World Cup Round-Up: 20/06/18 – 21/06/18

World Cup Round-Up: 20/06/18 – 21/06/18

Iran v Spain (Group B) – 20/06/18

Iran

Iran managed a surprising 1-0 win in their opening group game last week when Morocco defender Aziz Bouhaddouz turned the ball into his own net in the last minute of the game. That victory now means that Carlos Queiroz’s men sit top of the pile in Group B heading into this Wednesday’s game against Spain, who found themselves held 3-3 by Portugal in their opening clash last week. One of the lowest ranked sides competing in this years World Cup, it’s highly unlikely that Iran will be able to contain an extremely strong Spanish side in this one.

Iran were underwhelming in their dual with Morocco, and only won that game thanks to a lucky own goal in the last minute so will be completely undone here if they don’t up their game. Defensively, Iran have been solid in their previous four matches in all competitions, conceding just one goal. Those matches were against significantly weaker teams though, so we’re not holding much hope for them continuing with this form here.

Spain

Spain were unlucky not to come away with a win in their opening group game against Portugal last week, as a sublime Cristiano Ronaldo free kick ensured the points were shared at the Olimpiyskiy Stadion Fisht. In what was so far the tournaments most entertaining game, Spain showed some fantastic quality throughout the match, with right-back Nacho’s stunning strike in the second half the standout effort for Fernando Hierro’s new side.

As one of the favourites to go the distance and win this years World Cup, Spain desperately need to get their first win on the board to build up some confidence ahead of the knockout stages. They won’t want to finish as group runners-up as it will mean facing a tougher side in the ‘Round of 16’ stage so will be going all out to stamp their authority on the competition with a dominant performance against minnows Iran. Diego Costa bagged a brace in a superb all round performance against Portugal so will carry some great momentum into this clash, backing him to open the scoring in this one could be a safe bet here!

Recommended Bets:

Diego Costa to score first (5/2 with Coral) – BET HERE

Correct score: 3-0 Spain (5/1 with Ladbrokes) – BET HERE

France v Peru (Group C) – 21/06/18

France

France edged past Australia in their opening group game on Saturday. Antione Griezmann put Les Blues a goal up just before the hour mark when he converted a dubious penalty past Brighton stopper Mat Ryan. That lead lasted all of four minutes however, as Australia were awarded their own spot kick following a bizarre Samuel Umtiti handball. Aston Villa midfielder Mile Jedinak made no mistake in levelling things from 12 yards with 30 minutes left on the clock. The game looked as though it was heading for a draw until Paul Pogba burst through the Socceroos back line and forced a hugely unlucky own goal from Australia defender Aziz Behich.

Didier Deschamps won’t have been entirely convinced by his teams performance in that match however; he fielded an extremely strong side and they looked second best for large parts of that game, rarely penetrating the Australia defence or offering much going forward. Peru will be a very different team to Australia, they’re a much smaller outfit with quicker players who look to get in behind the back line and cause problems from the wide areas. With no members of Peru’s defence over 6ft tall, it would perhaps make sense to start Olivier Giroud as the lone striker and play Griezmann a bit wider so he can take on the full-backs and whip crosses in for the Chelsea target man to latch on to. If they can do this, they’ll be far too strong for the South American’s to handle.

Peru

Peru find themselves rock-bottom of Group C after their 1-0 defeat to Denmark on Saturday evening. The South American side put together some good passages of play at the Mordovia Arena but ultimately fell short against the Scandinavian’s, who won the game just before the hour mark thanks to a cute finish from winger Yussef Poulsen. The result could have gone a completely different way however, if Peru didn’t surpass the opportunity to take a lead just before half-time through a penalty awarded by the VAR. Christian Cueva fluffed his lines though, instead ballooning his spot kick over the bar late in the first half. This completely changed the dynamic of the game as Peru went from being on top to being dominated in the second half, they were completely inferior physically as the Danes bullied them off the ball and used their possession to good effect.

On paper it looks as though Peru will certainly struggle against the physicality of this strong French side. They’re an extremely small team and with France having the likes of Rafael Varane, Olivier Giroud & Paul Pogba all at their disposal for this clash it’s not looking likely that they’ll take anything from this match. Although at times Peru did look quite sharp on the break against Denmark, their finishing product was poor so against a much stronger France back line, where the chances will be even more limited we’d be surprised if they managed scoring a goal in this fixture.

Recommended Bets:

Over 2.5 goals (4/5 with SkyBet) – BET HERE

France to win to nil (6/4 with Betfred) – BET HERE

Argentina v Croatia (Group D) – 21/06/18

Argentina

After drawing 1-1 with minnows Iceland in their opening group game on Saturday, Argentina desperately need a positive reaction here against Croatia if they’re to top Group D as expected. With players like Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero, Angel Di Maria & Gonzalo Higuain all at their disposal (among others), Argentina should win this game comfortably. The fact that they struggled so much against an Iceland side who boast some players who aren’t even fully-professional is massive cause for concern however, especially considering they actually took the lead in that match through Sergio Aguero on the 20th minute.

Jorge Sampaoli’s men were frustrated on Saturday, they dominated possession but couldn’t break through an extremely well-drilled Iceland defence which is alarming when you consider the personnel they have in their attack. Lionel Messi surpassed the perfect opportunity to put his team a goal to the good when he missed a penalty in the second half; that could prove to be costly should Argentina slip up again in this tie and fail to beat Croatia, especially if Iceland beat Nigeria in the groups other game on Friday night.

Croatia

Croatia kicked off their World Cup campaign by beating Nigeria 2-0 on Saturday evening. An own goal from Nigeria midfielder Oghenekaro Etebo partnered a penalty from Luka Modric to cement their stance at the top of Group C heading into this match with Argentina. With so much attacking quality within their side, Croatia have a really strong chance of qualifying for the knockout stages at the end of the month. Real Madrid’s Luka Modric and Barcelona’s Ivan Rakitic control their midfield perfectly, while Inter Milan’s Ivan Perisic supplies Juventus front man Mario Mandzukic with the chances in that all-important final third.

Croatia are an exciting team to watch with plenty of quality, they lost just two of their nine games building up to the tournament and on Saturday completely dominated possession and were unlucky not to win by a bigger margin. The challenge they face here against Argentina is obviously a much more difficult one; the South American’s will be keen to avenge their disappointing draw with Iceland so they’ll have to be incredibly organised here. We can see this game being an entertaining spectacle with both sides getting on the scoresheet, backing BTTS would be our suggestion here!

Recommended Bets:

BTTS (EVENS with PaddyPower) – BET HERE

Winning margin: 1 goal (13/10 with Betway) – BET HERE