2014 World Cup Brazil – Last 16 – 2nd July

It’s the final round of last 16 fixtures to decide the final matchups for the quarter finals. There’s two really interesting matchups here with Argentina looking to show why they are one of the favourites against a fairly impressive young Swiss side whilst we have a great looking matchup between the highly talented Belgium and the danger side USA who have played great so far at this World Cup.

**Odds from betfair as at 30th June

Argentina ($1.52) versus Switzerland ($8), Draw ($4.5)

Argentina’s run:

  • Argentina 2 – 1 Bosnia-Herzegovina
  • Argentina 1 – 0 Iran
  • Argentina 3 – 2 Nigeria

Switzerland’s run:

  • Switzerland 2 – 1 Ecuador
  • Switzerland 2 – 5 France
  • Switzerland 3 – 0 Honduras

Argentina look to continue their winning ways when they take on Switzerland in their last 16 match. The Argentines haven’t blasted away just yet through their group stage matches but they’re in pretty solid form led by Messi who seems to be growing in confidence each game and is building at the right time. He already has 4 goals and will again be a key here even more so due to the injury suffered by Aguero which will most likely keep him out of this one and potentially the remainder of the World Cup. Perhaps the most important thing for Argentina to improve on is their defence. They’ve conceded in 2 of their 3 games which has put plenty of pressure on their performance in the final third which has only just got them over the line with Messi having to save the day.  They’ll need to flick that switch on too with the Swiss growing in confidence after their demolition of Honduras in their final group game thanks to a sublime performance from Shaqiri with a hat trick. This is a game that could go a number of ways but for me it’ll either be witnessing Argentina come of the blocks fast in a similar way to France where they knocked over the Swiss 5-2, or it’ll be a tight contest that could go either way. I’d expect the Swiss to be a big threat offensively here on the break as they look to suffocate any attacking plays by and into Messi. Whichever way it goes, this is shaping up as a great contest.

Predicted score: Argentina 2-1

Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals at $1.84 (80%)

Next Best: Both teams to score at $1.83

Belgium ($2.08) versus USA ($4.2), Draw ($4.5)

Belgium’s run:

  • Belgium 2 – 1 Algeria
  • Belgium 1 – 0 Russia
  • Belgium 1 – 0 South Korea

USA’s run:

  • USA 2 – 1 Ghana
  • USA 2 – 2 Portugal
  • USA 0 – 1 Germany

There’s no doubting the talent this Belgium side possess, but it’s fair to say they’ve been underwhelming so far having come from behind to win late against Algeria, beating Russia with an 88th minute winner, and taking until the 78th minute to beat South Korea. I dare say we’re all waiting for that break out performance but coming up against the USA, I’m not sure if this will be the one. The USA have been really good in a very tough group and with Belgium not exactly setting the tournament alight, they are a good chance of an upset if they play their best. One thing they’ll need though is to be at their best offensively because this has been Belgium’s strongest asset thus far with just the one goal conceded being a penalty. The USA showed they can hold off the big sides defensively in their last group game against Germany, but perhaps the most alarming thing for me was that they didn’t register a single shot on goal. I think we’ll see a trend here similar to Belgium’s last 2 games where the first half is a cagey affair with perhaps no goals scored but it may open up late in the contest with one of the sides here finding that pass that gets them on the board. I do however think that will be Belgium and I’m backing them to qualify here for their 4th straight win in a tight one.

Predicted score: Belgium 1-0

Best Bet: Under 2.5 goals at $1.68 (75%)

Next Best: Half Time Draw at $2.04

Please Note:
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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As an Australian growing up AFL was always my no.1 sport especially given I was lucky enough to grow up a few blocks from Carlton’s home ground, Princes Park, where I was lucky enough to attend many games. That’s where my passion for sport began but it was until the early 2000’s when I discovered a real passion for football with the Socceroos 2002 World Cup qualifiers against Uruguay accelerating my football journey. From there I began to follow the Premier League and haven’t looked back since. These days I’m a massive Tottenham fan where I’ve enjoyed many sleepless nights religiously watching them without missing a game despite many roller coaster feelings. There’s just something magical and glamorous when you watch the EPL and knowing the Profits owners Drew and Euan through studies, I’m now lucky enough to be able to share my thoughts on each game each week of the season.

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