World Cup Tips – Thursday 24th November
If this World Cup Finals seems to be racing by, then you can thank FIFA for that as all 64 games of these finals have been crammed into a shorter time frame, which means that you are barely into the first round of group stage games, before it is at an end and the second set of games will be played.
Believe it or not, that starts tomorrow and England and Wales will be in action then, but today we have the favourites to win the World Cup, Brazil getting their campaign underway in a tricky looking Group G, as well as their South American rivals Uruguay starting their campaign alongside the quietly fancied Portugal in Group H.
While Group G is awash with young talent in Brazil, Serbia and Switzerland youngsters, Group H will see a number of stars likely to be playing their final World Cup, such as Luis Suarez, Edinson Cavani, Diego Godin of Uruguay and of course Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal.
Both groups are interesting for very different reasons and there are some interesting trends I’ve identified for some of the teams involved in games this week which make intriguing reading, especially from the betting perspective.
I’m going to give you a fuller review of my first five days set of tips in tomorrow’s article so for now, let’s take a look at this final set of opening matches in the Group Stage for the teams in Groups G and H.
*Venue and Kick Off Time shown in brackets
- Group G – Switzerland v Cameroon (10am, Al Wakrah Sports Complex)
- Group H – Uruguay v South Korea (1pm, Education City Stadium)
- Group H – Portugal v Ghana (4pm, Stadium 974)
- Group G – Brazil v Serbia (7pm, Lusail Stadium)
*all kick off times shown are UK time.
World Cup 2022 Tips – Thursday 24th November
This may not be a game for the football purist, but it is one between two teams that know how to defend and who are capable of springing a surprise or two. Cameroon are famous for their run at Italia 90, where they beat Argentina in the opening game, while Switzerland have pulled off wins against some very big European sides in recent times.
However, while this Swiss team is arguably the most talented in the country’s history, I don’t feel this Cameroon side has the same qualities of some of the others of the past who have included stars like Roger Milla, Thomas N’Kono and Samuel Eto’o amongst their ranks. There are no superstars in this Indomitable Lions team.
As such, I think they are going to struggle in this group, especially when you consider Serbia and Brazil are their other two opponents. So things won’t get easier for Cameroon here, but by the same token, Switzerland will know that a win here is a must if they are to stand a realistic chance of qualifying from the group.
I have a sneaky feeling the Swiss may do better than expected in this tournament and they have a strong, experienced and well-organised squad, so I am backing them to get off to a winning start here with a narrow win by no more than a 1-0 or 2-0 scoreline.
Uruguay have one of the most experienced squads in the World Cup with a number of players, such as Godin, Suarez and Cavani, playing well into their mid-30s. This is almost certainly the last hurrah for these players and they will certainly want to go out with a bang.
South Korea have a major injury concern ahead of this game with Son’s facial injury potentially meaning he could miss this opening game, or may have to play with a mask. His potential absence would be a huge blow to this Korean side who have picked up some solid results of late in their warm up games.
Both these teams are pretty solid defensively and both, when Son is fit at least, have a really strong and good quality attack. For me though, this game will be decided in midfield where I think the likes of Betancur and Valverde should get the better of their Korean opponents.
I’m pretty sure we won’t see a lot of goals here – both teams are too good defensively for that, but I do feel that a 2-0 win for Uruguay is on the cards, or a 1-1 draw is also a possibility if Korea can get that first goal and as such, I am going for the total goals bet here.
This should be an intriguing match up as Portugal’s talented squad take on a Ghana side that is one of the stronger African nations in recent times. That said, I feel this Ghana side is not as talented as some of those that have been in previous World Cup tournaments.
In the past they have been able to call upon some huge talent like Mikael Essien, Abedi Pele and Asamoah Gyan to name but three, but I don’t see anyone near the calibre of those three players in this squad and the Ayew brothers remain their most potent and experienced attacking options and I don’t think they will faze Portugal.
In contrast, Portugal may have lost Diogo Jota, but they have a squad packed with talent in the likes of Leao, Andre Silva, Bernardo Silva and of course Cristiano Ronaldo. However, these players tend to play in a very strict way that emphasises defence and as such, in big games, Portugal can find goals difficult to come by.
Opening games in World Cup tournaments are key for teams and so they tend to be cagey, if this was the second or third game in the group, I’d go with a 2-3 goal win for Portugal, but in this opener, I am going to play it more safe and back Portugal to land a 1-0 win.
These two teams met in the 2018 World Cup Finals at the group stage with Brazil winning that game 2-0, their second win in two games against the Serbs. The bookmakers favourites to win the tournament, Brazil have a squad that has such incredible depth that they are the envy of almost every team at the tournament.
It’s telling that in the list for first goalscorers in this game, there are TEN Brazilian players listed before the first Serbian star, Aleksandar Mitrovic. That does tend to show the quality that Brazil possess, certainly in an attacking sense and they are also stacked defensively too.
However, I am not going to dismiss Serbia from this equation. They can be tough to beat and in Vlahovic and Mitrovic, they have strikers who are more than capable of scoring against any team in the world. And if Brazil start sloppily, then they can punish the South American team.
Backing a Brazil win wasn’t really worth it given the short odds, so I’ve turned to the anytime scorer market here and my feeling is that Brazil will play with a three-man attack with Real Madrid winger Vinicius Jr. part of that trio and he is a decent value bet to score in this game.
*Tips are exactly that tips (predictions) and do not guarantee success.