tournament. Winning that penalty shoot-out is definitely one of the greatest moments in English footballing history. Sweden has gone far above anyone’s expectations by simply qualifying to World Cup, let alone finishing top of their group with World Champions Germany; then making it to the quarter-finals. Although it doesn’t sound as thrilling as the previous one, this will be an interesting match between dashing England and Scandinavian-organised Sweden. In 24 previous matches, England won 8 times, Sweden won 7 times with 9 draws.
Keeping a Clean Sheet
Although English fans were very cheerful on Tuesday, they will probably have another 90 or more minutes of tension; this is something they’re used to with their national team. English confidence is certainly boosted after the win over Colombia. Now they have a great opportunity to progress to the semi-finals; this will be the first time since 1990. English quality is indisputable in this match, judging by the names in their squad; they surely have what it takes to defeat Swedes. Most likely, England will strive to take control of the match by putting constant pressure on the opponent’s defence. Although they have the players to attack, the English should be also aware of their defence as they failed to keep a clean sheet so far during the tournament.
As they say, Sweden has nothing to lose in this match, as they have achieved more than they planned. What we can expect from them is that they will stick to their organized 4-4-2 system; they will do their best to pull the opponent as far as possible from their goal. This, however, doesn’t mean that they will give up on attacking as crosses as their main advantage are English main weakness. With Toivonen and Berg, two tall and strong attackers, up in front, Swedes could make a lot of problems in opponent’s box.
Since both teams are prone to scoring in the second half, the third of our World Cup quarter-final betting tips is a tight win for England (0:1) with a draw at half-time.
RUSSIA – CROATIA
The closing match of the quarter-finals is also the least attractive, despite the fact that it’s being played by the host nation. Although both teams have made a great effort to get this far, it seems that the Russians are the biggest surprise; it’s their first quarter-finals since the breakup of the Soviet Union. The Croats already reached semi-finals in 1998. However, since then they have also failed to make this much progress in the World Cup. Being relatively young teams, Croatia and Russia have met only on three occasions; two were goalless draws and one victory for Croats. Croatia does have more quality, but the Russians have the advantage of a home venue, making this game difficult to predict.
The Russians started the tournament powerfully but were put in their place by losing 3 – 0 to Uruguay. What they managed to do against Spain is in the domain of science fiction; the final result is surely one of the biggest surprises of the tournament. Their concrete solid defence was so strong that it was not penetrable, even by Spaniards. It is doubtful that the Russians will have the same approach in a match against Croatia. However, it is certain that they will not open up completely and will play defensively.
Despite the fact that Croatia is the better team, they can’t underestimate the Russians as the host nation. The people of Croatian are ecstatic and they are approaching the upcoming match with great optimism. There is a fear that the same atmosphere could be transferred to players, which could be a recipe for disaster. By thrashing Argentina 3 – 0, the Croats have shown that they fear no one; this approach has pushed them this far. In the match against Denmark, however, they showed that they struggled to find the net. If the Russians organise their defence as they did against Spain, Croatia will have a pretty tough job on Thursday in Sochi.
As in the France-Uruguay match, both Croatia and Russia will not leave their own goal vulnerable. Therefore, the last of our World Cup quarter-final betting tips for the game is a draw up until the 90th minute with less than 2.5 goals.