After a thrilling round of 16, the World Cup really heats up with the quarter-final stage upon us.
Some of the biggest names in football face off in Friday’s fixtures and with a real possibility of winning the World Cup from this point onwards, all teams will fancy their chances.
Uruguay v France
Uruguay have looked fantastic as the World Cup has progressed, defending stoically and letting their star forward line win games for them. However, Edinson Cavani, whose two goals saw off Portugal in the last round, is unlikely to start due to injury, placing plenty of responsibility on Luis Suarez’s shoulders.
France played in arguably the game of the tournament so far in the last round, with a storming second-half comeback eliminating Argentina 4-3. Kylian Mbappe in particular shone in that game, with two goals.
Despite France having one of the most exciting attacks in world football, I think Uruguay’s defence, especially the two centre backs, will be too difficult to break down and I fancy a Uruguay win and under 2.5 goals at 13/2.
I also think Luis Suarez to score anytime at 9/4, is excellent value as he will be their main attacking outlet in Cavani’s absence.
Brazil v Belgium
Arguably two of the most talented teams in the competition, Brazil and Belgium lock horn’s in Kazan. Both are littered with stars all over the pitch, this should be a great game for the neutral.
Brazil overcame a stubborn Mexico team in the round of 16 without every really moving out of second gear, with Neymar putting in another polarising display. Yet to face a team firing on all cyclinders, Brazil will have to find their rhythm early against a good Belgium side.
The Belgians completed one of the great World Cup comebacks, and avoided national disgrace, by beating Japan 3-2 after being 2-0 down early in the second half. A last minute Nacer Chadli goal led to elation, but they will have to improve against Brazil.
Both teams have defensive questions to be answered, and it is very easy to imagine both teams will carve plenty of opportunities out for their menacing forward lines. Brazil to win and both teams to score at 10/3 offers very good value.
Marouane Fellaini has caused plenty of carnage at set pieces in his cameos off the bench and scored in the comeback against Japan. An absolute nuisance against smaller defenders, Fellaini to score the last goal is 14/1, which I think is a real possibility with his aerial dominance against tired defenders.
With both teams being much keener to attack than defend, I can see this being a real goal-fest. Over 3.5 goals at 5/2 looks very attractive, with a number of players capable of catching fire.