2014 World Cup Brazil – Last 16 – 30th June & 1st July

It was a great way to kick off the last 16 with Brazil taking on Chile and Colombia taking on Uruguay last night that sets up great Quarter final contest between Brazil and Colombia next up. That’s a game can go either way with Brazil seemingly able to scrape over the line so far whilst Colombia’s James Rodriguez in in red hot form now with 5 goals and 2 assist from 4 games. Let’s see who here from the next 4 games can catch up to Rodriguez and push their side through to the next stage.

**Odds from betfair as at 29th June

June 30th Fixtures

Netherlands ($2.14) versus Mexico ($4), Draw ($3.5)

Netherland’s run:

  • Netherlands 5 – 1 Spain
  • Netherlands 3 – 2 Australia
  • Netherlands 2 – 0 Chile

Mexico’s run:

  • Mexico 1 – 0 Cameroon
  • Mexico 0 – 0 Brazil
  • Mexico 3 – 1 Croatia

The Dutch have had a pretty good run into the last 16 winning all of their group matches and look in good touch heading into this contest with Mexico. Mexico have been just as impressive with two wins and holding Brazil to a scoreless draw. The key for Mexico and why they have been so successful at this World Cup has been their defence with just the 1 goal conceded so far. It’ll be interesting though if they can hold off the best offensive side through the group stages with 10 goals and with Van Persie back from his suspension they’ll certainly need to be at their best.

I think this will be a pretty tight contest and we could be in for a scoreless first half as the defensive tactics of both sides take hold. Interestingly and perhaps a telling statistic is that the Dutch have scored 8 of their 10 goals in the second half whilst all of Mexico’s 4 goals have come in the second half and I think we’re in for a similar pattern here with the game likely to open up after the interval as each side searches for that winner. I can see Mexico sitting back looking for the break and the Dutch piling on the pressure but Mexico will need to be careful that they don’t leave too many gaps at the back when they do break because this Dutch side will punish them. This is perhaps the toughest game to pick thus far but I think one way or another this is one for the Dutch to win with Mexico failing at this point in the last 16 in their last 5 attempts.

Predicted score: Netherlands 2-0

Best Bet: Netherlands to win at $2.2 (80%)

Next Best: Second half with most goals at $2.25

Costa Rica ($2.58) versus Greece ($3.3), Draw ($3.15)

Costa Rica’s run:

  • Costa Rica 3 – 1 Uruguay
  • Costa Rica 1 – 0 Italy
  • Costa Rica 0 – 0 England

Greece’s run:

  • Greece 0 – 3 Colombia
  • Greece 0 – 0 Japan
  • Greece 2 – 1 Ivory Coast

Well who would have thought we’d see a last 16 matchup between Costa Rica and Greece. It’s certainly no dream matchup as its fair to say most of us would have expected an Italy versus Ivory Coast type arrangement. Both sides are here though and for the most part rightfully so, with Greece in more controversial circumstances with that Samaras penalty a talking point but at the end of the day they have the result and are through. I have a feeling we could be in for an interesting result here with Greece certainly a massive chance to move through to the next stage.

Apart from the Colombia game, Greece have kept their reputation of being defensively strong conceding just the 1 goal from their last 2 games. They will however need to up their offensive game to get past Costa Rica who conceded just the once through the group stage arguably in the toughest group against England, Italy, and Uruguay. Whilst I wouldn’t be surprised to see Greece somehow push their way into the quarter finals, I’m keen on Costa Rica here. I think they’ll be afforded more possession here than they had during the group stage and although Greece will be looking to quickly close down Costa Rica’s attacks I’m not sure if they can hold out for the full 90 minutes of normal time or extra time if it goes down that path. Should be a tight one but Costa Rica to qualify for me, just.

Predicted score: Costa Rica 1-0

Best Bet: Under 2.5 goals at $1.47 (70%)

Next Best: Costa Rica to qualify at $1.82

July 1st Fixtures

France ($1.5) versus Nigeria ($8.4), Draw ($4.6)

France’s run:

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

Nigeria’s run:

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

France take on Nigeria in their last 16 encounter with France topping their group comfortably with two big wins over Honduras and Switzerland. Nigeria had a slow start with a scoreless draw with Iran but their win over Bosnia got them over the line for this next step in their World Cup dream. Nigeria have at times been a side full of potential but have failed to deliver but I think they’ve warmed up nicely into this World Cup. They’re coming off a loss to Argentina but it was a competitive loss where they responded quickly to Argentina when they went 1-0 up after 3 minutes and again when they went 2-1 up on 45. It was the third though where they couldn’t respond but they took their few chances when presented with 2 goals from 3 shots on target. France played out a scoreless draw in their last group game perhaps comfortable in the fact they were going through to the last 16 regardless with a few fresh faces selected to start to give the regulars a rest. Expect to see a full contingent for France back in the starting XI.

France have looked relatively comfortable and focused at the same time at this World Cup and I’m looking for them to do the job here over Nigeria. Before the World Cup, Nigeria for me were a danger side as they have the quality to perform well but I just feel the determination of France may be too strong to overcome. Their stars are in good form too particularly in Benzema who has 3 goals and also averaging 7 shots per game. Nigeria’s defence had been fairly strong up till the Argentina game and I’m not confident they can withstand the impending barrage from France here. France have had 25 shots on target (Nigeria in comparison had 14 with 10 coming against Bosnia) in 3 games and if they can go at that rate again they’re a strong chance of qualifying.

Predicted score: France 2-0

Best Bet: France to win at $1.5 (80%)

Next Best: Both teams to score – No at $1.85

Anytime goal scorer: Benzema to score at $2.2

Germany ($1.31) versus Algeria ($12.5), Draw ($6)

Germany’s run:

  • Germany 4 – 0 Portugal
  • Germany 2 – 2 Ghana
  • Germany 1 – 0 USA

Algeria’s run:

  • Algeria 1 – 2 Belgium
  • Algeria 4 – 2 South Korea
  • Algeria 1 – 1 Russia

Germany are heavy favourites here against an Algerian side that has done incredibly well to get through to this stage. I doubt any of us are expecting an upset here with Germany undoubtedly the superior side but stranger things have happened in football. Germany had an incredibly strong start to the World Cup with that 4-0 win over Portugal where they just looked invincible but they seem to have slowed down a little bit with their draw over Ghana and narrow win against the strong willed USA. I think they can get back on track here with a strong win and whilst I expect Algeria to be competitive, Germany’s experience and star power will be too much. Algeria will also perhaps just be satisfied they’ve made it further than they expected and although playing without any expectations of beating Germany can be a huge advantage I can only see this one going one way and that’s a strong Germany win.

Predicted score: Germany 3-0

Best Bet: Germany for the Half Time / Full Time double at $1.89 (85%)

Next Best: Over 2.5 goals at $1.66

Anytime goal scorer: Muller to score at $1.84

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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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