World Cup Last 16 – Predictions + Betting Tips

Wow! What a roller-coaster ride of a group stage that was. As we catch our breath, a moment please for those teams who haven’t made it through to the last sixteen . The biggest shock – and one that I imagine won’t get too much sympathy from England fans – was Germany’s elimination on Wednesday.

The holders finished bottom of their group after losing to South Korea, making die Mannschaft the fourth from the last five World Cup winners to be eliminated in the group stage when trying to defend their title. 

Now that we’ve paid our dues to the eliminated teams we can look forwards at some very tasty fixtures that await us from Saturday. France versus Argentina, despite the latter’s poor form, looks set to be an enthralling showdown, while Brazil against Mexico should be full of South American flair. 

Match of the Day

England are back into the second round for the first time since 2010. They were knocked out at this stage by the Germans back then and only managed one better in the prior World Cup, making it to the quarter-finals, where they were eliminated on penalties by Portugal. Colombia lost their opening match of this tournament but back-to-back wins meant that they found a way through on the final day of the group stages. 

England v Colombia
England Form Guide DWDWD
Colombia Form Guide DLWLW
  • Venue: Spartak Stadium
  • Tue 03 July 19:00
  • Referee: TBC
  • Quick Glance Odds H: 11/10  D: 23/10 A: 3/1

About the Game:

Colombia it is! While the discussion of whether Gareth Southgate was right to tinker with his team as much he did for the match against Belgium continues, England must prepare themselves for what is undoubtedly – on paper at least – a much more difficult match than they would have faced had they beaten Belgium and topped the group. Colombia were the surprise package of the last World Cup, reaching the quarter-finals, and are currently ranked 16th in the official FIFA rankings.

The Three Lions are favourites to win. The increased sense of pride, hope and optimism that accompanies this team does at least seem somewhat justified after the victories against Tunisia and Panama. But, those were games that England should have won. Thursday’s match against Belgium told us nothing about the real ability of this team, as both sides played what were essentially B-teams. Southgate maintains that the rest allowed for his first-team players via rotation will be key to going far in the tournament, so I guess we’ll wait and see. But it was certainly a roll of the dice. Lose here and a last 16 exit will be a big failure, but, should England win, then they will face a much easier quarter-final fixture than they would should they have topped their group. We’ll soon find out whether Southgate’s gamble was a stroke of genius or a wasted opportunity. 

Bet on the match between England and Colombia at Betway

Colombia started the tournament terribly, losing to the little fancied Japan due mostly to an early red card for Carlos Sanchez. Defeat meant they needed to turn things around massively and that they did in the following match against Poland with an inspired 3-0 victory. 

What followed was a crawl over the finish line via a single goal victory over Senegal, which banished the Lions of Teranga – who had started the tournament so well and were unbeaten before that match – to an early exit. It has been a mixed bag of performances from Colombia so far then, but we all know what they are capable of. Much of that seems to depend on talisman James Rodriguez. Colombia looked clueless going forward after he limped off due to injury early in the match and he is a major doubt for this match. Nevertheless, the performance against Poland was the real Colombia and if they can pull a performance like that out of the bag here then they are capable of beating any team. Either way, this promises to be a cracking affair of knock-out football between two creative attacking teams. 

Prediction: England win – England’s players will benefit from their extra rest and prove just too much for Colombia to handle.

Rest of the Games

France and Argentina will open the stage on Saturday with the afternoon kick-off, in what is perhaps the pick of the bunch. That’s followed by the evening match between Uruguay and Portugal, with the action continuing until Tuesday.

France v Argentina
France Form Guide LLDWL
Argentina Form Guide WWLDD
  • Venue: Kazan
  • Sat 30 June 15:00
  • Referee: TBC
  • Quick Glance Odds H: 11/8 D: 21/10 A: 5/2

About the Game:

France have made it comfortably through to the knock-out stages despite never really getting going. Their last match – a lacklustre goalless draw against Denmark – did little to excite the increasingly frustrated French fans who expect a lot more from their team. France did something similar in the last EUROs, where they took their time to build up some form. They reached the finals there, but it won’t be so easy here. Argentina, despite the mess behind the scenes, are always going to be difficult to beat, so France will have to raise their standards. 

What a moment on Tuesday night, when Marcus Rojo’s late goal against Nigeria meant Argentina had somehow found a way out of their group when it had looked like they would be the tournament’s first high profile victim. Argentina drew their opening match and were hammered by Croatia. The word crisis has been thrown about and a last minute winner against Nigeria will do little to stop those accusations. Rumours suggest coach Jorge Sampaoli has been overthrown and senior players are picking the squad. Whatever the case, drama is set to continue to follow Argentina in their toughest match of the tournament yet. 

Prediction: France win – Despite going through Argentina are still in the midst of a crisis and could implode should France start strongly.

Uruguay v Portugal
Uruguay Form Guide LLDWL
Portugal Form Guide DLLDW
  • Venue: Sochi
  • Sat 30 June 19:00
  • Referee: TBC
  • Quick Glance Odds H: 9/5 D: 2/1 A: 2/1

About the Game:

Uruguay head into the knock-out stages with a perfect record of three wins in three games with no goals conceded. They too started a little slowly however and only just managed wins against both Egypt and Saudia Arabia. Uruguay’s group was the easiest on paper too and anything less than qualifying in top spot would have seemed like a failure. Nevertheless, they got the job done and will fancy their chances against Portugal. Both Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani have gotten on the scoresheet, but the defence will be put to its sternest test yet. 

Portugal can count themselves unlucky to be facing Uruguay here. A late, late penalty conceded against Iran meant that despite leading for almost the entire match, Portugal could only manage a draw and would finish second behind Spain on goal difference. But, Ronaldo and co must put that behind them and focus on the job at hand. Portugal have faced stiff opposition in the form of Spain and earned a draw, so unlike Uruguay, they have already passed the test against top opposition. 

Prediction: Under 2.5 goals – There is a wealth of attacking talent on show in this match, but we think the game will be won or lost in defence, with both teams focusing on a shut out. 

Spain v Russia
Spain Form Guide LLDWL
Russia Form Guide LLLDD
  • Venue: Luzhniki
  • Sun 1 July 15:00
  • Referee: TBC
  • Quick Glance Odds H: 8/13 D: 29/10 A: 11/2

About the Game:

Spain have Iran to thank for finishing top of their group and facing Russia rather than Uruguay. Despite coming up against the hosts, Spain will be confident of victory with perhaps the easiest of the knock-out stage opponents. But it won’t necessarily be easy. After sacking manager Lopetegui just one day before the tournament started, Spain haven’t looked at all convincing. Without a clean sheet, they only just managed to beat Iran by a single goal in their single victory so far, when Iran were unlucky not to take anything from the match. Diego Costa and Isco are the positives though. Costa is in scoring form while Isco has been the shining light of the Spain midfield so far and got on the score-sheet against Morocco. 

The hosts started the tournament perfectly with two emphatic back-to-back wins. Russia were handed a bit of a reality check in the match against Uruguay though when they were comfortably beaten 3-0. Reports in Russia suggest that fans are a little deflated after that result – likening it to the ending of a fairytale – having been handed a stark reminder of the team’s limitations when facing stronger opposition. Certainly, the hosts are big underdogs here, but they are facing a seemingly out of sorts Spain and if they can use that reality check to good effect, then the fairytale may continue. Igor Smolnikov is suspended after his red card, but playmaker Aleksandr Golovin will return after being rested. 

Prediction: Spain win – Most of the big teams have started slowly and while we doubt Spain’s ability to go all the way, we think they will have more than enough to end the host’s World Cup dreams. 

Croatia v Denmark
Croatia Form Guide LLDWL
Denmark Form Guide LDLDW
  • Venue: Nizhny Novgorod
  • Sun 1 July 19:00
  • Referee: TBC
  • Quick Glance Odds H: 17/20 D: 12/5 A: 21/5

About the Game:

Croatia have been one of the standout teams so far. A perfect three wins from three – including with that masterclass victory against Argentina – means they have a favourable fixture here. Croatia are always a dark horse team and more and more will be fancying them to go far now. The team is incredibly well balanced and has midfield maestros Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic pulling the strings. If they can keep the goals coming, who knows how far they could go.

Denmark have squeezed through what could have been a tricky group without too many problems. They did much of the hardwork in the first match against Peru where they earned victory with a single goal. That was a job well done for the Danes, but they must turn things up a notch here. Defensive resilience is their best attribute, but the problem of where goals will come from persists. They scored just twice in three group games and could have problems cracking the tough nut that is the Croatian defence. 

Prediction: Under 2.5 goals – We fancy Croatia here and though they have been known to mess things up in the latter stages of tournament football, we doubt that will happen here. Denmark will keep it tight, so a Croatian victory by a slim margin seems a strong bet.

Brazil v Mexico
Brazil Form Guide LLDWL
Mexico Form Guide WDWLD
  • Venue: Samara
  • Mon 2 July 15:00
  • Referee: TBC
  • Quick Glance Odds H: 8/15 D: 10/3 A: 6/1

About the Game:

They might not have done it as emphatically as many expected, but Brazil are safely through to the second round, topping their group ahead of Switzerland. A 2-0 win against Serbia on Wednesday night sealed the deal and despite not playing their best football as yet, Brazil will head into this match as one of the favourites for the tournament. Brazil have suffered a couple of injuries though, with Douglas Costa and Danilo already out. Defensive injuries were compounded when Marcelo, so instrumental to how the team play, came off after just nine minutes in the last match. It’s not clear whether he will be fit for this match, but Brazil can ill afford any more injuries, especially in defence. 

Despite making it through to the last 16 from a group containing Germany, Mexico will be kicking themselves at what might have been. Starting their final match against Sweden, Mexico needed just a draw to finish as group winners. With Germany losing and crashing out, defeat by a single goal would have been enough to top the group and face Switzerland, rather than Brazil, at this stage. Mexico fell to a surprising 3-0 defeat and the fine performances of their opening two matches has been overshadowed somewhat. They must find a way to bounce back from that defeat. These two teams met in the group stages of the last World Cup, where both teams qualified on seven points after drawing their encounter and winning the other two. Few will expect Mexico to win, but they’ve already beaten Germany in this competition. The question is, can they do it again?

Prediction: Both teams to score – Mexico are fearless and will return to the style of play that saw them beat both Germany and South Korea. That will result in goals, as Brazil’s irresistible creativity will click to score at least once. 

Belgium v Japan
Belgium Form Guide WWWWW
Japan Form Guide LWWDL
  • Venue: Rostov Arena
  • Mon 02 July 19:00
  • Referee: TBC
  • Quick Glance Odds H: 2/5 D: 4/1 A: 8/1

About the Game:

Belgium might have played a second string side in their final group game against England, but that team still managed to win. The reward is perhaps the easiest of all the second round opponents in Japan. Belgium are of course heavy favourites for this match and there’s little to suggest they will slip up. Lukaku, Hazard and De Bruyne are in fine form and the squad are scoring goals for fun. Like England, Belgium have the added advantage of giving most of their players extra rest. Despite facing spirited opponents, that will be another positive factor and another problem which their opponents will struggle to deal with. We think Belgium will walk this, but the downside of their topping group F is that their next opponents are very likely to be Brazil. That will be a real test of their mettle and a fixture we’re hoping to see.

Japan have the fair play rule to thank for sneaking out of their group at the expense of Senegal. Most wrote of their chances before the start of the tournament, so it’s a credit to the spirit of the team to have gotten this far. They have rode their luck somewhat and they will have to hope that continues here. Belgium are one of the toughest remaining opponents and this is a step up for Japan. The bookies have Japan at very long odds and fair play won’t help them here. Unfortunately, we see the Japanese World Cup dream coming to a quick end.

Prediction: Belgium win + BTTS no – Belgium are heavy favourties for good reason. They are playing well while scoring plenty of goals and we see no reason why that won’t continue here.

Sweden v Switzerland
Sweden Form Guide LLDWL
Switzerland Form Guide DWDWW
  • Venue: St Petersburg
  • Tue 03 July 15:00
  • Referee: TBC
  • Quick Glance Odds H: 21/10 D: 2/1 A: 17/10

About the Game:

The Swedes have been tipped by Zlatan Ibrahimovic to go all the way at this tournament. While that’s probably a typical case of over-confidence from the former Swedish international, Sweden have proved a very tough nut to crack for some time now. They also have a favourable fixture here against a team not blessed with too many attacking talents. Winning their last match emphatically with a 3-0 victory over Mexico lead to the Swedes topping one of the most difficult groups, taking the scalps of current Champions Germany in the process. This is a tough one to call and will be tight, but Sweden have every right to be confident. 

But so too do Switzerland. Unbeaten in the group stages, the Swedes also came out of a tough group containing Brazil, Serbia and Costa Rica. In fact, Switzerland have lost just one of their last 19 matches, which is one of the best records of any team at this competition. Fired up after their vital victory against Serbia, Switzerland fans are daring to dream. And they have every right too. Slight favourites for this one, Switzerland have maintained their defensive cohesion while adding goals to their game. Getting round the height advantage Sweden hold will be the issue when it comes to scoring, but the Swiss have always found a way so far.

Prediction: Under 2.5 goals – Both these teams are better known for their defensive abilities and neither will commit too much. A tight, nervy and possibly goalless affair could play out.

Combi bet of the day: Our Pick*

Game Event Odds Cumulative Odds
England v Colombia England win 11/10 2.10
Uruguay v Poland Under 2.5 goals 2/5 2.94
Spain v Russia Spain win 4/7 4.62
Belgium v Japan Belgium win + BTTS no 21/20 9.47
Sweden v Switzerland Under 2.5 goals 4/9 13.68

Place a bet on this at Betway

Bookie of the week: Our Pick

Betway are our bookie of the week. To find out all you need to know about Betway you can read our Betway review.

* All our selections are provided for entertainment only and should only be used for informational purposes. Whilst we use our experience and knowledge to help inform you to make a considered bet, we are not responsible for any losses that may arise from actual results being different than predicted.

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World Cup 2018 last 16 betting tips

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