World Cup Round of 16 Draw Opens Up For The Three Lions

After what was effectively a second string Belgium team beat a second string England team in their final Group G encounter, some critics felt that England had missed an opportunity to top the group, keep momentum going and to make a bold statement that they weren’t afraid of other teams at the World Cup in Russia.

On the other hand, there were others that felt that finishing in second place in Group G offered a potentially much more favourable chance of progress into the latter stages of the tournament for the team that finished there.

And following the first four games of the Round of 16, it is absolutely certain that those in the latter camp, were proven right. Let’s take a look at how the opening four games of the second round have turned out, before we preview the remaining four matches today and tomorrow and then look ahead to the quarter finals and beyond and which teams will reach the World Cup Final.

As always, bet365 is offering extensive betting across the World Cup Finals, with a massive choice of bets on each game as well as on the outcome of the tournament itself.

World Cup Round of 16 – Review

  • Saturday 31st July

France (1) 4 (Griezmann 13 pen, Pavard 57, Mbappe 64,68)

Argentina (1) 3 (Di Maria 41, Mercado 48, Aguero 90+3)

An astonishing game of football, lit up by the brilliant performance of Kylian Mbappe opened the Round of 16 in spectacular style. After going a goal down, Argentina bounced back either side of half time to take a 2-1 lead but a spectacular strike from Pavard levelled matters before two brilliant Mbappe finishes gave France a 4-2 lead. Aguero’s late strike reduced the deficit but it wasn’t enough as Argentina were deservedly sent home as a much improved France progressed into the quarterfinals.

Uruguay (1) 2 (Cavani 7, 62)

Portugal (0) 1 (Pepe 55)

An equally enthralling game saw Portugal eliminated from the tournament as Uruguay’s top players in defence and attack began to show their real quality. Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani combined brilliantly for Uruguay’s opener on seven minutes but Pepe’s towering header ten minutes into the second half levelled matters. However Cavani’s superb finish from the edge of the box seven minutes later handed Uruguay a deserved win and a quarterfinal place to take on France.

  • Sunday 1st July

Russia (1) 1 (Dzyuba 41 pen)

Spain (1) 1 (Ignashevich og 12) * Russia win 4-3 on penalties

There were incredulous scenes across Russia and especially in Moscow as the unfancied host nation moved into the quarterfinals on the back of a fine rearguard display against a Spanish side that lacked the attacking invention to break down the Russian back line despite a near total dominance of possession. Ignashevich’s own goal handed Spain an early lead but Pique’s handball handed Dzyuba a chance to level from the spot just before half time, which he duly took. The game went to penalties with Spain seeing efforts from Koke and Aspas saved by Igor Akinfeev and with Russia scoring all four of their penalties thus far, they earned an unlikely quarterfinal spot.

Croatia (1) 1 (Mandzukic 4)

Denmark (1) 1 (Poulsen 1) *Croatia win 4-3 on penalties

After a spectacular opening which saw both teams score inside five minutes, Croatia looked the better side in the first half, but a tactical change by Denmark at the interval saw them get on top in the second half and extra time, without really threatening the Croatian goal. Late in extra time, Croatia won a penalty after Rebic was fouled but Modric’s spot kick was saved well by Kaspar Schmeichel. The game moved into penalties and it was Croatian keeper Subasic who was the hero, saving two Danish penalties allowing Rakitic to score with Croatia’s fifth penalty to send them into a quarterfinal against Russia.

World Cup Round of 16 Preview

  • Monday 2nd July

3pm – Brazil (1/2) v Mexico (13/2) – (17/5 the draw at 90 mins)

It’s fair to say Brazil haven’t hit the heights against any opponent in the World Cup as yet and Mexico, who are still dreaming about reaching the quarterfinals for the first time since 1986, will provide them with a stern test. The Mexican’s were hugely impressive against Germany and they’ll need to be as strong again against a Brazil side who despite not hitting top form, still have undoubted brilliance from individuals to call upon. I think this will be a lot closer than the bookmakers odds are suggesting and while I’d love to see Mexico progress, I think Brazil will make it through, though it may take extra time.

7pm – Belgium (2/5) v Japan (9/1) – (15/4 the draw at 90 mins)

Of all the teams at the World Cup so far, I think Belgium have looked the best team unit. Forgetting the reserve game with England, they were very good against Tunisia and Panama and I think tey have far too much for a willing but limited Japanese side here. I fully expect this to be a strong Belgium win which would set up an intriguing quarterfinals clash against the winner of the first game from today.

  • Tuesday 3rd July

3pm – Sweden (21/10) v Switzerland (17/10) – (2/1 the draw at 90 mins)

Two very similar teams, lacking in attacking edge but with a very strong defence and midfield, will clash in the opening game on Tuesday. Sweden impressed me in their win over Mexico, while Switzerland’s victory over Serbia was impressive, although helped by some woefully naïve Serbian defending. Sweden have the better World Cup pedigree of the two, but I think this is a very evenly matched game and I think extra time and penalties will be needed to decide the winner, hence I think the draw is the solid option here.

7pm – England (11/10) v Colombia (31/10) – (9/4 the draw at 90 mins)

England will grind to a halt on Tuesday night as the Three Lions take on Colombia with a place in the World Cup quarterfinals at stake. England should see the team that performed so well in their opening two games largely restored and Dele Alli is also fit to come back into the team if required. Colombia’s key midfielder James Rodriguez is a doubt with an ankle injury and while this will be a lot tougher game than the odds suggest, I am backing England to come out on top narrowly inside the 90 minutes.

World Cup Outright Odds

  • France, Brazil – 7/2 joint favourites
  • England, Croatia – 11/2
  • Belgium – 6/1
  • Uruguay – 14/1
  • Colombia – 18/1
  • Russia – 20/1
  • Switzerland – 33/1
  • Sweden – 40/1
  • Mexico – 50/1
  • Japan – 200/1

As you can see from the outright market, England’s and Croatia’s odds of winning the World Cup have come right in and the reason for this is how the draw has worked out.

In the top half of the draw, we already have France and Uruguay confirmed as the first quarterfinal, with the second likely to be between Belgium and Brazil, meaning arguably the four strongest teams remaining in the tournament are all drawn in the same half.

In the bottom half, Russia and Croatia are confirmed as quarterfinalists and if results go as expected they will be joined by either Sweden or Switzerland (which is a coin toss game) and England. A considerably easier path to the final for the team that makes it.

For me the smart bet here is Belgium at 6/1. They may have to beat Brazil and France to reach the final, but they are the one team in the tournament that has the talent to do so and of the three, they are the most in form team at the moment.

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