Some cracking games coming up in this round of games and some especially crucial fixtures. In particular the Italy and Uruguay matchup is the main one whilst the Greece and Ivory Coast I especially important for Greece as a win could secure their passage to the last 16 in what would be a massive achievement. It’s been a huge World Cup thus far and it just keeps on getting better and better!
**Odds from betfair as at 23rd June
Italy ($2.82) versus Uruguay ($2.82), Draw ($3.35)
Italy take on Uruguay in their final group game in what should be a really tough contest with the winner to progress through to the last 16 with Costa Rica already claiming top spot. Italy just couldn’t find a way through Costa Rica in their 1-0 loss and will be hoping to get back on track against a Uruguay side gaining confidence after a good 2-1 win over England thanks to a Suarez brace. Suarez will again be the danger man here and could be the difference for Uruguay if they are to progress. Italy have an advantage here in that if they can hold on for a draw they’ll progress on goal difference. They’d be wise to not sit back though against an attack of Cavani and Suarez that can change a game in an instant. Whilst I don’t want to underestimate Italy too much, I feel Uruguay will have the momentum heading into this one as they will also be looking to avenge their penalty shootout defeat at last year’s Confederations Cup. It also seems fairly apparent that Suarez has huge motivation to perform at this World Cup after that emotional reaction after the win over England. I’d expect him to be on fire here again to push his team into the next phase. Italy won’t go down without a fight though, but I’m looking at Uruguay to get away with a narrow win. Uruguay have had just the 5 shots on target for 3 goals.
Predicted score: Uruguay 2-1
Best Bet: Both teams to score at $1.81 (80%)
Next Best: Over 2.5 goals at $1.81
Anytime Scorer bet: Suarez to score anytime at $2.25
Costa Rica ($4.3) versus England ($1.91), Draw ($3.95)
At the start of the World Cup many of us wouldn’t have thought Costa Rica would have made it through to the last 16 and that England would finish bottom of the group. Costa Rica have been fantastic though and deserve every respect for what they have achieved thus far. I suspect they’ll be still raring to go for this one as well as they look to take their momentum into the knockout phases most likely against Ivory Coast at this stage. England look emotionally battered after their defeat against Uruguay and whilst they had chances to win the game, they just lacked a spark to will them to a win. They’ll no doubt be looking to finish with a win so they’re not going home empty handed but you have to wonder if they’ll be as motivated as Costa Rica. They’ll be emotionally drained in some capacity and I’m not sure if I can see them playing cohesively well enough to get a win. A draw may be more realistic as they look ahead to getting home earlier than they would have liked. Perhaps on the flipside though, we may see a more open England side that plays with a nothing to lose attitude. Likewise with Costa Rica they have nothing to lose and should play with freedom as they look forward to the next stage. As a result we could see a pretty open flowing game and goals likely for both sides.
Predicted score: Draw 2-2
Best Bet: Costa Rica to score at $1.51 (85%)
Next Best: Over 2.5 goals at $1.96
Japan ($3.15) versus Colombia ($2.42), Draw ($3.6)
The formula is simple here for Japan, they must win and they must win well. Sounds simple enough but when they are coming up against a powerful Colombian side that has performed well without Falcao, they certainly have a tough task on their hands. Stranger things have happened of course in World Cups and nothing is ever impossible. Personally I can’t see Colombia taking the foot of the pedal though and although Japan have shown glimpses of their potential, I can see them falling short here. Colombia powered their way past Greece who are normally quite strong defensively and then accounted for Ivory Coast relatively comfortably in the end and they shouldn’t have too many issues dealing with Japan who may struggle to contain the in form James Rodriguez. Rodriguez has knocked in 2 goals in his first 2 games and looks a good bet at a 3rd against Japan here. I think Japan may have taken a bit of a mental hit as well having not been able to score against a 10 man Greece for 50+ minutes and I think they may struggle to get one past Colombia if they concede early. Perhaps the one major question mark that could go against Colombia here will be if they rest key players which could open the door for Japan to get something out of the match. It’s a risk albeit worthwhile if they go down that path considering they have secured their place in the next stage. In the end though I quite fancy a Colombian win here.
Predicted score: Colombia 2-0
Best Bet: Double Chance Colombia at $1.43 (90%)
Next Best: Colombia to win at $2.42
Anytime Scorer bet: James Rodriguez to score at $2.7
Greece ($3.9) versus Ivory Coast ($2.12), Draw ($3.6)
Greece did an incredible job to hold out for a draw with 10 men against Japan and amazingly a win here could secure a spot in the final 16 assuming Japan don’t topple Colombia. Considering they haven’t scored a goal yet it would be some kind of achievement. Ivory Coast though will know a win secues their own passage through to the last 16 so I wouldn’t expect them to play without any motivation. They’ve also shown they can be pretty damaging as they were against Japan but they’ll certainly need to be at their best to defeat this Greek side. Ivory Coast will be without Didier Zokora which is a blow to their defence due to suspension but we may see the return of Kolo Toure. This will also be a game fuelled by emotion for the Toure brothers after they learned of their younger brothers death just hours after their loss to Colombia. That’s the sort of stuff that can will their team onto a win here and just as equally could fall apart (assuming they both play) due to the understandable emotional thoughts running through their heads. I’d suspect though it may be the former and it could really bring this team together in support of the Toure’s. Either way it’ll be a fascinating game where I’d expect Ivory Coast to sneak across the line.
Predicted score: Ivory Coast 2-0
Best Bet: Over 1.5 goals at $1.4 (90%)
Next Best: Second half to have the most goals at $2.02
Value option: Draw/Ivory Coast for Half Time/Full Time at $5.4. Ivory Coast are yet to score in the first half and with Greece expected to be defence focused early it could be an option for a small play.
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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