Jul 06, 2018
Day 2 Quarters - Best Bets
Quarterfinal Matchups | Betting Odds | World Cup Betting Results
World Cup: Quarterfinal Preview - Day 2
Sweden vs. England (FOX, 10:00 a.m. ET)
England and Sweden are the only teams ever to have reached the final in their half of the draw. Both achieved it only once and on home turf, with England winning in 1966 and Sweden finishing runners-up to Brazil in 1958.
This represents both teams’ best chance since then. England are 6/4 favourites to reach the final - a match they would almost certainly be underdogs to win - while Sweden are 7/1. But we are still only at the quarter-final stage, and this match at the Cosmos Arena in Samara promises to be another tight, tense affair.
The city on the Volga saw its highest temperature for 50 years as Brazil faced Mexico there in the last 16, and patience may well be the key for England as they attempt to break down a stubborn, organised defence.
Sweden are a limited side, but they are superbly disciplined and are unlikely to give away any penalties, England having already scored three of their nine goals from the spot at this tournament.
The hype in England is such that the bettor is desperate to find a way of opposing them, but I thought they would be shorter here.
Nine of England’s last 13 victories have been without conceding, while Sweden’s four first halves at this tournament have seen just one goal. Their approach will be predictable, and England, who have relied rather to heavily on set-pieces, could struggle to break it down.
But they should eventually, and the 19/20 on an England win appeals. But in order to squeeze the best value out, a better option might be to get on England to be drawing at half-time but winning at full-time.
Prediction: Sweden 0-1 England
Top Bet: Draw-England half-time/full-time at 10/3
Croatia vs. Russia (FOX, 2:00 p.m. ET)
This was supposed to be Argentina vs. Spain, but due to the shocks at this crazy World Cup, it is hosts Russia who meet Croatia in Sochi by the Black Sea.
Russia defended gallantly against Spain before winning the match on penalties, but the draw was perhaps more down to Spain’s wastefulness in possession. They passed it around but created vanishingly few good opportunities.
By the end of the 120 minutes Russia looked absolutely exhausted, and they will have been glad to see their quarter-final opponents Croatia go the full distance against Denmark. The match saw two goals in the first four minutes but quickly became tense and defensive. Croatia could not deal with Denmark’s formation and, despite Luka Modric’s late penalty miss, were rather lucky to make it to penalties.
Zlatko Dalic’s side have only really put in one convincing performance so far, which was the 3-0 win over Argentina in their second group game.
In fact the Croatians have built their game plan around a very strong defence, and it is a struggle to see how the hosts will break that down given they’ve only conceded once from opening play in this tournament.
Stanislav Cherchesov will likely take the same ultra-defensive approach in the knowledge that Russla’s players are nowhere near as good as Croatia’s.
Croatia, even away from home, are rightfully favourites. But they have not sparkled enough going forward in the tournament so far for them to be good value at 5/4. The draw looks the best bet here.
Prediction: Croatia 1-1 Russia
Top Bet: Draw at 2/1