Tuesday brings the last group-stage match for the United States. Do you feel the nervous energy yet? I have since the final whistle on Friday. Ultimately, the entire direction and growth of America’s national team rest on Tuesday’s result.
If the U.S. defeat Iran and advance to the Round of 16, it will largely vindicate Gregg Berhalter’s project. However, if Christian Pulisic and company cannot find the winner, it will lead to another national inquiry as to the state of U.S. soccer vis-a-vis the rest of the world.
Your nerves may only withstand so much. But as Volkwagon likes to remind us every commercial break, pressure makes diamonds. My wagers for tomorrow include one longer odds play on the U.S. match in search of a diamond as well as two other plays in the earlier matches.
Feel free to hop on the bandwagon with me or get in my mentions about how dumb my picks are. Either way, know your limits, enjoy yourself, and strap in for another day of exciting World Cup action.
Valencia continues his excellent goal-scoring form
Ecuador’s Enner Valencia bagged three goals in his first two matches. He joint leads all scorers along with Kylian Mbappé. The Fenerbahçe forward may be set up to add to his tally.
Senegal trails Ecuador on the table and can only advance with a win over Ecuador, assuming the Netherlands takes care of business against Qatar. Senegal’s strength is in the back, but the standings will require an offensive approach that may leave them stretched. This will open up lanes for Valencia on the counterattack.
- E. Valencia Anytime Scorer (+210) – 1 unit
Wales’ desperation leads to despair
Wales enter Tuesday knowing that without a win they will be sent packing. Contrary to their modus operandi of sitting back and hitting on the counter, Wales may be forced to push the envelope in search of a goal.
England will happily allow Wales’ fullbacks to creep forward. The vacated space can then be attacked by Raheem Sterling, Bukayo Saka, and others. With an England goal, it will force Wales to become even more desperate. It has the makings of a vicious cycle.
- Over 2.5 Goals (-105) – 1 unit
Calling my shot for the Yanks
I’m going to chase a longer odds wager here by betting on the correct scoreline.
Anyone who has watched the U.S. Men’s National Team during the Gregg Berhalter era will know well of the squad’s struggle to score goals, especially against a low block. I imagine that they will run into similar struggles early in the match.
However, if the U.S. finds its goal, it will force Iran to play with reckless abandon in search of an equalizer. It will open up counterattacks late for the United States. I am betting on a late added goal to ice the game and see the US march on to the knockout round.
- Correct Score 2-0 USA (+800) – 1 unit
As a bonus, I am adding quick picks for all matches each day.
- Ecuador v. Senegal – Draw (+200)
- Netherlands v. Qatar – Netherlands (-650)
- Wales v. England – England (-250)
- Iran v. USA – USA (-104)