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  • Chris Sobey

World Cup


Football

Yesterday’s 2018 World Cup action featured three games, two from Group C between Denmark and Australia and France and Peru and one from Group C between Argentina and Croatia. Denmark took an early lead against Australia thanks to a brilliantly worked goal and finish from star man Eriksen, but the Aussies fought back well and had VAR to thank for a controversial penalty decision and their subsequent equalizer, which captain Jedinak put away with a plomb again.

France ground out another 1-0 against an industrious Peru last night and they have now qualified for the last-16 but need to win their last game against Denmark to ensure top-spot for Group C. Peru’s world cup is unfortunately now over but their fans, who were brilliant and created a carnival atmosphere in both of their games, will have left a lasting memory on many Russians and world football fans alike.

Argentina came a step closer to crashing out of the 2018 World Cup last night when they were soundly beaten by a far more defensively solid and offensively creative Croatia 2-0 and the goals came from Rebic on fifty three minutes and star man Modric on eighty minutes. Croatia have now qualified for the last-16 and Argentina will now have to fight it out with Iceland and Nigeria for second-place in Group D and judging by their last performance I don’t fancy them to progress.

It’s day nine of the 2018 World Cup and today’s action features two Group E matches between Brazil and Costa Rica at 1pm on ITV and Serbia and Switzerland at 7pm on BBC One. The other match is from Group D between Nigeria and Iceland at 4pm on BBC One. The pressure will be on Brazil to win this afternoon and if Serbia lose or draw against Switzerland tonight and Brazil win, they will either lead the group by one point or they will be level on four points and goal difference with Serbia if they draw. Brazil won six of the seven previous international matches against Costa Rica and with only two wins and seven defeats in their last ten international matches this is going to be a real uphill struggle for the Costa Rican’s. There are doubts surrounding star man Neymar’s fitness but even if he doesn’t play Brazil still have enough quality attacking talent at their disposal to outscore Costa Rica.

This will be the first meeting between Nigeria and Iceland and from a statistical perspective the omens don’t look good for Nigeria. They’ve only won two of their last ten international matches, losing six and they’ve lost six of their last seven matches against European teams. They also only managed to score seven goals in these ten matches. Iceland record over their last ten international matches is only marginally better but they averaged nearly two goals scored per game during this period. Nigeria will have to improve on their opening game 2-0 loss against Croatia and somehow find a way to score more goals but if they don’t, and Iceland play as well as they did at the Euro’s back in 2016 and against Argentina last time out, I expect them to win this one by a low scoring margin.

The final game of the day is between Group E leaders Serbia and second place Switzerland who are playing each other for the first time. Both teams impressed in their opening matches, Serbia were in control for most of their match against Costa Rica but should have won by at least three or four goals as Mitrovic missed a couple of sitters. Switzerland came from a goal down to draw against tournament favourites Brazil and with hindsight the result is no surprise as Switzerland lost only one of their last ten international matches, winning six, which includes a 2-0 win against Japan and 1-1 draw with Spain pre-tournament this month. I think Switzerland are over priced and they could easily get a draw or cause an upset tonight.

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