Double of the day:
Netherlands vs Argentina
Draw and under 2.5 goals in 90 minutes- 5/2!
Get 5/2 on Netherlands vs Argentina ending 0-0 or 1-1 after 90 minutes.
Netherlands and Argentina’s most recent meeting, in the 2014 World Cup semi-finals, went all the way to penalties, and this one is equally as tough to call.
La Albiceleste have won their last three matches, scoring twice each time, seeing off Mexico, Poland and then Australia.
However, in the round of 16, Lionel Scaloni’s team were hanging on towards the end, and looked far from convincing against the Socceroos.
Nevertheless, Argentina have kept 20 clean sheets in their last 31 competitive matches, so are certainly not easy to score against.
Similarly, Netherlands have conceded just twice in Qatar so far, seeing off USA in their second round tie on Saturday.
Excluding shootouts, Louis van Gaal is now unbeaten in 36 competitive matches as Oranje boss, a run that dates back to 2001.
After cruising through the group stages, Holland put in a very impressive performance at the weekend, which is promising, with the difficulty level set to increase further here.
With both afraid to lose, Lusail Iconic Stadium could witness a low-scoring match, and one possibly destine for extra time, or perhaps even penalties.
Secondary tip of the day
Draw after 90 minutes and Argentina to qualify- 9/2!
Get 9/2 on Argentina to win after extra time or via a penalty shootout.
If this game does go into extra time, Argentina might just have the edge.
Obviously, Lionel Messi is capable of a moment of magic, but they’ll also have Ángel Di María, Paulo Dybala and Lautaro Martínez on the bench, all of whom are potential match-winners.
Conversely, Netherlands’ main attacker, Memphis, is only just getting back to full fitness, so could struggle to last the distance.
Similarly, the South American side would be favourites to win any potential penalty shootout.
When Argentina triumphed at the Copa América last year, their first silverware for 28 years, they required a penalty shootout to oust Colombia in the semi-finals.
Overall, la Albiceleste have won ten of 16 shootouts, including five of six at World Cups, defeating Holland via this method eight years ago.
In the previous round back then, Netherlands dumped out Costa Rica on penalties, with Tim Krul coming off the bench to be the hero.
This year, Krul turned down the opportunity to be in the squad as a penalty specialists, so Oranje would be reliant on rookie Andries Noppert.
That Costa Rica victory is one of just two shootouts the Dutch have ever won, losing the other five, meaning they’re win % is actually lower than England’s!
All of this suggests, if the game is as tight as many expect, it’ll be Argentina who prevail.
Goalscorer tip of the day
Lionel Messi to score first- 15/4!
Get 15/4 on Lionel Messi to score first.
Having belatedly scored his first-ever World Cup knockout phase goal against Australia, will Lionel Messi be on target again?
Messi took his World Cup tally to nine against the Socceroos, only eight men have more.
However, his only goals at the tournament against European opposition came against Serbia & Montenegro in 2006 and Bosnia & Herzegovina eight years later.
He’s also yet to net against the Netherlands, with both their meetings this century finishing goalless.
Nevertheless, given how magical Messi has been in Qatar, it wouldn’t surprise anybody if Holland became the 36th different national team he’s netted against.
Croatia vs Brazil
Brazil to win and both teams to score NO- 11/10!
Get 11/10 on Brazil to win to nil.
Brazil have won both previous World Cup meetings with Croatia, 1-0 in 2006 and then 3-1 in the tournament’s opening game in São Paulo eight years ago.
Given how imperious A Seleção looked in their round of 16 tie on Monday night, most would expect them to complete the hat-trick.
In that one, Tite’s team demolished Korea Republic 4-1, with all of their goals coming in a 29-minute first half spree.
Vinícius Júnior, Neymar, Richarlison and Lucas Paquetá the scorers; the third in particular was an amazing team-goal.
This is the fastest Brazil have ever scored four in a World Cup match, ousting their previous record of 43 minutes against Mexico in 1954.
In fact, it’s the second-quickest any side has scored four in a knockout match, after Germany in THAT semi-final in 2014.
So, how on earth do Croatia contain the five-times World Champions?
Zlatko Dalić's team battled past Japan in their second round tie on Monday; Ivan Perišić's equalising header forcing extra time and ultimately penalties.
Dominik Livaković saved three Japanese spot-kicks, while Nikola Vlašić, Marcelo Brozović and Mario Pašalić made no mistake from the spot.
Amazingly, seven of Croatia’s eight knockout matches this century have gone to extra time, the sole exception being the 2018 World Cup Final against France.
So, the Blazers will be no posh-overs, but surely Brazil will be simply too strong in the end.
Secondary tip of the day
Draw at half time and Brazil to win by full time- 11/4!
Get 11/4 on the game to be a draw at half time but Brazil to win by full time.
Sticking with that theme, it seems very plausible that the game will be level, probably 0-0, at half time, before Brazil prove to be too strong in the end.
Just four days ago, Tite’s team cruised through their tie, while Croatia had to give 100% for two hours and a shootout.
This didn’t effect Zlatko Dalić's team four years ago, as they beat both Denmark and Russia in penalty competitions and then England in extra time.
But now, with many key players over 30, namely Dejan Lovren, Marcelo Brozović and Luka Modrić, this’ll surely take its toll.
On the flip side, Brazil have so much talent, namely Bruno Guimarães, Rodrygo, Antony and Gabriel Martinelli, on their bench if needed, a luxury Croatia simply do not enjoy.
Goalscorer tip of the day
Richarlison to score anytime- 7/4!
Get 7/4 on Richarlison to score anytime.
Leônidas, Ademir de Menezes, Garrincha, Vavá and Ronaldo: these are Brazil’s World Cup golden boot winners.
If a sixth name is to be added to this list, for the team chasing a sixth star on their crest, Richarlison is the front-runner right now.
The Tottenham man scored twice against Serbia in their opener, before rounding-off an amazing team-move on Monday.
This means, since opening his international account in September 2018, Richarlison has scored 20 in 40 appearance; not bad.
In 2022 alone, he’s scored ten times for A Seleção, confident of making that 11 at Education City Stadium.