France can book place in round of 16, while Argentina must strive for three points
Two of the favourites for the World Cup title – France and Argentina – face key clashes this coming Thursday (21 June) as their campaigns gather pace. Didier Deschamps and his French side can secure their passage into the round of 16 with victory over Peru, while Argentina need three points against Croatia if they are to finish top of Group D.
First things first
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France sit top of Group C following a 2-1 win over Australia, and now take on Peru with the round of 16 in sight. Following their performance in Brazil in 2014, when they reached the quarter-finals, the 1998 World Cup winners are on the verge of reaching the knock-out phase for the second tournament in a row.
Sitting pretty at the top of Group C, the French are now priced at just 1.040 to reach the second round, and are also the favourites to top the group at a price of 1.30. Peru, who lost their first game 1-0 to Denmark, are now facing an uphill struggle to progress and are priced at 6.00 to clear the first hurdle, according to Oddsshark.
Peru desperately need a win to give themselves any chance of going further in the competition, and will need to try and play on the front foot. However, looking at the odds for the outcome of this game, it is clear that the South Americans are the underdogs.
Looking at simple bets on the outcome of the match, France are priced at just 1.55 to pick up their second World Cup win. Peru, on the other hand, are at 7.00 to collect three points.
This is the first ever competitive meeting between the sides, meaning there is no history to go on. However, France look to be a vastly superior side to their South American counterparts, and while it is no mean feat predicting an exact score, backing France to win this match 3-0 at 12.00 looks a good option.
Another side in desperate need of three points is Argentina. Their 1-1 draw with Iceland in their first game, coupled with Croatia’s 2-0 win over Nigeria, looks to have blown Group D wide open, for the time being at least.
Those results mean that the South Americans are no longer the favourites to finish top of the group. Their price is now at 2.25, while Croatia are at 1.83 and Nigeria, the only side to have zero points, are now at 8.00 to qualify and reach the round of 16 – they may well need two wins on the bounce to do it.
But Argentina will need Lionel Messi back to his best after a lacklustre display against Iceland. The Barcelona star missed a penalty and the guile we have seen so often from him, and his team suffered as a result.
Croatia now look to be their main rivals for top spot in Group D and this match has taken on pivotal importance. Again, looking at the simple outcome of the match it is Argentina who come in as the favourites, priced at just 2.05 to take all three points, compared to 4.10 for Croatia.
The South Americans have a frail back line, and we could see goals and an entertaining game. If you think Argentina will come from behind to take the points then you can back that outcome at 9.00.
Sergio Aguero got the opening goal of the game against Iceland and he is at 6.00 to open the scoring once again on Thursday. Croatia’s biggest goal threat is forward Mario Mandzukic, who is priced at 3.75 to score at any time during the game and at 8.50 to score either the first or last goal in the match.
With both teams playing attacking football it is probable that each defence will be breached. Back both teams to score at 1.95, or if you think both teams will not score the price drops slightly to 1.80.
It looks like it should be a close game and the odd goal could be enough to snatch the points. Argentina to win by a one goal margin is priced at 3.60, while a one goal swing in Croatia’s favour is priced at 5.00.
Odds: Argentina (2.05), Croatia (4.10), draw (3.40)
2018 FIFA WORLD CUP SECOND ROUND GROUP GAMES
Tuesday, 19 June
7.00pm – (2.15) Russia 3×1 Egypt (4.00)
Wednesday, 20 June
1.00pm – (1.61) Portugal x Morocco (7.00)
4.00pm – (1.16) Uruguay x Saudi Arabia (21.00)
7.00pm – (19.00) Iran x Spain (1.20)
Thursday, 21 June
1.00pm – (1.90) Denmark x Australia (4.60)
4.00pm – (1.55) France x Peru (7.00)
7.00pm – (2.05) Argentina x Croatia (4.10)
Friday, 22 June
1.00pm – (1.20) Brazil x Costa Rica (19.00)
4.00pm – (2.90) Nigeria x Iceland (2.70)
7.00pm – (3.10) Serbia x Switzerland (2.62)
Saturday, 23 June
1.00pm – (1.28) Belgium x Tunisia (13.00)
4.00pm – (6.50) South Korea x Mexico (1.61)
7.00pm – (1.40) Germany x Sweden (9.00)
Sunday, 24 June
1.00pm – (1.18) England x Panama (26.00)
4.00pm – (4.00) Japan x Senegal (2.10)
7.00pm – (3.70) Poland x Colombia (2.10)