Day #5 World Cup
World Cup Day 5: Previews and Betting Tips
Switzerland v Cameroon
Switzerland is an unforgiving team – they never fail to punish teams that underestimate them. They showed it in the EUROs when they eliminated World Champions France, and they showed it in the World Cup Qualifiers as they finished unbeaten in their group ahead of Italy, who failed to qualify through the playoffs. In fact, Switzerland are part of a group of only three European teams – Belgium and France being the other two – to have reached the knockout stages in each of their last four major international tournaments. Their biggest weakness is their lack of a top goal threat. Noah Okafor (RB Salzburg) and Breel Embolo will battle it out for a starting spot, but neither of those strike fear in opponents. In defense, though, the Swiss are mean. They conceded just 2 goals in the qualifiers – the lowest by any team from any continent heading to Qatar. They have some good players in the squad like Granit Xhaka who is having his best season for Arsenal, Manuel Akanji who has become an important player for Man City in a relatively short period and Xherdan Shaqiri who is good for 1 or 2 stunners after which he’ll take his shirt off. However, Switzerland’s most important player is undoubtedly Yann Sommer. His 90th min penalty save against Jorginho in the 1-1 draw over in Italy was key to them winning the group and just this season, he set the Bundesliga record for most saves in a game (19) in the 1-1 draw with Bayern.
For Cameroon, Rigobert Song comes into this tournament with a lot of experience from his playing days, having competed in 4 different World Cups during his time as player for the National team. The Indomitable Lions got to Qatar the tough way by eliminating Ivory Coast and then Algeria – two heavyweights – and will be full of confidence in what is a tricky but open group. Vincent Aboubakar scored 8 goals in the Nations Cup earlier this year, while Choupo-Moting has also hit form at the right time and has 9 goals and 3 assists in his last 7 games for Bayern. With the pair set to start, they will be a handful for the Swiss defense. Cameroon’s weakness is usually their defense, but with Onana in goal and Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa having a monstrous season with Napoli, maybe they can overcome those problems.
Switzerland: The Swiss have 4 wins, 2 draws and 5 losses in their last 11 games, including a 2-0 loss to Ghana in a friendly last week – not the best form. Last 5: LWWWL
Cameroon: Rigobert Song’s side have 3 wins, 5 draws & 3 losses in their last 11 games. Last 5: WLLDD
Switzerland: Sommer; Rodriguez, Akanji, Elvedi, Widmer; Xhaka, Freuler; Shaqiri, Sow, Vargas; Embolo
Cameroon: Onana; Tolo, Castelletto, Nkoulou, Fai; Toko Ekambi, Hongla, Anguissa, Mbeumo; Aboubakar, Choupo-Moting
- Double Chance: Cameroon to win or draw @2.05
- Over 1.5 Goals @1.42
Uruguay v South Korea
Uruguay’s plan to move on from Oscar Tabarez after 16 years in charge seems to be paying off. Current Head Coach, Diego Alonso, is getting a lot out of these guys and with 7 wins in his last 10 games, they fancy themselves as one of the contenders or at least a Dark Horse. Diego Alonso came in when qualification was in serious doubt for the 2-time Champions following a humiliating pair of defeats to Brazil (4-1) & Bolivia (3-0) but he turned things around, winning 4 of the remaining 4 games to seal their ticket to Qatar. He likes to prepare for each game with its own unique style (usually switching between 4-4-2 & 4-2-3-1) and that allows him to try different things, which, in turn, is a problem for teams trying to draw up plans against them. Though they have some old players like Diego Godin, Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani in the side, they also have Darwin Núñez, Ronald Araújo and of course, Federico Valverde who is one of the best players in the world right now. Injuries could be a problem for them. Last world cup, Valverde missed out through injury and that hurt them a bit. This time, Ronald Araújo – arguably their most important defender – is struggling to get fit and he is expected to be rested for this opener.
This will be Korea’s 10th consecutive appearance at the World Cup, which is a better record than the reigning Champions, France (7). They’re a side capable of punishing big teams that relax against them, and their victory over Germany in 2018 – which sealed the reigning champ’s humbling group stage exit – is proof enough. Son heung-min is by far the country’s best player and their hopes are on him. But, with the recent facial-surgery, things could get a bit complicated, and they’ll be hoping the face mask (which he intends to wear throughout the tournament) wouldn’t be much of a discomfort to the reigning Premier League Golden Boot winner. In Kim Min-jae (Napoli), Hwang Hee-chan (Wolves) and Lee Kang-in (Mallorca), Son has a decent supporting cast; however, Korea’s biggest weakness is their defense. Besides Kim Min-jae, they don’t really have a player who strikes fear in that back line, which is why Paulo Bento prefers a conservative approach. While they may have conceded just 3 goals in their 10 AFC final stage qualifiers, there are concerns about how they’ll hold up against European & South American opposition.
Uruguay: Uruguay have won 7 wins, 1 draw & 1 loss in last 10 games Last 5 Games: WDWLW
South Korea: The Asian giants have 6 wins, 2 losses & 2 draws in last 10 games Last 5 Games: WLDWW
Uruguay: Rochet; Varela, Godin, Giménez, Olivera; Bentancur, Vecino, Valverde; De Arrascaeta, L Suarez, Nunez
South Korea: Kim Seung-gyu; Kim Moon-hwan, Kim Young-gwon, Kim Min-jae, Kim Jin-su; Jung Woo-Young, Hwang In-beom, Lee Jae-sung; Hwang Hee-chan, Son Heung-min, Hwang Ui-jo
- Uruguay to win @1.78
- Penalty taken (NO) @1.35
- Uruguay to score 2 in a row (YES) @2.38
Portugal v Ghana
Christopher Nolan’s Batman Trilogy is a masterpiece that will live in our hearts for many reasons, one of which was the timeless quote it gave us in The Dark Knight through one of its characters, Harvey Dent; You either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain. This quote applies to one of the most important figures in Portuguese football, and no, not Cristiano Ronaldo, I’m talking about Fernando Santos, their Head Coach. Since leading Portugal to the EUROs in 2016, the Portuguese have failed to impress at major tournaments. In the two tournaments that have followed their triumph in 2016, they’ve won just two games – a 1-0 win over Morocco in the 2018 World Cup & a 3-0 win over Hungary at EURO 2020. Despite having what can objectively be considered a better group of players than he had back in 2016, Head Coach Fernando Santos has been underwhelming and there are calls for his dismissal after this tournament regardless of the performance. To be entirely fair, Portugal’s poor run in the World Cup is a problem that existed before Fernando Santos took the job in 2014. Portugal have only won three of their last 14 World Cup matches (D6, L5), with each of them coming in the group stage and, their last knockout stage victory came in 2006 – a penalty shootout win over England in the Quarter-finals.
For the Ghanians, they will be making their 4th appearance at the World Cup and they come into this knowing Portugal are winless in their last three opening games at the World Cup (D2, L1) – they will be aiming to make that four. The team is built around their star in the middle of the pitch, Thomas Partey – who is having a great season for Arsenal – and alongside him, Ajax’s Mohammed Kudus who we know can get goals. Ghana’s biggest x-factors ahead of this game are the recent additions to the national team; Tariq Lamptey and Inaki Williams have joined the national team set up, and they could make the difference. Though they’ve had few games with the Black Stars, their experience playing in two of the biggest leagues in Europe will be a huge boost for this side.
Portugal: Portugal have 6 wins, 2 draws & 3 losses in their last 11 games, including a 4-0 victory over Nigeria in a friendly last week in which Bruno Fernandes scored a brace as their captain, Cristiano Ronaldo, was absent. Last 5: WLWLW
Ghana: The Black Stars have 3 wins, 4 draws & 3 losses in their last 10 games, with clean sheets in half of those games. Last 5: LWLWW
Portugal: Costa; Cancelo, Pepe, Dias, Guerreiro; Neves, Carvalho, Fernandes; B. Silva, Ronaldo, Leao
Ghana: Ati Zigi; Lamptey, Amartey, Djiku, Baba; Partey, Abdul Samed; Sulemana, Kudus, J. Ayew; Williams
- Over 1.5 Goals @1.31
- Portugal to score in both halves (NO) @1.55
Brazil v Serbia
5-time Champions and tournament favorites, Brazil, begin their quest for a record extending 6th World Cup title when they face Serbia. The Samba Boys have a good record against their Thursday evening opponents, having beaten them in both of their previous meetings – a 2-0 win in the 2018 World Cup group stage and before that, a 1-0 friendly in 2014. Brazil is a country synonymous with success in football, and they have the records to back that up. In addition to being the only nation to have participated in each of the 22 editions of the World Cup since its inception in 1930, Brazil are unbeaten in their last 15 World Cup group games (W12, D3) with their last defeat coming in 1998 against Norway. More impressively, they have topped their group in Round One of every World Cup since 1982 and last failed to make it out of the first round in 1966. With a talented group that includes players like Casemiro, Vinicius Jr, Thiago Silva, Alisson and, of course, Neymar, a lot is expected of this team.
The Serbs aren’t to be taken for granted. In the qualifiers, they showed just how punishing they can be after they topped their group (unbeaten), 3 points ahead of Portugal who had to qualify through the playoffs. They followed that up with a promotion to the Nations League A and the Eagles are on a high. The key to Serbia’s success is their attack. They have pacey attacking wing-backs in Andrija Zivkovic and Filip Kostić on the flanks, proper creators in Tadic and Milinkovic-Savic and in Vlahovic and Mitrovic, they have 2 proper goal threats, though the latter could be rested for this game having been out of action for about a month with an injury. Their one weakness, however, is their back 3 which isn’t as good as their attack. They often get exposed on the break and manager, Stojković, switches to a 5-3-2 against bigger teams to try to cover this up – something we might see on Thursday. Though they come into this game in fine form, there is some concern about the nation’s history in the tournament. Despite qualifying for four of the last five World Cups (with 2014 the exception), they have lost seven of their nine games in this tournament – only Australia (9) have lost more games in that period.
Brazil: Coming into this World Cup, the Brazilians have the 2nd best form after the Argentines, with 12 wins and 3 draws in their last 15 games. Last 5: WWWWW
Serbia: The Serbs are in decent form with 7 wins, 2 losses and a draw in their last 10 games. Last 5: WDWWW
Brazil: Alisson; Danilo, Thiago Silva, Marquinhos, Sandro; Fred, Casemiro, Paqueta; Raphinha, Richarlison, Neymar.
Serbia: V. Milinkovic-Savic; Milenkovic, S. Mitrovic, Pavlovic; Zivkovic, Gudelj, Lukic, Kostic; S. Milinkovic-Savic, Vlahovic, Tadic.
- Brazil to win @1.53
- Brazil to score in both halves @2.33
/ 8 months ago
To all sports betting enthusiasts, welcome back to another weekend of the most amazing...