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World Cup Football Tips – Monday 2nd July
by the Cheeky Punter
Monday is the third day of Round of 16 games and this is where the teams from Groups E, F, G and H start their quest for the quarter-finals.
First up is what should be a cracking encounter between two old adversaries as Brazil, the new World Cup favourites, take on a Mexico side that looked so effervescent in beating Germany, but who were humbled 3-0 by Sweden last time out.
The second game today sees Belgium, winners of Group G taking on second-placed in Group H Japan. The Belgians rested several key men against England (as did England) in what was a poor last game between two reserve sides in Group G, but Roberto Martinez will certainly be picking his full strength team for this one against a Japanese side that look very fit and energetic, but a tad lacking tactically.
It should be an interesting Monday of fixtures and here’s my tips for both games.
2018 World Cup Tips: Monday 2nd July
July 2, 2018
Samara Arena, Samara
July 2, 2018
Samara Arena, Samara
Brazil qualified for the KO stage by winning Group F ahead of Switzerland. They drew their opener against the Swiss but then beat Costa Rica and Serbia to qualify.
Mexico began with a win over Germany before beating South Korea. They were defeated however 3-0 in their final group game by Sweden, finishing 2nd in Group E.
Coutinho is Brazil’s top goalscorer with two goals in the World Cup, while Mexico’s three goals in the tournament came from Vela, Hernandez and Lozano.
The teams have met 40 times in total in their history, Brazil have 23 wins to Mexico’s 10 with 7 drawn games. Mexico’s last win was in 2012, Brazil’s came in June 2015.
These two countries have played each other regularly since the 1990s and although Brazil have won more games in total Mexico have had eight of their ten victories over Brazil since 1996. Indeed, Brazil have won just 5 of the last 15 games with Mexico 3 draws and 7 wins for Mexico.
However, Brazil have also won four of the last six games and the teams met in the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil where Mexico earned a battling 0-0 draw. With this game being a winner takes all encounter though, even if we end up all square at the end of ninety minutes (and I don’t think we will) somebody will have to progress.
I’ve been really impressed with Mexico in the two games I saw them but by all accounts against Sweden they looked well off the pace and in the end, only qualified thanks to South Korea’s heroics against Germany. That was a reprieve and they’ll need to be far, far improved against a Brazil side that looked like they were hitting the top gears in their 2-0 win over Serbia.
That said, I don’t think this will be as straightforward as people are making out and while I was so tempted to go for the draw on 90 minutes here, I just think that extra Brazilian firepower will be decisive, but I do feel that Mexico’s clever attack can and will score against the Brazilians.
Brazil to win & both teams to score - £10 returns £40.00
Belgium’s effective second string’s 1-0 win over England handed them top spot in Group G and a 100% record and a game against Japan in the Round of 16.
Japan became the first team to qualify for the Knockout Phase at a World Cup due to the fair play rule as they picked up fewer bookings than Senegal in Group H.
Roberto Martinez made nine changes for the game with England, but expect all the key men to return for this game including Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku and Kevin de Bruyne.
Japan have a decent record in this agme, winning two, drawing two and losing just the once to Belgium, although that did come in the last game back in November 2017.
Belgium’s positive for winning Group G is a much easier Round of 16 contest with Japan, as opposed to Colombia, but it does mean that their route to the final will likely involve games with two out of Brazil, France, Argentina or Uruguay.
Japan will just be delighted to reach the knockout phase after they received fewer yellow cards to pip Senegal in Group H. The Japanese work hard and have a fabulous team spirit, but I think they were found out by Poland and I am sure that if Colombia had not been reduced to ten men after 3 minutes of their game, the South American side would have won it comfortably.
As such, with the likes of Hazard, Vertonghne, Alderweireld, Lukaku and De Bruyne all given plenty of rest against England, I think Belgium will be refreshed and raring to go here and in truth I cannot see anything but a relatively comfortable win for them here.
I’d be surprise if Japan get a goal, although I do like the pressure they put on teams, I just feel they don’t have anywhere near the quality of the Belgian side and as such, I am backing Belgium to win this one to nil.
The Cheeky Punter is an ex professional online sports bettor and trader with over 15 years of experience in the industry. He has worked for a number of top bookmakers including Ladbrokes, William Hill and Coral. He's also written for a number of leading news outlets including the Guardian, i (newspaper) and Soccer Lens. More about him here.