There was drama aplenty on Wednesday, as Argentina sealed their place in the knockout stages of the World Cup courtesy of a 2-0 win over Poland to complete a fine turnaround since their opening defeat.
That 2-1 loss to Saudi Arabia acted as a wake-up call and wins over Mexico and Poland ensured they topped the group - even if not at their best - while Poland managed to sneak through in second place by virtue of fewer yellow cards than Mexico.
Elsewhere, in Group C France opted for mass changes in their tie against Tunisia having already qualified and subsequently lost 1-0, while the other major surprise of the day saw Denmark - fancied as dark horses prior to the competition - knocked out after losing 1-0 to Australia, who themselves progress through.
Thursday sees Canada and Morocco face off with the latter in the driving seat for a last 16 spot, while Belgium must topple Croatia if they wish to progress. In the later games, Germany must beat Costa Rica and hope Spain beat Japan otherwise they could become the first major casualty of the tournament.
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World Cup Betting Tip of the Day by TipMan
Japan vs Spain – 1st Dec 19:00
Over 7.5 Match Corners
Over 1.5 Match Goals
Group E is still wide open with all 4 teams in the running to qualify for the knockout stages. Spain just need to avoid defeat to send through whereas Japan would need the win to guarantee qualification or a draw and hope the other games goes in their favour. They missed a huge opportunity against Cost Rica in the last game losing 1-0 which would have seen them home and dry into the next round if they performed the way they did against Germany in their opening game.
Spain have been one of the standout teams so far this tournament and we fully expect them to qualify with the quality within their team. Other than Morata, Spain haven’t played with a focal striker but still delivered goals across their midfield and attacking options so expect them to continue this into the Japan game.
75% of Spain and Japan’s games have seen over 1.5 match goals with Spain scoring 8 in their 2 games so far. If the game is goalless at half time, Japan will have no option to press forward which will play into Spain’s hand with the quality in the midfield to exploit the space and create chances
There is a 9.8 corners per game average between the 2 sides with 5.10 from Spain and 4.70 from Japan. With so much at stake, both teams will be pressing to win to nullify the result in the other fixture
Canada vs Morocco – 1st Dec 15:00
Over 7.5 Match Corners
Over 2.5 Yellow Cards
Morocco come into their final game with a fantastic win over Belgium and if they avoid defeat, they will see themselves progress to the knockout stages. Morocco have never lost to Canada in all previous meeting (W2 D1) but their last meeting was in 2016 and Canada have certainly come a long way since then.
There is an 8.9 corners per game average between the 2 sides. Morocco seem to concede more corners than they earn but today I can see this being the opposite way round. Yet to concede a goal, they will be playing high up the pitch with enough quality to hurt Canada in the wide areas which will result in more corners. They may look to waste time too should the game be out of sight keeping the ball in the corner where corners may rack up
Both teams have committed on average 12 fouls a game and have also drawn 13+ fouls a game too so expect this to be no different with tackles flying in. We’ve seen an average of 4.73 cards per game from these 2 teams which is above the World Cup average of 3.36. This coupled with the fact that Raphael Claus is taking charge who averages over 4 cards a game, over 2.5 cards looks like good value
World Cup Daily Acca Betting Tip by TipMan
Canada v Morocco
Morocco to win
Morocco are unbeaten in their last 7 and haven’t conceded a goal in their last 6. They manage games well and are well adapted to games similar to Qatar conditions, so we expect another good performance from them keeping it tight at the back and using their attacking threat to beat Canada, who have lost both their World Cup games. Although Canada have a good attacking threat, they’ve conceded too many goals and see the Moroccans getting another win here.
Croatia v Belgium
Over 1.5 match goals
Belgium have to win to keep their world cup dreams in their hands. They have to assume Morocco will get a point at least based on their defensive record so must beat Croatia, so we can expect to see a very open game. Croatia will be full of confidence after their 4-1 win against Canada so will want to go for goals too. Belgium should come through here, but we expect an end-to-end game with plenty of chances, with both teams pushing for the win.
Costa Rica v Germany
Over 2.5 match goals
Germany are bottom of their group going into round 3 so will want to score plenty of goals against a very weak Costa Rica to guarantee 4 points which should be enough if Spain can help them out against Japan. Goals breed confidence so Germany will look to attack from the off to finish is good form and build some confidence ready for the knockout stages.
Japan v Spain
Spain to win
Spain look strong and have dominated both their games and will be disappointed not to secure top spot after a late Germany equaliser. They’ll want to put that right and they’re likely to dominate the ball and create chances. It is unlikely Spain will rest players here as the top spot in the group is not yet secured. Morata offers Spain something different with the runs in behind and a natural front man so we expect him to get a start here after scoring off the bench in the first 2 games. This should be a relatively comfortable Spain win.
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