The first four teams have fallen into place for the knockout stages and we will see Brazil v Chile and Holland v Mexico. I thought that games would be hard to predict and I was right, with teams having different priorities than just winning a game. The exact same problem arises in the game for Day 13 with teams like England out of the tournament and teams like Colombia and Costa Rica resting players because they are already qualified, so it shall be interesting.
The games for Day 13 are Costa Rica v England, Uruguay v Italy, Greece v Ivory Coast and Colombia v Japan.
Costa Rica-England Over 2.5 Goals and Both teams to score 6/5
This game is almost impossible to predict, we know that England are making 9 changes from the team which played the last game and are essentially putting out the reserves and it is a decent guess to assume that Costa Rica will rest their key players because they have already qualified, the problem is who is going to be better? You would imagine England’s second team will be better than Costa Rica’s but then you would also imagine that Costa Rica would be sitting on 0 points currently. With that in mind and because I feel this game could go either way the best bet is to bet neither team and rather bet the game. I’d expect it to be open because why the fuck would either team defend? Exactly. If you are wanting to bet a team, then all the value if found with Costa Rica who sit at 16/5 even though they play England reserves and have won their last game whilst England’s first team have lost both of theirs…go figure…
It is a really open game, it is easy to see any of the three outcomes being the result, however I think that Italy are slightly the better side. The reasons for that are simple Italy do two things very well, control the game and defend. Uruguay on the other hand do neither of those things well and are heavily reliant on Suarez and Cavani to pull them through games. Uruguay need the win as a draw won’t be enough so I see Italy allowing them to have the ball and hitting them on the counter and once they have that lead controlling the game in a way that only Italians can.
Greece to Qualify 4/1
Greece to win the game is 14/5 but to qualify they are 4/1…the bookies realise that this doesn’t add up because the only way they qualify is if they win? Clearly not, clearly the bookies think that Japan’s chances of beating Colombia are enough to knock a point of their price. This is maybe a controversial choice because you would think that Ivory Coast are a shoe in but I really like Greece for this, they are due a goal (only score once in past eight World Cup games) and if there is one team who can gold a 1-0 lead it is Greece. Ivory Coast have been very poor so far in my opinion and they don’t match up well against Greece, both teams are powerhouses and Greece are much better defensively, in contrast Ivory Coast can’t defend and therefore I don’t think will win.
As an interesting side note my tip of Greece to be the lowest scoring team pre-tournament is looking pretty good as they are in a dead heat with Iran for the lowest scorers (both haven’t scored yet).
I’m sure Colombia will win this match because Japan have looked very lightweight at this World Cup; the only question is by how many? Colombia are almost certain to put out a weakened team with top spot all but guaranteed, but should still be good enough to beat Japan. Without knowing the team I can’t say whether or not I’d go with Colombia -1 which is a nice price at 5/2, but it is worth a look unless they make severe changes.
Italy to win group 8/1
This one is a bit out there; it is asking Italy to win by two and Costa Rica to lose by two or essentially a four goal swing. Is it totally beyond the realms of possibility that England run rampant against a weakened Costa Rica and Italy just do enough against Uruguay? The answer is no, I think it’s worth a punt.
Should be another interesting day with three really good games and one which is fairly meaningless (yet somehow is still being shown on ITV1…you’re out accept it give us Italy Uruguay!). If you are a Dutch fan you will be wetting your pants at the prospect of Costa Rica winning Group D because they will likely play one of Ivory Coast, Greece or Japan which means that if the Dutch beat Mexico in the last 16 (highly likely) they will face the winner of that match, which would be a rather generous quarter final opponent. The Dutch have a clear run to the semis if Costa Rica win Group D and they also all of a sudden become incredibly serious contenders.