The Round-of-16 continues on Monday, and there are two more games for the viewer’s pleasure. Four more teams will fight it out for a place in the last eight, but only two can advance. Who will it be?
Two teams from the far east will get down to business in the middle east, as Japan take on Croatia, while pre-tournament favourites Brazil go up against South Korea.
Read for some soccer betting? Read on our World Cup betting previews and tips for Dec 5 games.
Japan vs Croatia
- Croatia 2.10
- Japan 4.00
- Draw 3.25
Monday’s first last-16 encounter sees surprise Group E winners Japan take on Group F runner-up Croatia at Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah.
When the draw was made way back when, few people would have predicted that Japan would top a group containing two international heavyweights in Germany and Spain, but that’s exactly what happened, as Blue Samurai sliced through the competition to come out on top.
In contrast, Croatia, having reached the 2018 World Cup final, were always expected to make it out of Group F and make it out they did. They did so in a rather low-key fashion, picking up two 0-0 draws in the process, but they only conceded one goal, and as has been the case for several years now, they’re anything but easy to get the better of.
The betting ahead of this fixture suggests that Croatia are much the better side, but is that really the case? Anyone who has watched both throughout the tournament so far may feel like a bet on Japan at the current odds offers some value.
Croatia are not easy to beat, they have lots of experience, and they have a team that has developed together over several years. They’re also very good at taking the sting out of games. However, aside from thriving offensively against a Canadian team that was about as open and easy to penetrate as it gets, they’ve struggled to really get going in the final third, failing to score against both Morocco and Belgium.
Then again, Japan haven’t been great defensively, they’ve kept zero clean sheets and have lived on the edge quite a bit. On this basis, ‘Both Teams to Score’ stands out. Yes, the Croats have only scored in one out of three, but they do still have some very experienced and useful attackers, while in Luka Modric, they have a man capable of creating something out of nothing, so we shouldn’t be surprised if they find the net against a Japanese side that is yet to keep a clean sheet.
Hajime Moriyasu’s side have really looked up for the big games, so far, they were excellent at getting forward in numbers and taking their chances against both Germany and Spain, showing enough to suggest that they’re a good bet to unsettle the Croats and at the very least, register on the scoresheet.
- Score Prediction 1-1 Draw
- Both Teams to Score @ 2.10
- Bookmaker: Betfair Canada
Brazil vs South Korea
- Brazil 1.33
- South Korea 11.00
- Draw 5.00
The second World Cup game set for Monday is between Group G winners Brazil and South Korea, who sneaked through as the runner-up in Group H thanks to a 92nd-minute winner against Portugal on match-day three.
Most of the online sportsbooks expected Brazil to win Group G, and even though they lost on match-day three when fielding a changed team, they got the job done with relative ease. However, after coming up short against Cameroon, when priced at 1.33 in the betting, the pressure will now be on them to show what they’re made of.
If we look at their first two games, the Brazilians really do look capable of going deep into the competition. Both Serbia and Switzerland have lots of quality, so the way in which Brazil dominated, gave very little away and got the job done on both occasions was impressive.
It was a bit of a mixed bag from South Korea during the group stages. First time out, they produced some promising forward moments against Uruguay, but they lacked an end product. In the defensive third, they looked rather resolute. Against Ghana, their sturdiness went out of the window, as they conceded three goals. Against Portugal, they were again quite open, but they found the quality in the final third.
It’s probably safe to say that this South Korean team is relatively easy to break down, but they do have some real technical talent, plus they’ve got players capable of brilliant moments in the final third, such as Tottenham’s Heung min Son, who ran the length of the pitch before applying a timely assist for fellow Premier League player Hwang hee Chan at the death against Portugal.
The bet that looks good here is ‘Brazil to Win & Over 2.5 Goals’. Sure, this South Korean team is flying high after upsetting the Portuguese, but we can’t overlook the fact that their opponents were already through, nor can we forget just how poor their defending was against Ghana on match-day two. That display makes it hard to fancy them ahead of a match against a Brazil team that can be very dominant.
We’ve not seen the Samba Boys really light this World Cup up in terms of goal-scoring prowess, but they’ve hinted at their ability to put teams to the sword. The South Koreans lack the defensive solidity that Serbia and Switzerland brought to the party, so this looks like the perfect opportunity for Tite’s men to hit top gear. After all, just before the festivities in Qatar, they scored three and five in victories against Ghana and Tunisia.
The men in yellow will need to be wary of the threat that the likes of Son and Hwang offer on the counterattack, but they should simply have too much firepower for their Asian opponents, especially if the brilliant Neymar is fit enough to be involved, as he is rumoured to be.
- Score Prediction: Brazil 4-1 South Korea
- Brazil to Win & Over 2.5 Goals @ 2.25
- Bookmaker: BetOnline