2018 FIFA World Cup – Quarter Final Analysis

Saturday 7th July, 12am AEST

Les Bleus’ encounter with Argentina was an open affair and one of many great games from an entertainment perspective at this World Cup, but that was helped by an early goal for Didier Deschamps’ men which forced Argentina to attack rather than simply try and squeeze and stifle their attack with two deep lines of defence. However, as Uruguay demonstrated against Portugal in their own last 16 encounter, they are great at doing just that and so we can expect this to be a far tighter affair with France almost certain to have a lot less joy going forward.

Indeed, four of the five meetings between these two teams since 2002 have finished goalless, with the exception the most recent encounter back in 2013 as Uruguay ran out 1-0 winners, while before England take on Colombia in their last 16 clash, 47% of knockout games between European and South American teams in that time have seen Under 1.5 Goals. 32% of these saw the UEFA team triumph in the end after being held to a half-time stalemate, and given France have only led at the break once in their last five outings, while Uruguay have been level after the opening-45 in five of their last six defeats, Draw/France HT/FT has some real potential.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Under 1.5 Goals at $2.58

 BACK – Draw/France HT/FT at $4.50

Saturday 7th July, 4am AEST

Brazil’s passage through to the quarter-finals was far more serene than Belgium’s as they were relatively comfortable against Mexico, whilst Roberto Martinez’s men needed their bench strength to mount an impressive comeback against Japan. Belgium looked vulnerable at the back throughout that game while Brazil’s defence has looked far more watertight as the only goal they’ve conceded was a contentious one against Switzerland. However, Belgium carry a substantial attacking threat, with their 12 goals three more than any other side, and nine of those have come from open play.

33-year-old centre-backs Thiago Silva and Miranda will have their work cut out therefore and with a place in the semi-finals at stake it’s hard to imagine Tite being too offensive with his approach, as the full-backs will likely be told to focus on their defensive duties and the midfielders expected to work hard in tracking back. In fact, with Belgian not wanting to be exposed as they were last time out, we could see a relatively cautious affair. What’s more, 62% (21/34) of World Cup knockout matches between European and South American sides since 1990 have seen fewer than three goals, as have seven of Brazil’s last eight competitive matches.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Under 2.5 Goals at $1.90

Sunday 8th July, 12:00am AEST

England were able to play a high-tempo game for the most part against Colombia in mild conditions, but they’ll have to be more conservative with their energy reserves as this game’s set to take place in the heat of Samara. However, the Swedes are hardly built to withstand the conditions either and having enjoyed 33% of the ball or less in each of their games except their opening day win over South Korea, could find fatigue a problem for them here – especially as England had the opportunity to rest their stars against Belgium.

Given the expected slower tempo on this occasion, a low-scoring game would come as no surprise and indeed, with the stakes so high, quarter-finals are often cagey affairs. Since 1990, there have been fewer than three goals in 23 of 32 World Cup knockout ties between European outfits we have ranked within 10 places of each other, while 15 of these games featured just one strike or none at all. Five of Sweden’s last seven have seen Under 1.5 Goals and given they’ve kept a clean sheet in five of their last six, chances will certainly be at a premium. However, the higher ranked team prospered with a 1-0 victory in seven (22%) of those games, and as England have enjoyed the same scoreline in half their last six against European teams, the 1-0 correct score is definitely worth a punt.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – England 1-0 correct score at $6.40

Sunday 8th July, 4am AEST

Russia superbly executed their game plan against Spain as they came out victorious on penalties despite having just 21% of the possession. Their goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev won the man of the match award which tells you a lot about the nature of the game, but the question remains whether they can pull that off again against Croatia. Russia have lost six of their last eight matches against teams we had ranked inside the world’s top 20 (drawing the other two at 90 minutes) and they’ve been beaten to nil in half those matches.

Croatia are unbeaten over 90 minutes in their last eight unbeaten major tournament matches, keeping their opposition out in half of these and we’re struggling to see how Russia will break down this defence given they’ve conceded just once from open play. Moreover, dating back to the last World Cup 15 of their 19 competitive wins have come with a clean sheet attached, with six 1-0s being the most common scoreline.

Betting Strategy

 BACK – Croatia Win to Nil at $3.40

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