A tremendous World Cup, full of drama and excitement, has reached the quarter-final stage. The first two are previewed here, featuring Brazil, Colombia, France and Germany
France v Germany, Rio De Janiero 5pm
Still, the Germans have looked less than impressive in their last three matches. France got off to a great start in the World Cup, cruising through their group, and beat Nigeria cosily enough in a Round of 16 where many fancied favourites struggled past dogged opponents, and this included Germany who beat Algeria 2-1 in extra-time .
Mats Hummels, who missed the Algeria match due to illness should be available and this is very important as without him the German back four looks a bit ponderous whilst for France Karim Benzema may be supported by Antoine Griezmann rather than Olivier Giroud up front
A key match up will be Thomas Muller against the outstanding French defender Rafael Varane, who has looked untroubled all tournament but will face his biggest challenge against the clever Muller with his movement and intelligence
This match looks very close to me, pretty much a “pick-em”. Wouldn’t be surprised to see extra-time and on value grounds an outright market of Germany 6/4, France 9/4, Draw 23/10 draws me towards the underdog. Because i think this may well be a 90 minute plus game, France 5/4 to qualify with Bet365 is where i will be looking
Brazil v Colombia 9pm Fortaleza
The hosts have hitherto been disappointing compared to expectations, with only a combination of woodwork and good goalkeeping seeing them through a tense penalty shootout with Chile in the last round.
Colombia, meanwhile, have arguably been the form side of the tournament led by current golden boot leader James Rodriguez ably assisted by Juan Cuadrado and swept aside Uruguay in last 16 as they did to their three previous opponents in the competition.
This therefore could be an extremely tight contest and given what we have seen so far Brazil are unlikely to have things their own way.
Brazil undoubtedly have one of the stars of the event in Neymar but doubts surround the rest of the line up after the Chile game. The question is do they have another gear, which they will need, to beat the dangerous Colombians? Colombia have conceded two goals all tournament but this will be a test at another level, particularly for 38 year old Mario Yepes at centre back. owever Neymar apart, there doesn’t look to be a lot to trouble him in the likes of Hulk and Fred, while Oscar has faded after a strong opening game
The game is priced with Brazil odds-on favourites, so it suggests the market assumes that Brazil will improve. Brazil also have a terrific record at home, and against Colombia. I could argue though that this is the worst Brazil team for many years, and the Clombian team is simply better. To see Colombia at 19/5 outright and 2/1 to qualify Bet365 certainly gets me inclined to get the betting boots on, with the “to qualify” bet recommended