Sunday delivered an all-time bad beat for us. A meaningless penalty in the dying embers snatched away a perfect day. We won’t let the Robert Lewandowski goal keep us down as we still netted a profit on the day and have Monday’s World Cup betting action to fuel us further.
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.
Not yet midnight for Cinderella
Japan delivered a wild ride in the group stage. Wins over perennial powers Germany and Spain bookended a shocking defeat to Costa Rica. The victory over Spain was even more surprising given the circumstances. Japan finished with just 17% possession – the lowest total for a winning side in World Cup history. Frankly, I have never heard of any team in club or cup soccer winning despite having so little of the ball. It highlights how dangerous Japan can be on the counterattack.
Croatia’s group stage featured a 4-1 win over Canada sandwiched between a pair of scoreless draws against Morocco and Belgium. The Checkered Ones should count their lucky stars to have advanced out of the group. The Red Devils amassed 3.0 xG but never found the back of the net. 99 times out of 100, Croatia loses that match. Outside of punishing Canada for a rather naive approach, Croatia simply never impressed in the group stage.
Croatia may be a defending World Cup finalist, but this is not one of the top-tier footballing nations. They have crashed out at the group stage more often than making a deep run.
Japan will concede possession to Luka Modric and Croatia and proceed to blitz them with lightning-quick counters. The Samurai Blue’s Cinderella run through this World Cup will continue. I don’t need anything special here, just Japan straight up.
- Japan Win (+290)
A third goal for Brazil
This is going to sound a little harsh, but I thought South Korea was the most unimpressive team to qualify for the knockout round. They played the schedule as it came to them, however, there is little doubt that they benefited immensely from a Portugal side that had already punched their ticket. Son Heung-min is unquestionably a world-class player, but the Koreans seem to suffer from the same malaise as the USMNT. Once in the final third, there are few ideas other than hopeful crosses and watching Son try to dance through multiple defenders.
In South Korea’s defense, they have had no issue creating goals in this manner. But the challenge that Brazil will pose is an entirely different animal.
Brazil has scored just three times in three matches at this World Cup. For as dominant as A Seleção has seemed, the scoreline has reflected it. To be fair (insert Letterkenny quote here), the last match featured a heavily rotated lineup. However, the lack of chance creation was a problem in the first two matches as well. Brazil produced 3.4 xG combined against Serbia and Switzerland.
Neymar is set to return after missing a week due to an ankle injury. His presence should soak up attention granting space for Richarlison in the box, just like in the first match. The books have this priced as a 2-0 win for Brazil. Despite Brazil’s slow offensive start, I think they will awake after sleepwalking through the group stage.
- Total Goals Over 2.5 + Richarlison Anytime Goal Scorer (+190)