Groups E to H Match Two Preview : After Beating Germany Much Is Expected Of Mexico Against South Korea
Event Venue: Russia, Various kick-off times. Live on ITV and BBC.See Stats
Brazil v Costa Rica
Brazil played well early in their first match against Switzerland and Philippe Coutinho scored an exceptional goal. However, they did not press home their advantage and could not put the match to bed. A questionable decision went against Brazil when the referee did not call for assistance from VAR. Switzerland equalised early in the second half but Brazil were not able to score again so had to settle for a point. Costa Rica were second best against Serbia in their first match and lost by the only goal which came from a wonderful free-kick. That meant Costa Rica did not concede in open play but couldn’t find a goal to force a draw. In Keylor Navas they have one of the best goalkeepers in the world but they are missing a reliable striker to score the goals. The squad is short of the required standard to prevent a win for Brazil who can be backed at 17/10 with William Hill to win by more than one goal.
Serbia v Switzerland
Serbia created several openings in their first match against Costa Rica but it took a brilliant free-kick to create the winning goal. However, Serbia were good value for a bigger margin of victory as they combined a solid and reliable midfield with some quality up front. Another three points from this match would be enough for Serbia to get out of the group but Switzerland are good enough to earn another point. They were not outclassed by Brazil in their first match and deserved the point. Switzerland are in more need of three points so they will have to force the pace. Serbia are strong in midfield and have a battering ram with some skill leading the attack. Injuries have reduced their options in defence but Serbia can avoid defeat so a draw is the most likely outcome of this match and that can be backed at 2/1 with Coral.
South Korea v Mexico
Mexico were excellent in beating Germany, especially in the first half. They were good enough for more than a goal lead and Germany could not break them down after the break. Mexico have now played in theory their hardest match at the group stage and are now in good shape to earn maximum points from their first three matches. They played with pace on the break against Germany but should have an easier test against South Korea. That side deserved a point against Sweden in their first match but lost it by the only goal. South Korea look vulnerable in defence and have come to the World Cup with key absentees due to injury. Despite a defence that can lose its shape Mexico are calm in midfield possession and can create enough chances against Korea to win the match by at least one goal and you can back that result at 2/1 with Ladbrokes.
Germany v Sweden
After losing to Mexico in their first match Germany need to beat Sweden. A draw would not mean elimination after two matches but another defeat and Germany could be out of the tournament after two matches. German’s commitment and desire was lacking against Mexico and there have been rumours of disharmony in the camp. There are some absentees from the squad due to retirement, injury and form that was not good enough to warrant selection. Only Italy and Brazil have won two World Cups in succession and the holders look in poor shape. Sweden are nothing special but they do have shape and organisation. The Swedes have the work ethic to defend as a team if they are protecting a lead. Germany are strong up front but the squad lacks leadership. A opening goal for Sweden could suffice for a 1-0 final score and that outcome is 22/1 with Unibet.
Belgium v Tunisia
Belgium toiled a bit in their first match in Group G but eventually came away with a 3-0 win over Panama thanks to Dries Mertens calming the nerves with a delicious opening goal. Tunisia, of course, toiled away with some extremely negative tactics to ultimately lose 2-1 to England. They showed next to no ambition going forward and no quality in attack, they were also cut open relatively easily and their only discernible skill was looking okay in playing it out from the back. Tunisia have to get something from this to have any chance of progression to the next stage so will have to attempt some kind of attacking. This will probably not work out very well for them. Belgium are a far superior side and with three points in the bank they will calmly pick off the north African side and stroll away with a comfortable win. Belgium have an excellent defence, Tunisia have a dreadful attack and the Belgians look good value to win to nil at EVENS with Ladbrokes.
England v Panama
It was hard to know what to think after England’s opening game which saw them beat Tunisia 2-1 thanks to a late Harry Kane winner. In spells they looked superb and they looked untroubled for the vast majority of the match, but still, it took a last-gasp winner from their captain to seal the three points. It was much clearer to see what Panama were about in their 3-0 defeat to Belgium. Resolute and organised in defence, until they were breached, and then crumbling away to a heavy loss. If England start as they did against Tunisia and actually put a chance in the back of the net then this should be a comfortable win for Gareth Southgate’s side. We can expect Harry Kane to get on the scoresheet, but the odds are dreadful so we should look to the next most likely scorer – Jesse Lingard. The Manchester United man came unbelievably close to netting against Tunisia and he looks great value at 13/10 with William Hill to score against the below-par Panamanians.
Senegal v Japan
Both these teams pulled off surprise results in their first matches, with Senegal comfortably seeing off Poland 2-0 and Japan beating Colombia 2-1, which was one of the biggest shocks of the first round of games. Japan were handed a slice of luck with the very early red card for Colombia, but they were impressive from there on in and picked up the huge victory. However, Senegal look to be a level above the Japanese here in both physicality and skill and the African side are rightfully favourites to win this one. With Sadio Mane to call upon, Senegal have the X Factor that Japan simply do not have in their ranks and the pace, power and skill of the Senegalese makes them tremendous value at 5/4 with Coral to win this one.
Poland v Colombia
Neither team expected to be coming into this match knowing that defeat would put them out of the tournament, but that is what faces both sides on Sunday. Poland opened up with defeat to Senegal, whilst Colombia were seen off by Japan and now both sides really need a win to keep their hopes alive. A draw would not mean their tournament is over, but both teams would be very precariously placed if they only picked up a point each. With this in mind, both outfits are going to be inclined to attack one another, especially as their strong suits are their forwards, when they are playing well. Falcao and Rodriguez for the Colombians should be fully unleashed, whilst the Poles need to utilise Robert Lewandowski much better than they did in their first match. Both managers know they have to go out and win this, therefore goals will be scored and over 2.5 looks good value at 21/20 with Bet Bright.
- The eight matches in the first phase featured 16 goals.
- There was only one draw and seven definite outcomes.
- Five of the seven winning teams did not concede a goal.
- Both teams scored in three of the fixtures.
- There were more than two goals in three of the eight matches.
- No team scored more than one goal in Groups E and F.
- The highest scoring team were Belgium with three goals.
- Five of the competing nations did not score a goal.
- Group F was the lowest scoring group in the first phase.
- The second lowest number of goals were scored in Group E.
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