Double of the day:
1) Brazil to win and over 2.5 goals. 2) Japan vs Croatia- both teams to score.
Get 3/1 on the above double!
Brazil vs Korea Republic
Brazil to win and both teams to score.
Get 13/5 on Brazil to win and both teams to score!
Brazil were pre-tournament favourites to win the World Cup, they remain so after the group phase, and they’re certainly overwhelming favourites to advance through this tie.
Bizarrely though, Brazil were actually the lowest scorers in Group G, a section they ended up topping.
On Friday night, having already beaten both Serbia and Switzerland, Tite rotated heavily for their final game against Cameroon.
A Seleção could not find the breakthrough and, thanks to a stoppage time goal, were beaten by an African side at the World Cup for the very first time.
So, perhaps Brazil are more vulnerable than at first they might appear?
Earlier on Friday, Korea Republic booked their place in the knockout stages in dramatic circumstances.
The Taegeuk Warriors came from a goal down to beat Portugal 2-1; Kim Young-gwon equalising, before Hwang Hee-chan won it in stoppage time.
With Uruguay winning 2-0 simultaneously, Paulo Bento’s team snuck through on goal scored alone.
So, this is just Korea’s second appearance in the knockout phase on foreign soil, beaten by the aforementioned Uruguay at this stage 12 years ago.
South Korea have certainly been entertaining and an attacking threat at this tournament, but Brazil will be far too strong at Stadium 974, right?
Secondary tip of the day
Brazil to be leading at half time and full time.
Get 10/11 on Brazil half time/ full time!
Tite’s team took on Korea Republic in a friendly as recently as June, smashing their hosts 5-1 in Seoul.
This means Brazil have won six of seven meetings with South Korea, the sole exception a 1-0 friendly defeat in 1999.
Nevertheless, at World Cups, the five-times World Champions have won all three meetings with Asian opponents, and they haven’t failed to win a knockout game since 1990.
So, a routine Brazil victory, in which they get their noses in front before the break, seems the most likely outcome.
Goalscorer tip of the day
Richarlison to score anytime.
Get 15/8 on Richarlison to score in 90 minutes!
Brazil only scored twice in the group stages; of teams who got through, only USA and Poland netted fewer.
Two of these goals were scored by Richarlison, both coming in the matchday one victory over Serbia.
That takes the Tottenham forward’s international total to 19, one of which came in South Korea during the summer.
With Richarlison set to lead the line, and Neymar an injury doubt, he’s likely to be Brazil’s main goal-threat again.
Japan vs Croatia
Both teams to score
Get 1/1 on both teams to score in 90 minutes!
If someone tells you they predicted how Japan’s group stage campaign would go, they are lying!
The Samurai Blue beat Germany, then lost to Costa Rica, before beating Spain, coming from behind in both victories.
On Thursday night, two goals, just three minutes apart, from Ritsu Dōan and Ao Tanaka, saw Hajime Moriyasu’s team defeat la Roja 2-1.
This has seen Japan reach the round of 16 at back-to-back World Cups for the very first time, now seeking a maiden place in the quarter-finals.
In those victories against Spain and Germany, the Samurai Blue certainly proved they’re capable of competing with high-level European opposition.
So, Croatia will certainly not underestimate the four-times Asian champions.
The Blazers played out a pair of goalless draws in Group F, against Morocco and Belgium, with the 4-1 drubbing of Canada in the middle enough to see them advance.
Despite those two goalless games, both teams have scored in 28 of Croatia’s last 46 competitive outings, a run that includes the 2018 World Cup Final.
In short, this one could go either-way, so backing a goal-fest at Al-Janoub Stadium could be the way to go.
Secondary tip of the day
Japan to qualify after extra time or in a penalty shootout.
Get 6/1 on Japan to qualify after extra time or via penalties!
Given that this one is tough to call, extra time could be on the cards Al Wakrah; a draw after 90 minutes is 9/4.
If the game does go to an additional half hour, Japan might just have the upper hand.
Their substitutes have been game-changers at this competition, specifically Ritsu Dōan and Takuma Asano, who both scored off the bench against Germany.
Dōan has actually netted the equaliser as a substitute in both of wins.
Given that many of Croatia’s key players are over 30, namely Dejan Lovren, Marcelo Brozović, Ivan Perišić and Luka Modrić, Japan could have the edge in fitness terms.
Goalscorer tip of the day
Ritsu Dōan to score anytime
Get 9/2 on Ritsu Dōan to score in 90 minutes!
He’s already been mentioned a couple of times, but another goal for Ritsu Dōan would surely edge him into the breakout star category.
His club side Freiburg are currently second in the Bundesliga, but it’s in the blue of Japan where Dōan has shone this season.
His goals against Germany and Spain have surely earnt him a start and, if the Asian side are to pull off a bit of a shock, he’s likely to be at the forefront.