2018 Russia World Cup Quarter Finals
With what has already been a breathtaking World Cup that has had everything, Tuesday saw England’s three lions finally overcome their penalty shootout hoodoo, but not before some tense nail biting moments and a wonderful one hand stop from Jordan Pickford to deny the Colombians.
It was then left to Eric Dier to slot home the winning penalty and send the hoardes of English fans into absolute rapture and delight. But now the real work starts for manager Southgate’s men as they take on Sweden in the quarter finals at the Samara Arena stadium on Saturday 7th July at 6pm.
Never before have we seen such play in a World Cup be so open and exciting, every team taking part has done it’s bit to make this a truly memorable tournament that will live long in the memory.
So we are down to the last 8 standing and in this article we are going to look at each match and give you some insights and analysis to see who will emerge victorious and move onto the semi finals which are being played on the 10th and 11th July.
Of course all the talk is on the football and it is interesting to look a little deeper into this World Cup to see what Russia has bought to the table and the stadiums they have set up.
One of the things that has stood out is the absolute quality of the playing surfaces. Even my daughter asked me while watching the Sweden vs Switzerland game……”Daddy, are they playing on one of those plastic pitches” such was the condition of the pitch.
Each of the stadiums being used in the quarter finals have a capcity of just over 40,000 with Russia’s match venue being the biggest at just under 45,000.
2018 FIFA World Cup Russia – Quarter Final Schedule
Uruguay vs France
Friday 6th July 2018 – 5.00pm (local time)
Nizhny Novgorod Stadium – Nizhny Novgorod
The Nizhny Novgorod Stadium was planned and built in one of the city’s most beautiful and picturesque locations, close to the Volga and Oka rivers, in the vicinity of the stunning Alexander Nevsky Cathedral.
Brazil vs Belgium
Friday 6th July 2018 – 9.00pm (local time)
Kazan Arena – Kazan
The Kazan Arena is not one of the new stadiums for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. It was built and used to host the opening and closing ceremonies for the World University Games in 2013. Once that event was completed, it was decided at that point to install a pitch that could host high level games in European tournaments and the first match played saw two giants of the Russian game (Rubin Kazan and Lokomotiv Moscow) play out a 1-1 draw.
Sweden vs England
Saturday 7th July 2018 – 6.00pm (local time)
Samara Arena – Samara
Samara Arena is in the Radiotsentr district. The stadium is surrounded by a residential development and good-quality infrastructure. Stadium construction officially started on 21 July 2014.
Russia vs Croatia
Saturday 7th July 2018 – 9.00pm (local time)
Fisht Stadium – Sochi
The Fisht Stadium was originally built as the main base (in Sochi) for the Winter Olympics in February 2014 where it hosted the main opening and closing ceremonies.The stadium has been redeveloped with heavy investment from the Russian government for this years 2018 FIFA World Cup™ and was re-opened during 2017, the opening coincided with the hosting of one of the major FIFA tournaments “The Confederations Cup”
2018 FIFA World Cup Russia – Match and Betting Analysis
Uruguay vs France
A match up between Suarez and Griezmann…..or is it. Uruguay have been very professional in the group stages having secured qualification to the knockout stages very easily, whereby there opponents with the likes of Griezemann, Pogba, Mbappe and others have endured a less than straightforward passage culminatiing in the 4-3 victory over Argentina.
Both Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez have scored goals during the tournament but it is the former with 3 goals who is the Uruguayan’s best chance of lifting the prize.
Cavani can be backed at 40/1 which looks a big price considering his overall scoring record.
Kylian Mbappe at 16/1 looked on fire against Argentina scoring a brace (2 goals) in that pulsating match. He has grown in stature since joining PSG in France and could well prove the best chance the French have got of scooping the Golden boot.
Antoine Griezmann looks way overpriced at 40/1 and although both his goals have come from the penalty spot, he is one player who could still score goals from open play, as his league record with Athletico Madrid tells us.
Brazil vs Belgium
Undoubtedly the match of the quarter finals with two teams playing very well. The Brazilian’s have been more Foxtrot than Salsa and we are still waiting for that sensational performance that is surely there, but will it come against the Belgians?
With the likes of Neymar, Coutihno and Willian they undoubtedly have match winners.
However, the Belgians have a huge range of talent and have been one of the most entertaining teams in the competition. The 3-2 win over the plucky Japanese showed not just class but tactical awareness. Chelsea’s Hazard has been playing out of his skin and backed up by the likes of De Bruyne, Lukaku and the impressive Dries Mertens look to be one of the favorites to lift the trophy outright.
Both Coutinho and Neymar have scored 2 goals so far this World Cup but it is the Liverpool playmaker who is the value in the betting market, with Bet365 going a HUGE 100/1.
A lot of Liverpool fans will be cheering on the three lions to win the tournament but we are sure their will be a few who would want to have a speculative bet on the Brazilian to end up top scorer.
Neymar has not been on top form so far which is reflected in his price to win the Golden Boot of 25/1
It’s the twp premier league players Hazard and Lukaku who lead the way with 2 and 4 goals respectively. The Chelsea playmaker was unlucky not to make it 3 goals when rattling the post against Japan and can still have a say in the outcome of the Golden Boot, as he would be the preferred penalty taker.
Lukaku is an unspectacular player but his record for club and country is there for all to see. He is an out and out goalscorer and it will be no surprise to see him score against the Brazilians and give Harry Kane a “run for his money” in the quest for the Golden Boot. At around the 12/1 mark he has to be the sensible value bet.
Hazard can be backed at a very juicy 125/1 with Paddy Power and Betfair
Sweden vs England
Both teams have past history and although England will fancy themselves to progress, they could find the Swedes a difficult side to break down, saying that we could still see goals.
England were unconvincing against Colombia and the same can be said for the Swedish team against Switzerland.
However, it is now time for both sides to raise their game and this could well be an entertaining affair in the second half when the stakes will be highest.
Sweden’s top goalscorer is tough tackling captain Andreas Granqvist and he has scored 2 goals (both from the penalty spot) odds of 1000/1 in places tell the story here and it would be a surprise if his World Cup journey was not finished come this weekend
Harry Kane leads the way with six goals already but it is pertinent to remind you that half of these have come from the penalty spot against weaker teams. He deserves to be a short price but is 4/11 any real value?
John Stones is the only other player with more than one goal for the three lions but it is inconceivable that he can get on the scoresheet again.
Sweden have to rank as one of the weakest teams left in and
Russia vs Croatia
Definitely has to rank as the tightest of the quarter final games to call and it may be that Denis Cheryshev can win it for the Russians. Has been in great form scoring 3 goals already and still in with a shout of the Golden Boot if they can negotiate their way past Croatia.
The Croatians are a very tight outfit and it will be interesting to see the tactics Russia employ against Luka Modric. Modric will be looking to atone for his penalty miss in the last match and it could come down to just one piece of individual brilliance from the Real madrid playmaker.
Russia have a real chance to reach the semi-finals and it is this that makes both Artem Dzyuba and Denis Cheryshev of major interest in this market with both possibly getting on the scoresheet against Croatia. We can expect this game to be hard fought and penalties are a real possibility.
This is where Dzyuba comes in and priced at 150/1 with Paddy Power could be worth an interest. Countryman Cheryshev is also available at the same price and backing both at small stakes could be a good strategy, especially on Betfair in the in-play market.
Real Madrid playmaker Luka Modric leads the way with 2 goals for the Croatians (one a penalty) and although he has the talent and skill to score more, the Russians will surely be keeping a close eye on him, and therefore he will have less opportunity. Modric can be backed at 150/1 on this market and that might reflect his chance.
World Cup Statistics
Total Goals 146
Average Goals per match 2.6
Total Yellow cards 189
Average Yellow Cards per match 3.4
Highest Scoring Team; Belgium 12
Most Attempts; Neymar 24
As we move to the latter stages we can expect the games to be much more tactical and although we have seen high scoring games, the average of 2.6 is interesting. Betting in the total goals markets on the four games could quite easily see 3 goals in each match and could be a bet for punters who fancy an accumulator across the four matches.
Although the Yellow cards are an average of 3.4 per game we could see this higher in these games and a bet on Total Cards either with the bookmaker or via a spread betting firm could provide some value.
Players that are on a yellow card already would possibly suffer missing the semi final to play in the final so this is one thing to note.
Many bookmakers are offering prices and on who will be the two finalists and a Brazil England final can be backed at 5/1.
If you think their might be an upset then Belgium/Russia looks an interesting play, and at 25/1 is not out of the question with Belgium playing so well and Russia having home advantage.
Enjoy the quarter finals.