It’s Hotting Up in Russia as the World Cup Surprises Continue
There’s no doubt that this year’s World Cup Finals in Russia have been packed with excitement, incident and no shortage of goals and drama too. There’s also been a large number of upsets including Germany’s shock departure at the group stage following defeats by Mexico and South Korea, while in other games so called weaker teams have earned draws or shocked supposedly stronger teams by securing a win.
It was on that note of positivity that the 16 teams that made it through the Group Stages began the Round of 16 back on Friday 29th June and what followed has been a feast of football, with some of the most exciting and dramatic World Cup matches in many a year taking place over the last four days.
Before we bring you up to speed on Tuesday night’s games, we’ll quickly review the six results in the Round of 16 that have been confirmed so far, together with the three quarterfinal match ups that are also known.
All odds provided in this article are courtesy of bet365 Sport and were correct as of 1pm on Tuesday 3rd July 2018.
World Cup Round of 16 Results – Saturday 30th June
France 4-3 Argentina
A World Cup classic saw France deservedly move into the quarterfinals following their superb win over Argentina. Kylian Mbappe put in a sensational performance to inspire France to come back from 2-1 down in the second half to go 4-2 up, Mbappe himself netting the two goals to take France into the lead after Pavard equalised. This was France’s best performance at the finals by far and showed the quality that is possessed by Didier Deschamps team.
Uruguay 2-1 Portugal
A fantastic double-salvo from Edinson Cavani, and an inspired performance from striking partner Luis Suarez was the spearhead for Uruguay to earn a richly deserved win over European Champions Portugal. Pepe’s header did level matters in the second half but both Cavani’s goals were excellently created and immaculately finished. Uruguay look real dangers in this tournament and their quarterfinal with France should be a cracking match.
- Quarterfinal 1 – Uruguay v France (Nizhny Novgorod)
Odds with bet365 Sport
- Uruguay to win – 18/5
- France to win – Evens
- Draw after 90 minutes – 11/5
A tough one to call this but I think that Uruguay will offer a much sterner test than Argentina did to France and while France played very well in that game, they have been poor prior to that in the tournament. The bookies think a France win is on the cards, I’m not so sure and my feeling is that this may require extra time, hence I think the draw after 90 minutes is the bet to go for here.
World Cup Round of 16 Results – Sunday 1st July
Russia 1-1 Spain (Russia win 4-3 on penalties)
There were scenes of jubilation around Russia this week after the host nation eliminated Spain on penalties to unexpectedly move into the quarterfinals of their home tournament. Ignashevich’s own goal gave Spain an early lead, but Pique’s handball led to Dzyuba netting from the spot to level matter just before half time. Despite having lots of possession, Spain failed to penetrate the Russian defence and on penalties, Akinfeev saved well from Koke and then Aspas to send Russia into the next round.
Croatia 1-1 Denmark (Croatia win 3-2 on penalties)
Penalties were also required to decide the winner of this tactical battle between Croatia and Denmark. Both sides had found the net within four minutes, Denmark scoring from a long throw after just 60 seconds before Mandzukic levelled close in on 4 minutes. Denmark tactically were excellent and nullified Croatia’s threats for most of the game but at the end of extra time, Modric had a penalty to win the game for Croatia, only for Kaspar Schmeichel to save it. Penalties ensued and despite heroics from both keepers, Denmark missed three penalties to Croatia’s two meaning Croatia progressed.
- Quarterfinal 2 – Russia v Croatia (Sochi)
Odds with bet365 Sport
- Russia to win – 29/10
- Croatia to win – 5/4
- Draw after 90 minutes – 21/10
As a host nation, you always feel Russia should have a chance on home soil, but I think they used up their lifelines against Spain last time around. Croatia for me, disappointed against Denmark, but I think they are a far stronger side and will learn from that experience to get the job done against Russia. It’ll be close, but I think Croatia just about shade the win here.
World Cup Round of 16 Results – Monday 2nd July
Brazil 2-0 Mexico
Brazil comfortably progressed into the quarterfinals with a routine 2-0 win over Mexico in what was a rather listless encounter in the end. Mexico began brightly, but failed to take advantage of numerous good opportunities in the first half hour and from then on, Brazil dominated. In the second half, Neymar turned home Willian’s low cross and then late on he turned provider to slot the ball across for Firmino to tap in at the far post to send Brazil through.
Belgium 3-2 Japan
An incredible game saw a dour first half give way to a stunning second half which began with Japan taking a two goal lead thanks to two fantastic strikes. Belgium were now on the rocks and with Japan threatening on the counter, the next goal always felt like being crucial. The game changed when Roberto Martinez brought on two subs, Fellaini and Chadli. Shortly after Vertonghen looped a header into the net to pull one back before Fellaini then grabbed another header to level the game. With extra time looming, Belgium broke swiftly from a Japan corner and Meunier’s cross was dummied by Lukaku and Chadli raced in to stroke the ball home in the 94th minute to claim an incredible come-back victory.
- Quarterfinal 3 – Brazil v Belgium (Kazan)
Odds with bet365 Sport
- Brazil to win – 11/10
- Belgium to win – 11/4
- Draw after 90 minutes – 5/2
Brazil will always be the favourites in any World Cup game they face, but they don’t always win and you only have to look back to the semifinals in 2014 to see a perfect example of that. I can see why Brazil are the favourites, but I am afraid I don’t share the bookies confidence here. If any team can match Brazil for talent, it is Belgium, the Belgian side has looked better, scored more goals and been more consistent at this World Cup too and the manner of their win over Japan should give them massive confidence here. I’m going for a shock here and a Belgium win to send Brazil home.
World Cup Round of 16 Fixtures – Tuesday 3rd July
Switzerland v Sweden
Both these teams will view this game as a chance for them to progress into the quarterfinals. Both are similar in that they have a somewhat limited attack but are very well organised, defensively very strong and hardworking in midfield. Of the two, I think the Swiss probably have a little extra attacking flair, but Sweden I feel are more physically powerful, a factor they used to good advantage against Mexico. This should be close and I think the draw at 90 minutes at 19/10 with bet365 is a solid option here.
Colombia v England
The final game of the day pits England against Colombia in what should be a cracking encounter, not to mention a test of the nerves for the English fans. After defeat against Iceland at Euro 2016, England fans will be well aware of the propensity of their team to blow a great chance, but this England team have been looking much stronger at this World Cup, especially in their opening two games.
Colombia in contrast began slowly, losing to Japan, but then performed superbly to beat Poland 3-0 before edging a narrow 1-0 win against Senegal that saw James Rodriguez injured. He should be fit to face England, though he will likely not be 100%. This could be another dramatic night of action, but I am backing England to grab a narrow win to make it to the last 8 at 6/5 with bet365.