World Cup Round-Up: 14/06/18 – 16/06/18

World Cup Round-Up: 14/06/18 – 16/06/18

World Cup Round-Up: 14/06/18 – 16/06/18

In this weeks World Cup round-up, we’ve selected three of the standout upcoming fixtures to discuss and offered our suggestions on what would be the best possible thing to bet on in these games. Have a read below to see our predictions!

Russia v Saudi Arabia – 14/06/18 (Group A)

Russia

The World Cup’s curtain raiser takes place this Thursday as host nation Russia face minnows Saudi Arabia in Group A. Due to the World Cup being played in their country, Russia were exempt from qualifying for the tournament, instead going into competition automatically. It’s just as well that they didn’t have to qualify either, as if they did they’d have probably missed out on a space due to their torrid form. With just one win in their previous eight friendly matches, Stanislav Cherchesov’s side are one of the most out of form teams going into the tournament.

Russia’s most recent fixture against Turkey ended in a 1-1 draw 10 days ago, which ended a three match losing streak after they slumped to defeats against Brazil, France and Austria previously. Placed in arguably the weakest group in the whole competition, alongside Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Uruguay, Russia do have a fairly good chance of qualifying to the knockout stages. However, if they are to do this then a strong performance against Saudi Arabia in front of the rest of the world that will be avidly watching on is absolutely vital here.

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia’s chances of making it past the group stages of this years World Cup are extremely slim; they don’t have a squad packed full of recognisable names, nor do they possess a great record at major international tournaments. What they do have at their disposal however, is one of the most in-form strikers heading to Russia. 31-year-old front man Mohammad Al-Sahlawi, who plays for Al-Nassar of the Saudi Arabian Premier League is a proven goalscorer that will be keen to prove his worth on the international main stage this summer.

Al-Sahlawi has netted 102 goals in 174 appearances for Al-Nassar since his debut back in 2009, with 10 of those goals coming in his 19 appearances for the club this season. For his country, the prolific striker has scored 28 goals in 40 appearances, with 16 of those goals coming in Saudi Arabia’s successful AFC qualifying campaign. He was the top goalscorer in the AFC Qualifiers so heads to Russia full of confidence, but will he be enough to carry his side past the group stages?

Recommended Bets:

Full-time draw (3/1 with Ladbrokes) – BET HERE

Mohammad Al-Sahlawi to score anytime (10/3 with Ladbrokes) – BET HERE

Portugal v Spain – 15/06/18 (Group B)

Portugal

Euro 2016 winners Portugal take on Spain in their first group game this Friday. Both sides possess some fantastic quality within their respective squads, however it will be the Spaniards who head into this match-up as heavy favourites. One man who needs no introducing here is of course Cristiano Ronaldo; the Real Madrid forward carries such a huge threat every time he steps onto the pitch for club and country and was the main reason Portugal won Euro 2016 two years ago, scoring three and assisting three goals in their build-up to the final.

Fernando Santos’ men head into this years competition on the back of a strong qualifying campaign, where they lost just one of their 10 games and finished top of Group B ahead of Switzerland, Hungary, the Faroe Islands, Latvia & Andorra. After Spain, Portugal are definitely the strongest side in the group so will feel confident in their chances of qualification. They’ll want to finish as group winners as opposed to runners-up however, to avoid drawing a stronger team in the first round of the knockout stages at the end of June so if they’re going to do this then a win over Spain in this clash is hugely important.

Spain

Spain are one of the favourites to go the distance and win the World Cup in Russia, and it’s clear to see why. Julen Lopetegui’s men have some fantastic quality within their team, including the likes of Real Madrid playmaker Isco, Manchester City midfielder David Silva, Atletico Madrid front man Diego Costa and Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea. With a side as strong as theres, Spain are expected to win Group B with relative ease, which would in turn set up an appealing tie with whoever finishes as runners-up in Group A (likely Egypt).

Spain will go into this Friday’s opening clash in strong form: they haven’t lost a match since bowing out to Italy 2-0 all the way back at Euro 2016 and recently thrashed Argentina 6-1 in March’s international friendly at the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano. With both teams carrying some strong attacking prowess in this match, we should be in for a treat here. Both teams to score seems as though it would be a safe shout, while overlooking Cristiano Ronaldo to bag his first goal of the competition would perhaps be a foolish move considering how well he performs for his country at major international tournaments.

Recommended Bets:

BTTS (21/20 with Ladbrokes) – BET HERE

Cristiano Ronaldo to score first (4/1 with Ladbrokes) – BET HERE

France v Australia – 16/06/18 (Group C)

France

France kick off their World Cup campaign with a tie against Bert van Marwijk’s Australia. ‘Les Blues’ are another team tipped to win this years competition in Russia; they came close to clinching the European Championships back in 2016, but fell at the last hurdle when they lost 1-0 to Portugal in extra-time at the Stade de France. Didier Deschamps will be hoping that his side can avenge the heartbreak they suffered two years ago by going the distance in Russia, and it looks as though it will be a more than likely possibility after they aced their qualifying group, finishing as clear winners ahead of second placed Sweden by four points.

Since their qualifying campaign came to an end in October, France have gone on to comfortably beat Russia, the Republic of Ireland & Italy in friendly matches but couldn’t break the deadlock on Saturday evening when they were held 1-1 by a youthful USA side at the Groupama Stadium in Lyon. With players like Euro 2016 Golden Boot winner Antoine Griezmann, Thomas Lemar, Kylian Mbappe and Ousmane Dembele all at their his disposal in Russia, manager Didier Deschamps has a frightening amount of attacking talent to choose at this summers prestigious tournament. They shouldn’t have any problems overcoming Australia here and subsequently winning Group C, but will they have enough about them to lift the trophy next month? Only time will tell..

Australia

Australia have it all to do in Russia as they attempt to make it out of an extremely tough group containing France, Denmark and Peru. After finishing their AFC qualifying campaign in third place, behind Japan and Saudi Arabia ‘The Socceroos’ made it through to the World Cup after beating both Syria and Honduras in two challenging two-legged play-off fixtures at the end of last year. They’ll now turn their focus to qualifying past the group stages at the end of the month, but know just how difficult that is going to be considering how strong their group is. A strong start against the French here will be vital for their confidence going into their second game against Denmark on June 21st, and after back-to-back wins over the Czech Republic and most recently Hungary on Saturday they do carry some momentum into this Saturday’s clash with Les Blues.

With 11 goals in 15 games throughout qualification, Socceroos legend Tim Cahill will be one of Australia’s biggest attacking threats in Russia. He may be coming to the very end of his career now, but the 38-year-old still offers a great deal in that final third; Cahill is still quality in the air and will never lose his ability to finish inside the 6 yard box. Although it’s expected that the former Everton striker will be used sporadically at the World Cup, mainly coming off the bench in the latter stages of games against tired defenders, he’ll still offer something different for Australia. Elsewhere, Huddersfield’s Aaron Mooy and Aston Villa’s Miles Jedinak are two players of real quality in Australia’s midfield, and they’ll be relied upon heavily in this fixture to keep out the likes of Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante in the middle of an incredibly powerful French line-up.

Recommended Bets:

France Half-time/Full-time (5/6 with Ladbrokes) – BET HERE

Antoine Griezmann to score first (3/1 with Ladbrokes) – BET HERE