World Cup Quarter Finals
Just eight teams remain in the World Cup and across the four games on Friday and Saturday, we will find out who will be the final four teams left in it. At this stage, every single team in the tournament will feel like with a little bit of luck they can lift the trophy, and this is a time when fans from all over the world are getting excited about their team’s chances.
The tournament favourites Brazil are still in the tournament, and they face Belgium on Friday evening. Another big favourite before the tournament for many people was France, and they too are still in the tournament, playing Uruguay in the first quarter-final on Friday afternoon. On Saturday, all English eyes will be on the first game of the day, when England take on Sweden, while the whole of Russia will have their eyes on the final quarter-final that takes place. The hosts are still in the tournament, much to the surprise of many, and they take on Croatia on Saturday night.
We should have four very good games of football to enjoy, so here is a look at each game taking place, the odds that are available on the games and some important betting offers that you should be looking to take advantage of this weekend.
Uruguay vs France – Friday 3 pm
The first game of this round takes place on Friday afternoon and brings together two teams who so far have played good tournament football. When entering a tournament you shouldn’t go out and play your best game first, you should ease into the tournament and work your way up to your best. This is exactly what Uruguay and France have done so far, and they both look capable of making the semi-finals.
Uruguay performed brilliantly when beating Russia 3-0 in their final game of the group stages, and then followed that up with a very good 2-1 win over Portugal on the last 16. France ended the group stages with a 0-0 draw against Denmark, where they rested a lot of players before being involved in a 4-3 thriller against Argentina.
This game looks set to kick-start the quarter-final stage with a bang, and there is little to choose between the two teams. France look like they have even more to give though, and that gives them a slight edge, so I’m going with France to beat Uruguay.
Brazil vs Belgium – Friday 7 pm
This looks to be the best of the quarter-finals, and the one that is the hardest to predict. Both teams love to play expansive and attractive football, so that should bring goals to the game, although both do have some top quality defenders amongst their team, which could stop that from happening.
Belgium have played very well all tournament long, scoring goals for fun with nine in the group stages and a further three in their last 16 games against Japan. Brazil haven’t been as impressive, but the feeling you get from them is they are easing their way into the tournament, and they can always move up a gear if it is needed. They won 2-0 against Mexico on Monday to make this round and looked in control of that game the more it went on.
I don’t think there is too much between these teams, and this is certainly the best opponent Brazil have had to play so far. We have already seen the best of Belgium, but I sense there could be another gear for Brazil to move into, and that is why I give them a very slight edge in this one.
Sweden vs England – Saturday 3 pm
English eyes will be glued to this one on Saturday afternoon, with the Three Lions having a genuine chance of making the World Cup semi-finals, and potentially going a lot further than that. This young team has captured the imagination of those back home, and World Cup fever has gripped the country.
Sweden are the opponents here, a team who I think England match up well against. With a young defence, England were always going to look a little shaky at the start of the tournament, but when they played Colombia in the last 16, we saw just what they were capable of. They battled well and won everything on the floor and in the air that game, until an injury time goal for Colombia. Sweden don’t create many chances, and I think England can keep them out. With Harry Kane playing well so far, if England do get a chance, then I’d happily back him to bury it.
This looks likely to be a low scoring game on Saturday, but the matchup really suits England. I think they will keep a clean sheet, and England have players who can take chances in their line up, so I expect them to score and make the semi-finals.
Russia vs Croatia
The hosts are still in this competition, much to the surprise of many including myself. They started well, comfortably beating two lower ranked teams before being put in their place by Uruguay. Since then they won a penalty shootout against Spain in the last 16, where Spain simply did not take advantage of the amount of the ball they had.
Although Croatia weren’t at their best when playing Denmark in their last 16 penalty shootout victory, I am convinced they will give Russia more to think about here. They have a great mix of talent, experience and depth do the Croatians, and have been very impressive. Anywhere near their best would be enough to dispatch of this Russian team, who I still believe are quite an average team despite getting this far.
While getting to the semi-finals would be a fairy tale for the hosts, I don’t think that is going to happen. Croatia are much better than we saw last time out, and anything close to what we have seen so far from them in the group stages would be good enough to win this game. The whole country will be behind Russia, but this may be where the hosts bow out after a very good tournament for them.
As far as the outright betting goes for who will win the World Cup, Brazil remain the favourites at 11/4, shortening in price since the tournament began. Behind them, France and England are now second favourites to lift the trophy at 7/2, with England’s path to the final having a big impact on their price. Since the draw for the knockout rounds was established, England have continued to shorten in the betting due to that, which is no surprise. At bigger prices, Croatia are 11/2, Belgium 6/1 and Uruguay are 14/1. Those prices on Belgium and Uruguay are due to the opposition they have to face, but should either of them win then expect to see them shorten dramatically.
Onto the games, this weekend and England at 10/11 are the only odds-on team in the quarter-finals. The other three favourites, France, Brazil and Croatia, can all be backed at odds against if you fancy them to win their games. France are 21/20 when playing Uruguay on Friday and Brazil can be backed at 11/10. Croatia are the interesting ones at 6/5, I was expecting to see them odds-on for their game against Spain. Of those teams, I expect the England/Croatia double on Saturday will be very popular, and should those two teams win it will likely be a good weekend for punters.
If you are looking for value, then Both Uruguay and Belgium seem to have a better chance than the odds suggest. Uruguay are 7/2 to beat France, while Belgium are 13/5 to win their game on Friday night against Brazil.
Ladbrokes Friday Welcome Offers
Ladbrokes have put together two offers for the games that are played on Friday this weekend, one for each game. If you are looking to get involved in these games, and you would like a new betting account then check out the two offers below.
France to Qualify 40/1
Those fancying France to reach the semi-finals will love this huge offer on them to qualify from Ladbrokes. They are offering new customers the chance to back France to qualify at 40/1, which is far bigger than the price available anywhere else. This offer is valid to a maximum stake of £1, and open to new customers only.
Neymar to Score 40/1
If you would prefer to get involved in the second game of the day, then Ladbrokes have another huge offer for you. They are offering 40/1 again, but this time on Neymar to score a goal in the game. This offer is the same price, and subject to the same terms and conditions, which are available on the Ladbrokes website.
10Bet England Scorer Special
If you are placing a goal scorer bet on the England game on Saturday, then make sure you do so with this offer from 10Bet. This counts for pre-match bets on any goalscorer market, and if your player scores in the first half then they will double the winnings on your bet, a great offer for what is sure to be a hugely popular betting match on Saturday.