World Cup Round of 16 Review Quarter Final Preview

This year’s Russia World Cup has seen a number of big surprises in the tournament so far. That began in the final group game when Germany’s surprise defeat to South Korea, saw the Germans finish bottom of their Group and ensured that both Sweden and Mexico claimed the two places in the last 16.

16 teams made it into the Round of 16 and although there are still two matches left to play in this particular round (which both come later today as you will see below) we have already seen some incredible results as the shocks at the World Cup have just kept coming.

All odds are provided by bet365 and are correct as of 1pm BST on Tuesday 3rd July 2018.

FIFA World Cup 2018 – Round of 16

  • France 4 – 3 Argentina

A stunning game of football got the Round of 16 off to the best possible start with France eliminating Argentina in an incredible match. France led 1-0 only for Argentina to bounce back to lead 2-1 with goals either side of half time. Kylian Mbappe then grabbed two outstanding goals for France before Sergio Aguero’s late header pulled one back for Argentina.

  • Uruguay 2-1 Portugal

A superb performance by Uruguayan striking duo Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani (who netted both Uruguayan goals) was enough to send the South American’s into the quarterfinals at the expense of Portugal. In truth, Uruguay fully deserved the win as they looked the more dangerous and the better defensive outfit, keeping Cristiano Ronaldo in check and scoring two outstanding goals to earn a deserved victory.

  • Russia 1-1 Spain (Russia win 4-3 on penalties)

Despite near total dominance of possession, Spain failed to create enough opportunities to punish Russia and in the end it was the hosts who held on to record a famous win. The crucial moments of the game came on Spain’s third and fifth penalties, which were missed by Koke and Aspas, both saved by Russian keeper Igor Akinfeev ensuring that the hosts made it into the quarterfinals.

  • Croatia 1-1 Denmark (Croatia win 3-2 on penalties)

A game that saw its drama packed into both ends of the match with both goals coming in the opening four minutes of the game and then the drama came late on in injury time when Luka Modric saw his penalty saved by Kasper Schmeichel. The Danes probably felt after that they had the advantage in penalties but three Danish players saw their spot kicks saved by Subasic and Rakitic netted Croatia’s fifth penalty, which despite two misses, was enough to see them through.

  • Brazil 2-0 Mexico

Brazil comfortably progressed into the quarterfinals with a solid performance against a disappointing Mexico. The central Americans began brightly but faded after about 30 minutes of the game, allowing Brazil to take control and second half goals from Neymar and then a late Roberto Firmino strike were enough to take Brazil through.

  • Japan 2-3 Belgium

Another huge shock looked on the cards in this game as after a poor first half, Japan raced into a superb 2-0 lead over a hapless Belgium. However the introduction of Marouane Fellaini and Nacer Chadli changed the game for Belgium. Jan Vertonghen’s looping header gave them a lifeline and a few minutes later Fellaini headed home Hazard’s cross to level. The game went into injury time and from a Japanese corner, Belgium broke superbly and a clever dummy from Lukaku allowed Chadli to slot home in the 94th minute to claim a dramatic last gasp win.

These six results mean that we know the first three quarterfinal ties will be:

Confirmed World Cup Quarter Finals

  • Uruguay v France (Nizhny Novgorod)

Odds with bet365 Sport

  • Uruguay to win – 18/5
  • France to win – Evens
  • Draw after 90 minutes – 11/5

Tip – Draw after 90 minutes

France were very good against a poor Argentina side, but Uruguay are a different prospect altogether. They have been very consistent throughout the tournament, moreso than France, and they have genuine World Class talent in defence and attack that will cause any side problems. I can see France having a few issues against this team and I expect this game to be very tight and perhaps need extra time and penalties to decide the winner.

  • Brazil v Belgium (Kazan)

Odds with bet365 Sport

  • Brazil to win – 11/10
  • Belgium to win – 11/4
  • Draw after 90 minutes – 5/2

Tip – Belgium to win – 11/4

Have I gone crazy backing against Brazil at a World Cup Finals? Well perhaps I have but of the two teams in the tournament so far, I have been more impressed by Belgium. They weren’t at their best against Japan but the manner of their victory I think will inspire them here. If one team can match Brazil for pure talent and matchwinning ability in Russia this summer, it is Belgium and given the impetus they have, I think they’ll steal a shock win here.

  • Russia v Croatia (Sochi)

Odds with bet365 Sport

  • Russia to win – 29/10
  • Croatia to win – 5/4
  • Draw after 90 minutes – 21/10

Tip – Croatia to win – 5/4

Russia have had a remarkable run through to the quarterfinals and Croatia were distinctly average in their game with Denmark in the last round, but I feel they won’t play as badly again. Russia will defend deep and try to deny Croatia space but the pace of their wide players and the midfield duo of Modric and Rakitic I think will be key to unlocking the Russia back line and I think Croatia win this relatively comfortably.

And the final quarterfinal tie will be decided by the two second round games taking place today.

Round of 16 Games Today

Switzerland v Sweden (St Petersburg)

Odds with bet365 Sport

  • Sweden to win – 11/5
  • Switzerland to win – 17/10
  • Draw after 90 minutes – 19/10

Switzerland finished second in their group behind Brazil and in doing so, earned a shot at Sweden, who were the surprise winners of their group ahead of Mexico (and Germany). Both teams are very similar in many respects, very solid defensively but perhaps lacking that little sparkle in attack to trouble the very best teams.

However, neither team should be underestimated. Sweden only narrowly lost to Germany in a game that they should have had at least a draw from, while Switzerland drew with Brazil and beat Serbia to get this far

For me, this is a game that has all the hallmarks of being a match that requires extra time to settle it. I cannot see too many goals here as both sides attack is relatively weak compared to their defence and as such, I think this one may even require penalties to settle it.

If it does go to penalties, I think Sweden may just have a slight advantage but in reality, I feel this is as close to a 50/50 tie as we have had in this tournament as yet, which is why I feel the bet on the draw after 90 minutes is the sensible bet here.

Colombia v England (Okrytie, Moscow)

Odds with bet365 Sport

  • Colombia to win – 29/10
  • England to win – 6/5
  • Draw at 90 minutes – 11/5

Then on Tuesday night, England are back in action after finishing second in Group G behind Belgium and they will take on Colombia, who came through as the winners of Group H, despite losing their opening game of the tournament to Japan.

Colombia are sweating on the fitness of key midfielder James Rodriguez for this one, although all pointers seem to suggest he will be fit. England can welcome back Dele Alli after a slight thigh injury ruled him out of the games with Panama and Belgium. England will also reinstate many, if not all, of the eight players that were rested for the final group game with Belgium after qualification was assured following the 6-1 win over Panama.

While the bookies have England as the big favourites here, it would be wise not to underestimate their South American opponents. Colombia reached the quarterfinals last time out in Brazil 2014 (defeating Uruguay on the way) and alongside Rodriguez have another exciting trio of attackers in Cuadrado, Quintero and Radamel Falcao, not to mention the talented Carlos Bacca on the bench.

England though have the current World Cup leading goalscorer Harry Kane back to lead the line for this one and he will be keen to extend his lead at the top of the goalscoring charts, while hopefully firing England to victory.

The Three Lions have never lost to Colombia in their five previous meetings (winning three, drawing two) and their only other World Cup finals meeting in 1998 resulted in a 2-0 win for England. I’d happily take that same winning result in favour of Gareth Southgate’s team tonight.