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FIFA World Cup 2022

Day #6 World Cup

World Cup Day 6: Previews and Betting Tips

Wales v Iran

Wales may have been relieved to snatch a late draw against the USA on Monday but, looking at the bigger picture, it’s a huge worry for Head Coach Rob Paige whose men are now winless in 6 games. It was a game of two halves against the Americans, with Wales coming under immense pressure in the opening 45 mins but taking charge of the game in the second half. Against Iran, they’ll have a chance to right their wrongs, knowing the Middle-Eastern side have never beaten a European opponent at the World Cup in 9 previous attempts (D2, L7). Additionally, Wales have fared well against Asian opposition. In seven meetings against teams from the continent – the last of which was a 6-0 win over China in March 2018 – Wales have conceded just once and have kept six clean sheets (W5, D2),

Wales vs Iran: Predicted lineup, injury news, head-to-head

The Iranians were left heartbroken after the game against England. While the heavy defeat which left them with a -4 GD was bad, the loss of their goalkeeper, Alireza Beiranvand before the floodgates opened up is a bigger worry. Beiranvand, who was taken off just 20 mins in due to a concussion and a broken nose, has been ruled out of this clash with Wales and his replacement, Hossein Hosseini, is several levels below him as evident by his performance when he came on. Mehdi Taremi’s brace did however give them a little bit of hope. Since his move to Europe in 2019 when he joined Rio Ave and then FC Porto the next season, he’s scored 83 goals and created 57 assists, and it was exciting to see him bring this form to the biggest stage. Sardar Azmoun’s return was also a source of joy for the Iranians after being sidelined with a muscle injury for over a month. With 41 goals in 65 appearances for the national team, he is one of their most important players, and it was great for the fans to see him return. 

Team Form

Wales: The Welsh team have just one win in their last 9 games heading into this game, which is worrying for Rob Paige. In that period, they’ve kept just one clean sheet, but have equally failed to find the back of the net on just one occasion. Last 5 Games: DLLLD

Iran: Iran’s form is a bit all over the place, but they’ve failed to score just once in October 2019 (once in 21 games). Last 5 Games: LWDWL

Expected Line-Up

Wales: Hennessey; Mepham, Rodon, Davies; Roberts, Ramsey, Ampadu, Williams; James, Bale; Moore

Iran: H. Hosseini; Moharrami, Pouraliganji, Cheshmi, M. Hosseini, Mohammadi; Jakanbakhsh, Noorollahi, Karimi, Gholizadeh; Taremi

Predictions:

  • Both teams to score @2.03
  • Wales to win @2.15

 

 


Qatar v Senegal

Qatar were poor in the opening game, and that’s putting it mildly. In addition to the AFC Champions becoming the first host nation in World Cup history to lose an opening game, they also became the first host nation to not have a shot on target in the opening game since the USA against Brazil in 1994. The attacking duo of Akram Afif and Almoez Ali were left frustrated all afternoon, with the former having to drop deep to get some touches of the ball while the latter was taken off after 72 mins. Qatar’s biggest disappointment was undoubtedly their 32-year-old goalkeeper, Saad Al Sheeb. The Al Sadd #1 is usually a calm and assuring figure between the sticks, but it felt like the occasion was too big for him on Sunday. He looked nervous all game and his errors proved to be too costly for the host. 

Qatar vs Senegal: Predicted lineup, injury news, head-to-head

Just like Saad Al Sheeb for Qatar, Senegal’s goalkeeper, Édouard Mendy was the main culprit in his team’s 2-0 loss to the Netherlands. He mistimed Frankie de Jong’s cross into the box for Cody Gakpo’s opening goal in the 84th min, and Dany Klaassen’s effort in the 99th min to double Netherland’s lead could have been totally avoided. Prior to those two goals, the game seemed even. Ismaïla Sarr caused the Dutch some problems down the left wing, but the void left by reigning African Player of the Year, Sadio Mané, was too big to fill, and Senegal’s attack was easily thwarted by Louis van Gaal’s men. With both sides meeting for the first time ever, they’ll be fully aware that the loser of this game would be all but eliminated from the tournament and we can expect a cagey yet extremely physical battle.

Team Form

Qatar: Their loss to Ecuador has left them with just one win in their last 9 games – a 2-1 win over a reserve Ghana side in late August. Only four host nations have ever lost back-to-back matches at the World Cup – Spain (1982), USA (1994), Korea Rep. (2002) & Brazil (2014) – and Qatar will be hoping not to make that five. Last 5 Games: DLLDL

Senegal: The reigning AFCON Champions haven’t lost back-to-back games since a pair of 1-0 losses to Algeria & Liberia in July 2019. They’ll be aiming to keep that streak alive against the reigning Asian Champions. Last 5 Games: LWWDL

Expected Line-Up

Qatar: Al Sheeb; Al-Rawi, Khoukhi, Hassan; Miguel, Hatem, Boudiaf, Al-Haydos, Ahmed; Ali, Afif

Senegal: Mendy, Sabaly, Koulibaly, Toure, N Mendy, Gueye, Cisse, Diatta, Dieng, Sarr, Dia

Predictions:

 

 


Netherlands v Ecuador

These two sides come into this full of confidence having won their opening games by the same scoreline (2-0). The Netherlands left it late with goals from Cody Gakpo & Dany Klaassen coming in the 84th & 99th min, respectively, while Enner Valencia’s first half brace for Ecuador was enough to seal all 3 pts against Qatar in the opening game.

Netherlands extended their unbeaten run since Louis van Gaal’s return to 16 games. Historically, the Dutch have been built around their world-class attack, but this time, they’ve been built around their defense of Virgil van Dijk, Matthijs de Ligt, Nathan Aké (with Stefan de Vrij & Jurrien Timber as options off the bench) while goalkeeper, Andries Noppert – who famously refused to give up on his fading career despite pleas from his wife & family to become a policeman – is living his dream of playing in the FIFA World Cup. Though the Dutch enjoyed their win, Matthijs de Ligt surprisingly admitted that he didn’t like playing on the right-hand-side of a back-three and hinted that his place should be given to Jurrien Timber. A rather bizarre thing to say at the World Cup, but I won’t be surprised if Louis van Gaal obliges and drops him. Memphis Depay didn’t start against Senegal but after coming on as a sub and having a hand in one of the goals, it’s expected he starts this game. Heading into the World Cup, the Barcelona forward had scored 21 goals in his last 21 games for the national team, and it’s easy to see why he’s considered an untouchable by Louis van Gaal. One player the Ecuadorians will want to keep an eye on is Cody Gakpo. The PSV attacker continued his fine form with a header against Senegal to put them ahead – his 36th G/A for club and country this season – and the PSV board are surely getting loads of calls for his services.

Netherlands vs Ecuador: predicted lineup, injury news, head-to-head

Ecuador’s Enner Valencia may have gotten all the headlines in their win against Qatar – and perhaps rightly so – but their defense has been their most impressive unit. Their clean sheet against the hosts was their 7th in a row, and it’s no surprise Gustavo Alfaro has built the team around them. Despite the comfortable 2-0 win, there are still concerns about their goal scoring. After recording the 2nd most goals in the CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifiers (27), their attack seems to have stalled in its growth. Valencia’s brace against Qatar was the first time they had scored more than a goal in a game since November of last year and, heading into the World Cup, they had recorded 4 goalless draws in their last 5 games.

 Team Form

Netherlands: The Dutch have kept a clean sheet in each of their last four World Cup games; their longest ever run in the competition. The last country to keep five in a row was Switzerland, between 2006 and 2010. Last 5 Games: DWWWW

Ecuador: With 4 of Ecuador’s last 6 games ending 0-0, this could be a low scoring game. Last 5 Games: WDDDW

Expected Line-Up

Netherlands: Noppert; Timber, Van Dijk, Ake; Dumfries, Berghuis, De Jong, Blind; Gakpo; Memphis, Bergwijn

Ecuador: Galindez; Preciado, Torres, Hincapie, Estupinan; Mendez, Plata, Caicedo; Sarmiento, Estrada, Ibarra

Predictions:

  • Under 2.5 Goals @1.78
  • First 30 mins (Draw) @1.69

 

 


England v USA

The Three Lions were ruthless in their opening game against Iran, and they looked like a totally different team from the one that had failed to win in 6 games heading into the World Cup. Three brilliant goals from Jude Bellingham, Bukayo Saka and Raheem Sterling put them 3-0 up at half-time and another Bukayo goal in the second half as well as a goal each from substitutes, Marcus Rashford and Jack Grealish made it 6. However, their impressive victory might have come at a cost. Skipper, Harry Kane, was substituted in the 75th minute after taking a blow to his knee earlier in the game. He was seen limping afterwards and was absent from training on Wednesday. While the injury is not tournament-ending, he is expected to have a scan to reveal the full extent of the damage done, and it’ll be very risky to have him feature in the game against the United States. In his place, Callum Wilson could lead the attack. He looked lively when he came on for Harry Kane and unselfishly set Jack Grealish up for his goal. Coincidentally, the last time England faced USA (in 2018) the Three Lions scored 3 unanswered goals with Callum Wilson getting on the scoresheet – his first and only international goal. Phil Foden could also come in for Mason Mount in the starting lineup. Despite England’s dominance, the Chelsea man didn’t have the best of games and with a tougher test expected from the USMNT, Gareth Southgate might opt to make the switch to Foden.

England vs USA: Predicted lineup, injury news, Head-to-Head

The United States were less than 10 minutes away from claiming 3 pts before Nashville’s Walker Zimmerman gave away a penalty which Gareth Bale converted. Just like England, the Americans came away from their game with some injury concerns. Midfielders, Yunus Musah and Weston McKennie were both taken off while Sergino Dest – who was initially a doubt to start – was taken off as well. Having three key players absent against this England side is a big disadvantage that the Americans might not overcome, and it’ll be interesting to see if these players are risked by Head Coach, Gregg Berhalter.  USA and England have met on 11 occasions, with the Three Lions getting 8 wins to The Yank’s 2 while one ended in a draw. If the United States is to get their 3rd ever win against England on Thursday, they’ll have to fight harder than ever. 

Team Form

England: The Three Lions were on a poor form heading into this tournament, but the 6-2 win over Iran wiped away some fears. They’ll be looking to win their opening two games at the World Cup for a fourth time, having done so in 1982, 2006 and 2018.  Last 5 Games: DLLDW

USA: The Americans haven’t kept a clean sheet in any of their last 18 World Cup games against European countries (32 conceded) since a 1-0 win over England in 1950 – a result they’ll be more than happy to take.  Last 5 Games: WDLDD

Expected Line-Up

England: Pickford; Trippier, Stones, Maguire, Shaw; Rice, Bellingham, Foden; Saka, Wilson, Sterling

USA: Turner; Yedlin, Zimmerman, Ream, Robinson; Adams, Acosta, Aaronson; Weah, Wright, Pulisic

Predictions:

  • England to win @1.60
  • Over 2.5 goals @1.85

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