World Cup KnockOut Stages Bet Tips & Previews
World Cup Day 17: Previews and Betting Tips
The World Kup knockout fixtures have, so far, lived up to expectations just like the group stage did.
With Argentina, Netherlands, France, and England already through to the quarterfinals, will favorites, Brazil and Croatia qualify as expected, or will the underdogs finally have their day?
Read on to find out!
Japan v Croatia
“We must fight like Samurai if we are to beat Croatia. Before they go into battle, they (Samurai) polish their weapons and try to improve their techniques. But if they are scared during battle, they would not be able to use those weapons and techniques fully.
It’s exactly the same with football. Of course, the tactics and techniques are important, but no matter how much we have improved those, if we are scared when we are on the field, those things are useless.” These were the words of Japan’s Yuto Nagatomo ahead of their Round of 16 tie against Croatia on Monday as they aim to win a knock-out game at the FIFA World Cup for the 1st time in 4 tries after failures in 2002, 2010 and 2018.
The Asian side have stunned the world by topping Group E ahead of European giants Spain and Germany. The most impressive thing about them is how they’ve approached each game on their own terms, which, so far, has worked. They have averaged only 32% possession in their three group games and in their two wins over Spain and Germany, they had 18% and 26% possession, respectively. Without a doubt, when they face Croatia, they’ll be very conservative in their approach, especially in the early stages.
One more thing the Croatians will need to be wary of is Japan’s impactful substitutions. 3 of their 4 goals in this World Cup have come from the bench, which speaks to Head Coach Hajime Moriyasu’s ability to perfectly read the game and identify exactly what needs to change for his side. Also, these two teams have combined for 3 wins in this world cup with all 3 wins coming from behind, a testament to the resilience they share.
Croatia will go into this game full of confidence given their impressive history in the knock-out stages of the FIFA World Cup. This will be their 3rd time making it out of the group and on the two previous occasions, they finished in third place (1998) and as runners-up (2018). While their brilliance in recent years has been down to their superb midfield led by 2018 Ballon d’Or winner, Luka Modrić, this team seems to be heavily dependent on their defense which has kept two clean sheets and conceded just one goal all tournament. At the heart of this defense is 20-year-old center-back, Joško Gvardiol who has arguably been the team’s best player. His defensive nous has already earned the RB Leipzig man links to English Premier League side, Chelsea as well as the reigning Champions League winners, Real Madrid.
Japan: The Samurai Blue are yet to keep a clean sheet and have conceded first in all 3 games. While their fans might not care about this – and understandably so given their remarkable achievement of topping a tough group – it may be a slight concern for Head Coach Hajime Moriyasu, who’ll be coming up against a defense as stingy as Croatia’s. World Cup Form: W-L-W
Croatia: The Vatreni’s attack may have exploded against an inexperienced Canadian side, but their inability to find the back of the net against Morocco and Belgium is a worry. Still, they’re unbeaten in Qatar and their 2 losses in 8 World Cup knock-out games is an indication that they’re a side that historically gets better as they progress through the tournament. World Cup Form: D-W-D
Japan: Defender Ko Itakura is suspended, so Takehiro Tomiyasu is in line to take his place. The Arsenal man had battled a hamstring injury earlier in this tournament but seems to have finally overcome it. Takefusa Kubo missed Saturday’s training due to a muscular problem, while Hiroki Sakai is still troubled by the thigh injury.
Expected Line-Up: Gonda; Tomiyasu, Taniguchi, Yoshida; Ito; Morita, Tanaka, Nagatomo; Doan, Maeda, Kamada.
Croatia: Croatia boss, Zlatko Dalic made just one change to his starting line up in the entirety of the group stage and barring a late injury, he’s expected to stick to his preferred starters. Expected Line-Up: Livakovic; Juranovic, Lovren, Gvardiol, Sosa; Kovacic, Brozovic, Modric; Kramaric, Livaja, Perisic
- Bet on Croatia to Qualify @1.50
- Bet on Over 1.5 total goals @1.40
- Bet on Match flow: Croatia to score first and Croatia to win @2.37
- Croatia or Japan to win from behind @19.50
Brazil v South Korea
The Brazilians have had a decent showing at the World Cup given the circumstances. They’ve been rocked by injuries, most notably to their star player, Neymar, but they still won their group despite a late loss to Cameroon.
The most impressive part of their game play has been their defensive unit. In their opening two games, they kept two clean sheets, but also didn’t give up a shot on target. The one flaw in their play, however, has been their inability to find the back of the net. Despite Richarlison’s brace in the opening game, their wastefulness in front of goal has left a lot to be desired. They’ve had 57 shots in their 3 games so far but have only managed to score 3 times – a measly 5.3% success rate. With Neymar set to start on Monday, they’ll be hoping for a change in their fortunes in front of goal.
For the Koreans, this will be the eighth meeting between them and Brazil, but the first competitive meeting. Brazil have won six of the previous seven matches (L1), most recently a 5-1 victory in June with Richarlison, Neymar (x2), Coutinho and Gabriel Jesus all getting on the scoresheet.
Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Hwang Hee-Chan was the hero for them when they faced Portugal as his 92nd minute winning goal – provided by a perfectly timed Son Heung-min pass – helped them seal qualification ahead of Uruguay and Ghana. With both specialist left backs in the squad, Alex Sandro & Alex Telles, out injured, Danilo might be moved to left-back, while Eder Militao fills in at right-back.
Either would be a mismatch for Son Heung-min. Expect to see the Spurs’ forward switch wings regularly as he tries to identify which of the two stand-ins he can more easily exploit.
Brazil: The Samba Boys will be looking to bounce back with a win here after their 9-game winning streak was snapped by Cameroon. Historically, they’ve fared well in the Round of 16. They’ve won each of their last 7 games, with their last loss coming against Diego Maradona’s Argentina in 1990. World Cup Form: W-W-L
South Korea: This will be South Korea’s first World Cup knockout match since 2010, when they were beaten by Uruguay in the last 16. After a goalless draw in their opening game, they’ve scored 2-goals in each of their next two games, which is a positive for Head Coach, Paulo Bento. World Cup Form: D-L-W
Brazil: The busiest person in Brazil’s camp over in Qatar has been the team doctor. Neymar sat out the last two games due to an ankle injury and just as he recovered, Alex Sandro has been diagnosed with a hip injury while Alex Telles and Gabriel Jesus have both been ruled out for the rest of the tournament.
Expected Line-Up: Alisson; Militao, Marquinhos, Silva, Danilo; Paqueta, Casemiro, Neymar; Raphinha, Richarlison, Vinicius Jr.
South Korea: Kim Min-Jae missed the last game due to a calf problem and is still a doubt to start this game but Lee Kang-in and Kim Young-Gwon, both of whom were taken off against Portugal due to injuries, would likely return due to the importance of this tie despite not being 100%. Expected Line-Up: Seung-gyu; Moon-hwan, Kyung-won, Young-gwon, Jin-su; In-beom, Woo-young; Hee-chan, Kang-in, Heung-min; Gue-sung.
- Bet on under 3.5 Total Goals @1.42
- Bet on Brazil to win @1.29
- Bet on Brazil to keep a Clean Sheet @1.69
/ 10 months ago
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