A surprisingly open and high scoring world cup so far with several of the big teams failing to win their first match. Will that trend continue in the second round of group stage matches?
Thursday 21st June
1pm France v Peru
France got off to a winning start, beating Australia 2-1 without looking tactically convincing for much of the match with Kante isolated at the base of midfield and without the focal point provided by Giroud in attack. There remain doubts as to how Deschamps gets the best of a talented group of names but that is unlikely to be too much concern until the knockout stages
Peru showed plenty of attacking intent against Denmark and missed a penalty before halftime and were only opened up on a few occasions, one of which led to the goal. A loss though means they are already up against it for qualification from the group
Outright prices hare are France 1-2, the draw 4/1 and Peru 13/2.I like over 2.5 goals here at 4/5 with Bet365
4pm Denmark v Australia
Denmark were quite disappointing for much of their opening game victory against Peru, indebted to one assist from an otherwise quiet Eriksen and a strong performance from Schmeichel to hold on for the win.
Australia looked a solid outfit against France but not easy to see where many goals are coming from in this side
Denmark are evens here to make it two wins from two I like the draw at 3/1 as a bet
7pm Argentina v Croatia
Missed penalty from Messi or not, it is clear that this is not quite Sampaoli’s Argentina team yet. Weaknesses in defence are evident and the insistent on trying to play through teams centrally, with service to Messi irregular, is a concern.
Croatia were rarely out of first gear in beating Nigeria to lead the group at this early stage. A very experienced side they will be confident of taking something from this game and the 11/10 about Argentina feels quite short. The draw at 5/2 is much more appealing.
Friday 22nd June
1pm Brazil v Costa Rica
Brazil looked comfortably for the first hour of their match against Switzerland only to be pegged back for a 1-1 draw. No dramas yet they will expect to win their next two games and top the group
Costa Rica showed plenty of attacking intent against Serbia but went down 1-0. Of course they face a very tough task here and are 20-1 to win and 6-1 to draw.
Brazil half time full time at 4/6 is a fair alternative to 1-4 outright with Ladbrokes
4pm Nigeria v Iceland
Nigeria were desperately disappointing in their opening defeat and it won’t get any easier against a resolute and committed Iceland side who will be very tough to break down
This feels like a tough game to predict and prices of Nigeria and Iceland 2/1 each of two reflect that. My modest preference is for the draw at 9/4.
7pm Serbia v Switzerland
Serbia look to have a strong side, although indebted to Kolarov’s excellent free-kick to get past Costa Rica 1-0 they are full of Premier League experience and young talent too. A dark horse to go deep in the tournament
Switerland will be full of confidence after holding Brazil and this is a key game. It could be a game where neither team will want to lose. Serbia with three points already and Switzerland have Costa Rica last
The draw at 2/1 looks reasonable