After a few games of no goals and under 2.5 finishes, it’s time to get back into the goal scoring frenzy that has made this World Cup so exciting from the get go. With two mouth-watering matchups of Colombia versus Ivory Coast and Uruguay taking on England, we could yet see a return to goal scoring ways.
**Betting odds from Betfair as at 18th June 2014
Colombia ($2.16) versus Ivory Coast ($3.9), Draw ($3.5)
Big game here with both Colombia and Ivory Coast winning their first games it gives the winner a spot in the final 16 and the added bonus of less pressure in game 3 of the group stages. Colombia had a strong 3-0 win over Greece in their first game which helped to dispel some of the talk that they were weaker without Falcao. They clearly showed that they are an attacking force without him against a side that are usually quite strong defensively where they had previously conceded only 3 times in their 4 games leading into the Colombia match. As an added bonus for Colombia they should also welcome back midfielder Fredy Guarin after suspension. He’ll be a welcome addition in Colombia’s attempts to quell the influence of an Ivory Coast midfield featuring one of the best in Yaya Toure. I feel like this is a danger game for Ivory Coast mainly due to their weakness in defence. Japan cut them open early as they went ahead through Honda and they’ll likely be susceptible again to this Colombian attack. One thing Ivory Coast does have going for them though is the ability to change a game in an instant as they showed against Japan. As soon as Drogba came off the bench against Japan, you could see an almost instant change to Ivory Coast’s demeanour and how they played with much more determination. Drogba was only on for 2 minutes before they scored 2 in as many minutes to instantly flip the game on its head. That’s the danger for Colombia here and it’ll be really interesting to see if Drogba plays the same role here. I think that’ll open up the Both Teams to Score option as a good play here.
Predicted score: Colombia 2-1
Best Bet: Both Teams to Score $1.92 (85%)
Next Best: Over 2.5 goals at $2.24
Uruguay ($3.7) versus England ($2.2), Draw ($3.6)
If Colombia versus Ivory Coast wasn’t enough, we also get treated to an awesome looking matchup with Uruguay taking on England. It’s likely to also see the return of Suarez who I’m sure is eager to turn the tables for his country after their somewhat shock first game loss to Costa Rica and he could be the difference here if he’s straight back to his best. For England it’s another tough game after coming off a 2-1 loss to a very good looking Italian side controlled well by Pirlo who was just given too much space throughout. With both sides desperate for 3 points to give them a good shot of the last 16, we will either get a low-scoring tight contest or one that is tight early but once a team scores the game blows wide open and as a result we could end up with 3 to 4 goals. I’m leaning towards the latter with both sides boasting strong attacks but also susceptible to conceding against quality. England though do have the upper hand in a stronger defensive unit and they’ve all played against Suarez a multitude of times. Of course you could say the same of Suarez and against a defence (excluding Johnson) of Baines, Jagielka, Cahill, and Hart, he only knocked in 2 goals against them and whilst it’s perhaps not the best of reasoning seeing as this defence doesn’t play together week in week out, it’s an interesting one all the same. I also wonder how much of an impact he’ll have coming off injury. It’ll either be him back to his best or he could end up being a little flat. I think the advantage here is surely with England – They played well in against Italy despite a loss and they have the attack to cause Uruguay trouble.
Predicted score: England 2-1
Best Bet: Both Teams to score at $1.73 (80%)
Next Best: Double Chance England at $1.36
Japan ($2.24) versus Greece ($3.5), Draw ($3.7)
Japan had a great start to their World Cup campaign against Ivory Coast going ahead early on only to cop two goals in two minutes which is fair to say would have stunned any team. Greece will be looking to bounce back after a poor showing against Colombia and they face another tough side here if they are to have a chance at the last 16. I have a feeling this could be a pretty tight game as well. With Greece conceding 3 goals I’m sure there will be an emphasis on tightening up their defence and the same could be said for Japan after that horror 2 minutes conceding 2 goals where for the most part they looked pretty solid in defence. As a result I think we could be in for a low scoring contest. There’s always the argument that as a crucial game for points we should see these sides just go all out, but at the same time that could be too risky as they don’t want to leave gaps in their defence for a counter attack from the opposition. As a result I do like Japan here though. Kagawa and Honda were in good touch in their first game and I think they’ll cause Greece a few headaches. They might only score the once, but all you need is one goal to win a football match.
Predicted score: Japan 1-0
Best Bet: Under 2.5 goals at $1.75 (70%)
Next Best: Japan Double Chance at $1.35
All of the above are the opinions of the author and are not recommendations or advice. The author may not be taking every bet listed above. Bet at your own risk.
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