With the first round of games underway, including Brazil’s second, it’s time for the next round of games to get underway. A win here can secure passage into the last 16 for those that won their first leg whilst a win gives those hope for those that weren’t so lucky in their first game. A draw too can be as equally important so it’ll be interesting to see if any of the teams change their tactics compared to their first game. Hopefully we don’t see anything too conservative for the neutral’s sake because so far this World Cup has been a goals bonanza with 12 of the first 14 games finishing over 2.5 goals with just the 1 draw registered between Nigeria and Iran. Bring on more goals please!
**Betting odds from Betfair as at 17th June 2014
19th June Fixtures
Australia ($18.5) versus Netherlands ($1.22), Draw ($7.4)
Australia showed the world they are fighters in their first game against Chile. There were no expectations on Australia from the rest of the world except they expected them to struggle. They may have lost 3-1, but geez they gave Chile a fright. It goes to show the underdogs will always have a chance against the technically superior sides. It’s another underdog battle here as they face a rampant Dutch side that tore apart the reigning World Champions Spain 5-1. It was an absolutely incredible performance that will be spoken about in years and decades to come I’m sure. They’ll be supremely confident after that victory, but if it gives one advantage to Australia it’s that they could be too confident and when you’re too confident, sometimes you slip. Of course I’m biased here as an Australian but it was fantastic to see some of the young boys in our side actually realise that they can compete at this level, in particular Matthew Leckie. He was absolutely immense and if he goes as hard as he did against Chile against the Dutch here, he could give them a sniff. Jason Davidson was another that I thought did himself proud and I’ll be surprised if these two don’t find themselves in the Premier League in the coming years. As much as I’d love to see the Aussie’s get away with a win I think the Dutch will be eager to get the 3 points to secure safe passage to the last 16 as well as to overturn that quirky statistic that they have yet to beat Australia in 3 attempts. We should have a pretty open game I suspect as the Socceroos won’t sit back, they’ll have a red hot go, whilst the Dutch will be pushing for goals to ensure victory so an Over 2.5 looks a smart but modest play here at least.
Predicted score: Netherlands 3-0
Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals at $1.60 (90%)
Next Best: Netherlands for the Half Time/Full Time Double at $1.74
Spain ($1.61) versus Chile ($6.2), Draw ($4.5)
Apart from the Socceroos of course, this is undoubtedly going to be the game that will draw the most interest. Spain were humiliated by the Netherlands and it’ll be intriguing to see their response and perhaps any team changes to the line-up against the Netherlands. I’d be surprised to see too many changes as those sorts of performances aren’t the norm with Spain and I’m sure they’ll want to move on quickly without making drastic changes. There is plenty of pressure on them here though because this is a must win game because anything else gives Chile the upper hand with superior goal difference. We should see a strong response here, it may be as dominant a display as they received, but a strong one all the same in a 2 or 3 nil type victory. Chile were great early against Australia but their weakness in defence shone through in the second half when they conceded and without a genuine back-line they are very susceptible to counter attacks. They may have won 3-1 but the result was a lot tighter than that and they’ll need to be at their absolute best to beat this champion Spanish side. I’m sure Chile will come out hard early but I’m sure Spain can weather the storm, gain control in midfield, and regain some pride to get a win. Chile’s desire to attack should see them notch up a goal.
Predicted score: Spain 3-1
Best Bet: Over 2.5 goals at $1.71 (90%)
Next Best: Spain to win at $1.61
Cameroon ($6.6) versus Croatia ($1.61), Draw ($4.2)
Cameroon and Croatia suffered defeats in their first games with Croatia perhaps feeling a little unlucky with some decisions not going their way, in particular that highly questionable penalty decision. Cameroon on the other hand were lucky to not lose 2 or 3 nil with Mexico having 2 goals disallowed for Dos Santos ruled offside. Croatia played pretty well in their game against Brazil and I suspect they’ll be hungry for a win here after copping the bad luck and they have a really good shot for the win here. Their midfield looks superior with Modric and Rakitic controlling the game and with Mario Mandzukic likely to lead the line they have a target man up front that should trouble this Cameroon defence. A win here sets up a cracking final match against Mexico with the winner to advance. With Samuel Eto’o likely to miss through injury it seems like mission impossible for Cameroon so we should see a pretty solid win from Croatia here.
Predicted score: Croatia 2-0
Best Bet: Croatia to win at $1.61 (80%)
Next Best: Over 1.5 goals at $1.34. Not sure if I can see Cameroon scoring and not sure I can see Croatia knocking more than 2 or 3 in. We should see at least 2 goals though.
Anytime Scorer Bet: Mario Mandzukic at $2.08 (assuming he starts)
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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