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world cup 2018

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Odds on England to beat Croatia – Betting Preview, World Cup 2018

England vs Croatia - World Cup 2018

Croatia v England World Cup 2018, 11th July – 7.00 p.m

One game from reaching the World Cup Final. Who would have dreamed of that ahead of the tournament? It has been a tremendous tournament from Gareth Southgate’s young charges regardless of the outcome of this fixture. The Odds on England to beat Croatia though see the Three Lions as 11/8 favourites* (betting odds were taken from July 8th, 2018 at 2:07 am) to win this duel and so now there is expectancy in England. But they were favourites in both of their knockout stage games and they have held good so far. Can they take this summer adventure one step further?

Croatia vs England Odds*

England 11/8
Draw 21/10
Croatia 5/2
* (Betting Odds were taken from bet365 on July 8th, 2018 at 6:46 p.m.)

What you have seen from England at the 2018 World Cup has been commitment. In spades. Granted the overall quality when you look back over their five games may not have been there to the level of some of the other remaining teams in the semi finals, but they have stuck to their identity. England have played with energy, a positive mindset in getting the ball down and getting it forward quickly.

They have been brave at the back and they have had their captain Harry Kane stand up to be counted time and again. Harry Kane, who is leading the race for the Golden Boot is at 10/3 odds in the bet365 first goalscorer market for this semi-final* (betting odds were taken from July 8th, 2018 at 2:07 am). In the group stage, we saw a never-give-up attitude in searching for their winner of Tunisia. They romped to a big success over Panama and while they lost their non-contest against Belgium in their final group stage match, it didn’t disrupt their momentum.

Having rested their main players for that Belgium game, England came in fresh for the knockout stage and showed character in not crumbling after conceding a stoppage-time equaliser against Colombia. Then the Three Lions held their nerve to create history in delivering England’s first ever penalty shootout win at a World Cup. That says a lot about this group and their self-belief, teamwork and composure.

England looked strong and solid in their quarter-final against Sweden and never did you get the sense that they were going to be in trouble in that game. They weren’t as they won 2-0 although that first clean sheet can be hugely credited to keeper Jordan Pickford who had a stunning game between the sticks when he was called upon. He only had three shots all match to save, but they were all spectacular stops from the Everton man.

Both teams not to score at bet365 is at 7/10 odds* (betting odds were taken from July 8th, 2018 at 2:07 am) for the Croatia v England semi-final. This is just the third World Cup semi-final for England in their history and their previous appearances have yielded one win and a loss. The win was in their 1966 title campaign and their loss was against Germany in 1990 which was before most of the current England squad was even born. So history is within touch for this young England side, can they take their chance?

England are W4 D1 L1 in their last six games and have lost just one of their last fifteen played since the start of last September. This World Cup has already been a bigger success than many would have predicted and they do have reasons to be confident. The Three Lions have been fantastic from set pieces and have scored from 10 of their last 13 shots on target at this tournament. It may not have been high-quality stuff from England, but it has been high energy and high excitement and they have scored at least two goals in four of their last six.

Croatia have the quality

Croatia played so well in the group stage and they looked as if they could have a deep run after they beat Argentina so convincingly in their second match. But did they run out of steam too early? They haven’t hit their performance levels since then and struggled to a 1-1 draw against Denmark in their round of sixteen match. Croatia had been heavily tipped to win that game comfortably, but they looked as if they just went into their shell or couldn’t handle the pressure of the knockout stage.

After getting through on a penalty shoot-out, they were once again favourites as they faced surprise package Russia in the quarter finals. Again Croatia had a fight on their hands as they were taken to a penalty shootout. That game ended 1-1 at 90 minutes and 2-2 at 120 minutes. The 1-1 draw at bet365 in the correct score market is at 5/1 odds* (betting odds were taken from July 8th, 2018 at 2:07 am).

Again they took their chances in a penalty shootout to get rid of the host nation. So Croatia have had a lot of extra work to do and they aren’t the youngest of sides which could work against them as they face England’s young, energetic side. But the one thing that Croatia does have is quality and Luka Modric in the midfield has had a stunning tournament. England have to find a way to deal with him and the very strong Croatia midfield. Croatia have not played well in the knockout phase but they are still in this and are unbeaten in six now (W4 D2).

Croatia v England Predictions

We are going with England to sneak this over ninety minutes. England have plenty of pace in their ranks and their set pieces are working well. Croatia haven’t impressed over their last couple of games and while they are technically better than England by a fair bit, England look full of self-belief and can find a winner from somewhere.

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Odds on Belgium to beat France – Betting Preview, World Cup 2018

France vs Belgium - World Cup 2018

France v Belgium World Cup 2018, 10th July – 7.00 p.m

Belgium have already knocked out a tournament favourite and they will have to pull off a repeat of that if they want to book their place in the 2018 World Cup Final. The Red Devils produced a stunning first-half display in their quarter-final to get the better of Brazil and now they are going to need to stay dialled-in as they go as underdogs against the French. France are looking more and more comfortable as the tournament progresses but they will know that they have been in a scrap in this semi-final.

France vs Belgium Odds*

France 6/4
Belgium 11/5
Draw 11/5
* (Betting Odds were taken from bet365 on July 6th, 2018 at 11:22 p.m.)

Belgium are the top scorers at the 2018 World Cup having netted 14 goals in their five games up to the semi-final stage. When you are scoring as freely as that you can get away with the odd defensive mistake or two. Belgium were nothing spectacular in their group stage at all but they did top their group. After winning their opening two games against Panama and Tunisia, things boiled down to a game against England. Both had qualified and neither looked as if they wanted to win that game because of going into Brazil’s section of the draw.

Belgium did win and it looked as if they may have shot themselves in the foot. Especially when they found themselves 2-0 down in the second half of their contest against Japan in the round of sixteen. Belgium had to just go direct in the game and hit their big men up front to rescue that situation and they managed to eventually turn it around. They avoided extra time in the game when Nacer Chadli slotted home for a 3-2 win in stoppage time. Then came what was supposed to be their watershed. A game against Brazil in the quarter finals.

But Belgium boss Roberto Martinez shook things up. He changed tactics. He changed formation and he changed personnel. It worked a treat as Belgium produced one of the best halves of football by any team at this tournament to take a 2-0 lead at halftime. While they had to dig in during the second half, and Brazil did get one back, the Belgians always looked a threat on the counter attack. There were big games from the likes of Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku and notably Kevin de Bruyne, who was used in a more forward role for this time during this tournament.

If that is the Belgium that can turn up again as they take on France then they will be a threat in this one. It is a semi-final though at the World Cup and a Belgium 1-0 option is at 17/2 odds with bet365* (Betting Odds were taken from July 6th, 2018 at 11:22 p.m.). Without question they do have the scoring form as they netted at least three goals in five of their last seven wins. Incidentally, Belgium are on a seven-match winning streak now and the last time they suffered a defeat was way back against Spain in a 2016 friendly international. It is not form to be argued with and they have their match winners in their ranks and we have already named a few.

Romelu Lukaku had his best game of the tournament against Brazil, without even getting on the scoresheet. France’s defence may well come under some pressure from the Manchester United man if he starts putting himself about. Lukaku is at 6/4 odds in the bet365 anytime goalscorer market* (Betting Odds were taken from July 6th, 2018 at 11:22 p.m.) for this semi-final showdown. Hazard meanwhile has been one of the best, most consistent performers of all players at the tournament and should be in the running for the Golden Ball.

France a threat

Of course, Les Bleus are a threat in this one. They have gotten better and better as the tournament has worn on and they have dumped out South American opposition too along the way. They took outArgentina in the round of sixteen and then got past Uruguay. So they are handling themselves well and have so much talent in their squad, more so than Belgium really, that someone is always like to come good for them. If it’s not Paul Pogba, it’s Antoine Griezmann. If it’s not him then Olivier Giroud. If not Giroud and then Kylian Mbappe. They have tremendous options.

However, they looked really average in the opening stages of the tournament. But of the two nations here as well, Belgium are the more likely of the two to not get things together. They have liked disjointed at times, players looking unsure of how to connect with those around them. But the Red Devils got it so right against Brazil that France will have to be worried by what they saw in that game. France have a pretty slick attack as well and we can see goals at both ends so both teams to score is a good option at 4/5 odds* (Betting Odds were taken from July 6th, 2018 at 11:22 p.m.).

France v Belgium Predictions

France have definitely grown into the competition, but Belgium will have renewed belief after finding a system that infinitely improved their performance levels. That win over Brazil has to have done something big for the Belgians and they should be fearless here and they can really fulfil some potential of getting through to the Final.

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Odds on Croatia to beat Russia – Betting Preview, World Cup 2018

Russia v Croatia- World Cup 2018

Russia v Croatia World Cup 2018, 7th July – 3.00 p.m

Who will be the ones to stop Russia at their own tournament? The Russians sprung a huge surprise by eliminating Spain in the last round and next up to play against them is Croatia. The odds-on Croatia to be Russia has Croatia at 5/4 odds favourites* (Betting Odds were taken from July 2nd, 2018 at 6:13 p.m.). Will they be able to complete the job or will the Russians and produce another epic defensive effort?

Russia vs Croatia Odds*

Croatia 5/4
Draw 21/10
Russia 29/10
* (Betting Odds were taken from bet365 on July 2nd, 2018 at 6:13 p.m.)

Croatia started the 2018 World Cup as one of the strong dark horses to come through the field and so far they have lived up to the billing. There really wasn’t a team who performed better than they did during the group stage, capped off with that stunning 3-0 victory over Argentina along the way. But when it came to their round of sixteen tie against Denmark, Croatia strangely went into their shell a bit as they adopted an air of caution instead of sticking to their positive strengths.

Croatia to get back to form

The quality in the Croatia ranks is unquestionable. They have it in them, but some of their big players just didn’t show up against Denmark. Croatia were the heavy favourites for that game and maybe the pressure told because at previous tournaments we have seen them look so good in the group stage and then fall flat in the knockouts. But now with that pressure out of the way having defeated Denmark on penalties, that could be a good thing in waking them up to rediscover their better form.

They have the quality to play so much better than they did in the last round and they will be able to take control of this game. The Croatia midfield is superb and they are likely to keep Russia pressed back. Even though Croatia and Russia had to go through extra time in their respective round of sixteen games, of the two Russia looked out on their feet as they took a penalty shootout win over Spain. That is because they just defended for 120 minutes and that was exhausting for them.

Strengths of Croatia to stifle hosts

If Russia just plans to show up and defend against Croatia then they are likely to get hurt. That defensive mindset is not easy to perform match after match. Croatia have the quality in the middle of the park to open them up and a Croatia 1-0 correct score option at 5/1* (betting odds taken from July 3rd, 2018 at 00:57 a.m.) takes our fancy for this one. Croatia are in good form with a W4 D1 record in their last five (90 minutes) and they scored at least two goals in each of those four victories in that sequence. But we are going with the 1-0 option for Croatia, just because of how cautious they were in the last round and how little of a threat Russia are likely to be in this game.

Will Croatia be able to handle themselves as favourites once again? Luka Modric has been one of the stars of the tournament and the more they get him on the ball, the better off they will be. Russia won’t be as organised and physically tough to deal with as Denmark were for Croatia so that should help the Croatians settle into their rhythm a little bit better. While Modric is Croatia’s top scorer at the tournament it is Mario Mandzukic who is the 5/1 in the first goalscorer favourite for this fixture* (betting odds taken from July 3rd, 2018 at 00:57 a.m.).

If you look at Croatia’s extended form it is eight wins in their last thirteen matches (D3 L2) so they are pretty much on point there. No, they were not at their best against Denmark, but that means that they can play a lot better still. Croatia finished third back in the 1998 World Cup and with the draw ahead, there’s a decent chance that they could get close to at least replicate that. At the time of writing they had been moved into 6/1 odds* (betting odds taken from July 3rd, 2018 at 00:57 a.m.) to win the World Cup outright.

Russia v Croatia Predictions

Croatia are the most value in the match outright to make it through to the semi finals from this tie. The Russians did look tired after their efforts against Spain and Croatia will move the ball around well and take even more out of their legs. The extra quality of Croatia will tell in the end and the odds-on Croatia to beat Russia offer enough value to back them in the match outright

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World Cup Quarter Final Predictions and Odds 2018

Betting Events

Just eight teams remain at the 2018 World Cup and excitingly England are one of those. After their intense and epic success against Colombia in the last round, the Three Lions are in at 4/1 odds to win the tournament outright now, which makes them second joint favourites alongside France.

For being a fairly hefty outside chance at the start of the tournament, England are now in with a realistic shot of at least making the final four and within touching distance of glory. Of the four teams remaining in the bottom half of the draw heading into the quarter-finals, England are the only previous World Cup winners there.

But it is the mighty Brazil who remains the 11/4 outright favourites to win the 2018 World Cup and the only way that England would meet the Selecao now would be in the Final and what an occasion that would be. Here we look ahead to the four quarter-final matches taking place at Russia 2018, with two taking place on Friday and the remaining two, including England’s game against Sweden, being played on Saturday.

The field is about to be cut in half once again who will be left standing?

World Cup 2018 outright winner odds*

Brazil 11/4
France 4/1
England 4/1
Croatia 6/1
Belgium 6/1
Uruguay 16/1
Russia 20/1
Sweden 25/1
* (betting odds taken from July 4th, 2018 at 10

Sweden v England

And all European tie here for the quarter-finals and the winner of this will move ahead to face the winner of Croatia v Russia. Sweden have had a pretty solid tournament and realistically they probably would have seen a quarter-final place as being an outstanding return for them ahead of the tournament. One of the big assets of Sweden has been their sheer work rate and team unity. In this post-Zlatan Ibrahimovic era Sweden really don’t have a big world-class talisman to look to. But what they do have is a tremendous understanding of their responsibilities as members of a team. They come together so well and we have seen at this tournament how defensively strong they can be having taken a clean sheet in all but one of their fixtures so far. Sweden went up against Switzerland in the round of 16 and produced a 1-0 win but they had a hat full of chances in that game but just lack the quality up front to finish their chances. They did also give up a lot of chances in that game which will give England some hope in this one.

Sweden got through their round of 16 tie in 90 minutes, whereas England had to go through the extra time and then the pressure of a penalty shootout to get past Colombia. There was a lot to enjoy about England’s performance, notably how well they kept their control as the South Americans throughout plenty of spoiling tactics in the game. There are a couple of issues still with England side notably that they are not creating very many chances from open play in their matches, and they still have not collected a clean sheet at the tournament. But they are facing a Sweden side here and don’t have the kind of quality in their forward ranks that England do. The Three Lions have won two of their last three games against Swedes. Situations like this are naturally going to be tense and without question, this looks as if it will be a very low scoring game and chances will probably be at a premium. Set pieces could be the key to producing a winner in this fixture.

Sweden v England prediction

We are rolling with the England 1-0 correct score option at 9/2 odds* (betting odds taken from July 5th, 2018 at 7:50 pm) to make it through to the semi-finals. England battled well against Colombia and so nearly got over the line with a clean sheet and in a tight game against Sweden we are just back in the extra quality that England have going forward to make the difference.

Uruguay v France

Their always looked a reasonable shot that Uruguay would find themselves in the quarter-finals of the 2018 World Cup and here they are having to take on France. The South Americans had a tough battle against Portugal in the last round and although they collected a 2-1 win over the reigning European champions, Uruguay really didn’t get up much of an attacking head of steam at any point in the game. Portugal had the better of things in the second half of the match as well. Uruguay have a tremendous back line and have conceded just the one goal so far at the 2018 World Cup and at the other end of the pitch they have a formidable duo. Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez have scored 98 international goals for Uruguay between them. Cavani though is waiting on his fitness after picking up a calf problem against Portugal, having to come off in the second half. That will be a major blow to Uruguay if he doesn’t make the starting lineup. Again this is a quarter-final of the World Cup and we are expecting another low scoring game here so under 1.5 goals is well worth considering at 6/4 odds* (betting odds taken from July 5th, 2018 at 7:50 pm).

France have slowly grown into the tournament and they produced their best football so far in beating Argentina 4-3 in the round of 16. For all of the quality that the French do have in their squad it has been somewhat of a muted experience for them at Russia 2018, not really hitting the heights that have been expected of them. But this is tournament football and it really doesn’t matter as what matters is the result, and they are here in the quarter-finals and a big threat. France had young Kylian Mbappe step up to the plate against Argentina netting a brace for Les Bleus and will just be interesting overall to see what reaction the French have to that win against Lionel Messi and co. Rhat really should have put some extra pep in their step and they will be facing a side here who will be happy enough to sit back against them so France will see plenty of the ball. They may just all come down to a matter of patience for France and finding that touch of creativity to pull themselves through.

Uruguay v France prediction

We see France finding a way to get through this contest but they will certainly be pushed all the way by Uruguay. Without a doubt, Uruguay have a much stronger defence than Argentina had and it would not be a huge surprise if this went to extra time. But we are going to make a call on Uruguay tiring a bit in the second half and that allowing France to strike. A draw/France half-time/full-time option is at 10/3 odds* (betting odds taken from July 5th, 2018 at 7:50 pm).

Brazil v Belgium

The Brazilians have looked very untroubled on their path to the quarter-finals of the 2018 World Cup. They did have a couple of struggles early on in the group stage but not being finding themselves under pressure at all, just about them finding the creativity to break through the defences of Switzerland and Costa Rica. Brazil have won their last three games by a 2-0 scoreline now at this tournament and while they look explosive in breaking forward with pace that they have, really the standout feature of that Brazil are portrayed is their defence. Brazil have conceded one goal only in their last nine games and that is going to be a tough thing for Belgium to overcome. Brazil are just so lethal on the break with their pace and they look so strong and solid as a unit and there has been no question about them looking disjointed or anything out of place. They are on a long unbeaten run of form with plenty of wins in the bag and they are justifiable favourites to win this game even though they are not odds-on to do so.

At the start of the 2018 World Cup, you would have probably predicted this Brazil v Belgium quarter-final as both were favourites to win their respective groups. In doing so would have wondered whether or not Belgium, who have the potential to be such an exciting side, would be the ones that could stop Brazil. We will be finding out on the weekend as the two meet up but one of the notable differences between the two sides is how Belgium have looked more like a collection of individuals than a cohesive team. Granted they have unquestionable quality in their ranks and they themselves pose a great threat on the counter-attack. But in between all the goals that they have managed to come up with at the tournament there have been some really poor and disjointed performances such as in their first-half against Panama and during their mighty struggle that they had against Japan in the round of 16. Hitting the panic button is what helped Belgium survive against the blue Samurai but if they get themselves into trouble like that against Brazil and they will find the South Americans far less forgiving. Belgium have their strengths, they are are very solid in defence, they have world-class talent in Eden Hazard and Kevin de Bruyne going forward and they have the big physical presence Romelu Lukaku. Can Belgium piece it all together on the day to cause a huge upset?

Brazil v Belgium prediction

We just do not seem Belgium matching up to the overall quality and team unity that Brazil have. The Belgians have their strengths and qualities but they are prone to churning out the odd slack performance. Brazil will be able to teach them a thing or two about playing as a team and we see the Selecao getting through and they are value in the match outright to do so.

Russia v Croatia

Russia probably never expected to find themselves in the quarter-finals of this World Cup on home soil. A fast start in the group stage saw them comfortably qualify for the knockout phase but they were heavy underdogs in the round of 16 tie against Spain. While the Russians decided to play only a defensive game against Spain, they deployed those defensive tactics ever so well and really negated the threat of the Spaniards over the 120 min played. It all boiled down to a penalty shootout which the Russians held their nerve to win. What will they come up with in this game to try and sedate Croatia? It will probably be more of the same from the Russians because just back in the group stage they lost their final match heavily three-nil against Uruguay so there are defensive vulnerabilities are there. So we are unlikely to see Russia really come out of their shell in this one and under 2.5 goals is at 19/40 odds at bet365* (betting odds taken from July 5th, 2018 at 7:50 pm).

We have seen two sides of Croatia so far at the 2018 World Cup. They were following with confidence and playing some brilliant stuff in the group stage where they won all three of their matches, including that big 3-0 win over Argentina. That was the true potential of Croatia but they decided to keep a lid on all of that as they took on Denmark in the round of 16. Croatia just bottled themselves up and took a far more pragmatic and conservative approach to that knockout stage fixture against the Danes. They managed to pull themselves through by a penalty shootout in the end but that will have been are very be a wake-up call for them that they can’t play like that because there is too much risk inboard. They need to regather themselves and we can see them getting back to their best in this game because they have the midfield that can run the show in this fixture. They do lack a little bit up front but they are likely to carve out some chances to move ahead to the semi finals and end the Russian dream.

Russia v Croatia prediction

We are all over Croatia for this game because we don’t see the Russians having enough to take them down. Russia ran themselves into the ground in their tie against Spain and even though Croatia had extra time in their round of 16 match, the Russians looked worse for wear with the extra period having been played. We are backing Croatia and potentially with a clean sheet as well.

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Odds on France to beat Uruguay – Betting Preview, World Cup 2018

Uruguay v France- World Cup 2018

Uruguay v France World Cup 2018, 6th July – 3.00 p.m

After seeing France hit their stride in their round of 16 tie against Argentina, Uruguay will know that they have to bring all of their defensive strength and organisation to this quarter-final tie. France came from a goal down against Argentina to seal their place in the final eight, while Uruguay were hanging on in their second half against Portugal. The odds on France to beat Uruguay sit at even money with bet365* (betting odds taken from July 2nd, 2018 at 5:22 p.m.).

Uruguay vs France Odds*

France even money
Draw 9/4
Uruguay 7/2
* (Betting Odds were taken from bet365 on July 2nd, 2018 at 5:24 p.m.)

Punters finally got to see a good side of France as they fought back in the round of 16 match at the 2018 World Cup against Argentina. Trailing 2-1 in the game, France had to step it up and they did just that producing a 4-3 win. They did concede a lot of possession in the game to the South Americans, but the French looked very lively quick and concise on the break when they had their chances. Kylian Mbappe was the star of the show as he got France’s last two goals in the game to give them the victory.

Mbappe is the 11/2 odds first goalscorer favourite* (betting odds taken from July 2nd, 2018 at 5:22 p.m.) for this fixture. France are now undefeated in their last eight games and the way that they performed against Argentina will have put some extra wind in their sales because they were a bit flat during the group stage. Now they can really push on but again they will be coming up against a very good Uruguay defence and they may have to be patient. A huge benefit that France have is that they have such a quality bench that they can make a game-changing differences later on in the game.

Tight contest expected

Uruguay will not have that option. So we can see this being tight early on as Uruguay certainly know how to defend. A draw/France half-time/ full-time option is at 7/2 odds* (betting odds taken from July 2nd, 2018 at 5:22 p.m.) and that makes for one of our top predictions for the Uruguay v France game. The history between these two suggests that we are in for a very close contest and throw in the fact that this is a high-pressure situation of the World Cup quarter-final, then it is hard to see the goals flying around.

In the last five meetings between France and Uruguay, there has been just one goal and that’s it. The lone goal in that sequence of matches came from Uruguay in their last meeting which was 2013 friendly. So it is hard to expect a lot in this one even with the amount of goal scoring talent that is going to be on the pitch. Both teams not to score, following the trend of form between these two is at 8/13 odds* (betting odds taken from July 2nd, 2018 at 5:22 p.m.) and makes for another of our top Uruguay v France predictions.

Uruguay tough in defence

A lot of things was expected from France and now they have the chance to build some big momentum and get a step closer to the Final. They will be facing an Uruguay side which is on a seven-match winning streak and who have collected ten clean sheets in their last thirteen games. So that is a suggestion that the South Americans are going to keep things tight in his one and not get rolled over at all. At least in the early stages. Uruguay saw off Portugal in the round of sixteen but saw Edinson Cavani go off injured with a calf problem in the game. So they will be a race to get him fit.

Uruguay are a very tough side to break down and that is just one goal conceded in their last seven games and they pride themselves on their defensive work. They have a tough centre-half pairing of Diego Godin and Jose Gimenez. Uruguay did have to work very hard in their second half against Portugal as they were on the back foot for most of it. That could catch up with them in the second half of this contest, but they will turn up and stay as tight as they can from the first whistle and hope to catch France on the break.

Uruguay v France Predictions

We can see the French getting the job done in this one even though they are probably going to have to be patient to get it. It may take some time for them to break down Uruguay but with Uruguay having looked a bit tired at the end of the second half against Portugal, France can take advantage. The odds on France to beat Uruguay are handsome enough to back the Europeans in the match outright.

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Panama and Poland cost Paddy Power £700,000 in World Cup payouts

Paddy Power

Paddy Power had to fork out a £700,000 payout to punters at the end of the World Cup 2018 Group Stage. On the final day of the group stage fixtures at Russia 2018, most of the attention was on the England v Belgium non-event that was playing itself out. In the other game in Group G on the same day though there was the dead-rubber of Tunisia v Panama which didn’t get quite as much interest.

The meeting in Saransk was a battle to avoid the wooden spoon in the group. Panama were making their World Cup debut at the tournament and got their first ever World Cup goal in their 6-1 defeat against England. But then they got their second with a deflected effort against Tunisia just before halftime to go in 1-0 up at the break. It didn’t stop them losing 2-1, in the end, to be denied their first ever World Cup match win.

But the goal was important for one punters, along with Poland’s lone strike in a 1-0 win over Japan in their final group stage game on the same day. That is because Paddy Power had offered odds of 100/1 prior to the start of the tournament that all 32 teams at the tournament would score at least two goals. That had actually never happened before at a World Cup, but with Panama and Poland’s efforts in the final round of group stage games, history was created

Paddy Power had a costly payout to punters who had taken up the challenge and the biggest of them was one punter who had taken a £150 chance on the wager.

A Paddy Power spokesperson said: “I feel a right Pan-ana after that goal. Panama haven’t given their fans too many reasons to celebrate this tournament, but that strike will be cheered loudly by hundreds of punters across the country.”

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