World Cup Tips for All Four Huge Quarterfinal Games

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After a dramatic group stage, which saw Germany amongst the 16 teams sent home after their three games, the Round of 16 produced a real mix of matches, some absolute World Cup classics, some more tactical battles but in each game there was still plenty to enjoy and bucketloads of drama.

That was clearly the case on Tuesday night for England fans when the Three Lions faced Colombia in their Round of 16 clash. After a first half punctuated by some awful gamesmanship and foul play by the Colombians, England took the lead when Harry Kane converted a penalty for a foul on him from a corner.

However, in injury time, Yerry Mina grabbed his third goal of the tournament to draw Colombia level with one of their few efforts on target, to force extra time. No goals were scored in the additional 30 minutes which meant we moved to penalties.  England’s record in shootouts being dreadful, but this time, after Jordan Henderson missed, Colombia’s Barrios hit the bar and then after Kieran Trippier levelled the score, Carlos Bacca’s penalty was saved superbly by Jordan Pickford, allowing Eric Dier to step up and put England in the quarterfinals.

There they will face Sweden who defeated Switzerland 1-0 on the same day to earn a quarterfinal spot and with Uruguay taking on France, Brazil v Belgium and Croatia facing the hosts Russia in the remaining three games, it should be an exciting quartet of games to look forward to on Friday and Saturday this week.

If you fancy a bet on the game then bet365 Sport is the place to head with a large number of bets on all four games available.

Let’s now bring you a preview of all four quarterfinal matches, together with our tips on how we see each of the four games being decided.

Friday 6th July

Uruguay v France

  • Venue – Nizhny Novgorod
  • Kick Off – 3pm

Possible Uruguay XI – 4-1-2-1-2 –  Muslera, Cacares, Laxalt, Godin, Giminez, Torreira, Nandez, Vecino, Betancur, Cavani, Suarez

Possible France XI – 4-2-3-1 – Lloris, Pavard, Hernandez, Umtiti, Varane, Kante, Pogba, Mbappe, Griezmann, Tolisso, Giroud

Match Analysis

France have Blaise Matuidi suspended for this game after picking up a second yellow against Argentina and if his appeal against that yellow is unsuccessful, then it is likely Bayern Munich’s Tolisso will come in for him, although Deschamps could opt for a more attacking approach by selecting Dembele instead.

However, given Uruguay’s organisation and attacking threat, I feel the French will want the extra defensive qualities offered by Tolisso, while still maintaining the 4-2-3-1 shape that served them so well against another South American opponent, Argentina in the Round of 16. In that match Kylian Mbappe announced himself onto the world stage with a stunning individual performance capped off with two goals.

Uruguay have been one of the most consistent teams in the tournament, winning all four of their games so far and looking superbly organised in defence, where they have conceded just the one goal so far. In attack, Suarez and Cavani, who netted twice against Portugal before coming off with a knock, have been immense in the last couple of games and will certainly test the French back line.

This has all the hallmarks of being another classic encounter and if the French team that turned up against Argentina is in evidence again, then the French should win. However if they fall short, as they did in the Group stage, then Uruguay could well pull off a shock win here.

Match Result Tip – France v Uruguay – Draw at 90 minutes – 11/5 with Bet365

The French defence did look suspect against Argentina’s sporadic attacks and I think Uruguay not only have a better attack than Argentina, but also a much better defence and midfield. As such, I can’t see the French having it all their own way here and my money is on this one being forced into extra time and from there, I think it could well end up as a penalty shootout to decide the winner.

Brazil v Belgium

  • Venue – Kazan
  • Kick Off – 7pm

Possible Brazil XI – 4-3-3 – Alisson, Fagner, Felipe Luis, Thiago Silva, Miranda, Fernandinho, Paulinho, Coutinho, Neymar, Willian, Gabriel Jesus

Possible Belgium XI – 3-4-2-1 – Courtois, Alderweireld, Kompany, Vertonghen, Meunier, Chadli, Witsel, De Bruyne, Mertens, Hazard, Lukaku

Match Analysis

Brazil have anchoring midfielder Casemiro suspended for this clash with Belgium and his omission will be a big loss for Brazil, given the Real Madrid man’s defensive qualities, although they do have a very able replacement to replace him in the side in Manchester City’s Fernandinho. Neymar, histrionics apart, was the inspiration as Brazil beat Mexico as the PSG star scored one and set up the other late on for Firmino to put Brazil into the quarterfinal.

Belgium produced a stunning comeback to defeat Japan 3-2 in their Round of 16 tie, falling 2-0 down in the second half to goals from Haraguchi and Inui, it was the introduction of substitutes Fellaini and Chadli that changed the game in Belgium’s favour. Vertonghen headed home their first in reply before Fellaini levelled the match just five minutes later. Then in injury time, Kevin de Bruyne led a swift counter from a Japan corner to set Meunier into space and his low cross was dummied by Lukaku allowing Chadli to arrive at the back post to slot home to give Belgium a dramatic win.

Brazil will start as the clear favourites here and they do have World Cup history on their side and of course, they have some incredible individual players. However, Belgium equally have some stunning individual players and I think of the two teams the Belgians have played the better football and been more consistent at this World Cup so far.

Add to that the nature of Belgium’s win and I think belief is growing in Roberto Martinez’ squad that this could be a good year. I think this one is another game that will require extra time and perhaps even penalties, but if I was a betting man, I’d not be surprised if Belgium are the team that come through here.

Match Result Tip – Brazil v Belgium – Draw after 90 minutes – 5/2 with Bet365

I can see both teams finding the net in this game, and I think a 1-1 draw at 90 minutes is the more likely result (though if we get an early goal, then 2-2 is also possible). However, I just think Belgium have a little more momentum and self-belief than Brazil who seem far too reliant on Neymar at times. Hence if it does go to extra time or even penalties, I’m backing Belgium to come out on top.

Saturday 7th July

Sweden v England

  • Venue – Samara
  • Kick Off – 3pm

Possible Sweden XI – 4-4-2 – Olsen, Krafth, Augustinsson, Granqvist, Lindelof, Svensson, Ekdal, Forsberg, Claesson, Toivonen, Berg

Possible England XI – 3-5-2 – Pickford, Maguire, Stones, Walker, Trippier, Young.A, Henderson, Lingaard, Loftus-Cheek, Sterling, Kane

Match Analysis

Sweden will be without the suspended Mikael Lustig for this game with Krafth likely to step in, although they could also select the British based Martin Olsson to play right full back (instead of his usual left) as an option. Albin Ekdal picked up a knock against Switzerland but should be fit to play against England.

England have injury worries over Dele Alli, whose thigh problem seemed to resurface against Colombia, and Harry Kane seems to have a slight back niggle. While Kane should be fine, Alli’s injury is a worry and it seems that Ruben Loftus-Cheek may once again deputise for the Spurs man.

England don’t have a great record against the Swedes, but this Sweden team, while superbly organised defensively, offer very little in attack and as such, I’d expect England to have more of the ball and be able to put the Swedes under more pressure than they managed to do against Colombia. The fact that the Swedes won’t show up seemingly only intent on fighting and employing disgraceful tactics will also help the game flow a little more.

I think that will be to England’s benefit. Having lost against Belgium and drawn over 90 minutes and extra time against Colombia, it is rare England go three games without a win and I think they’ll get the job done here, hopefully in normal time and hopefully without the need for penalties!

Match Result Tip – England to win – 10/11 with bet365 Sport

I think this will be a game where Sweden try to hit England on the counter and defend deep and pack the midfield. As such, I think England will dominate possession and I think England’s attackers are of a much better quality than what the Swedes have faced in this tournament so far and I think that one aspect of this game will be the difference allowing England to snatch a win.

Russia v Croatia

  • Venue – Sochi
  • Kick Off – 7pm

Possible Russia XI – 3-4-2-1 – Akinfeevm, Kutepov, Ignashevich, Kudryashov, Zhirkov, Fernandes, Zobnin, Kuzyayev, Cheryshev, Golovin, Dzyuba

Possible Croatia XI – 4-1-4-1 – Subasic, Vrsaljko, Strinic, Vida, Lovren, Brozovic, Rebic, Modric, Rakitic, Perisic, Mandzukic

Match Analysis

The final of the four quarterfinals sees the host nation Russia, fresh from their superb penalties victory over Spain, taking on Croatia, who also earned a place in the quarterfinal with a penalty shootout win over Denmark in what promises to be a sweltering atmosphere in the southern seaside resort of Sochi.

Russia showed great defensive organisation and spirit to deny Spain, despite hardly having any possession in the game and I think they’ll use a similar blueprint for this game, although I would expect Cheryshev to come back in for Samedov to try and offer the Russian’s a bit more pace and threat going forward.

However, while Spain’s possession-based tiki-taka football didn’t break through Russian’s rearguard action, Croatia’s pacy wide players, physical attacker Mandzukic plus the best midfield duo in the World Cup in Modric and Rakitic I think will boss the game and do what Spain failed to do against the host nation, create clear cut chances, which I would expect Croatia to take.

Even if Cheryshev plays, I can’t see Russia offering too much of a threat going the other way and if they open up, then Croatia are perfectly set to hit them on the counter. I can see Croatia bossing this game and securing the win inside 90 minutes.

Match Result Tip – Croatia to win – 6/5 with bet365

The Russian team have done superbly well to get this far and while the Spanish failed to break them down, I think the Croatian teams pace in wide areas and ability to get crosses into the box, will be the host nation’s undoing. Offering little in attack, I expect Modric, Brozovic and Rakitic to dominate midfield and Perisic and Rebic to provide the ammunition for a comfortable Croatia win here.

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