The World Cup Quarterfinals will kick off early Friday morning as Brazil and Croatia face off to get things going. It’s time to continue our World Cup odds series with a prediction and pick for the quarterfinals.
The Round of 16 was truly special. It brought all the action one could ask for as there were blowouts, upsets, and even hat tricks. The United States fell to the Netherlands 3-1 while Morocco upset the Spanish with a thrilling penalty shootout. Portugal dominated Switzerland 6-1 as Cristiano Ronaldo came off the bench in favor of Gonçalo Ramos (who has the only hat trick of this tournament). The remaining eight teams are all elite and this weekend should be another classic weekend of soccer.
Here are the World Cup odds, courtesy of FanDuel.
Croatia vs. Brazil
Can The Kockasti make it back to the finals? It starts with taking down the No. 1 team in the world. Captain Luka Modrić and company have the talent to do so, however, it will take an all-out defensive effort. Croatia took down Japan in penalties in the Round of 16 after Ivan Perisic evened the score at one in the 55th minute. Croatia managed to attempt 17 shots during the match and they will need that kind of offense to take down Brazil.
Brazil is primed to head back to the Semi-Finals as they have one of the more favorable matchups of the round. Brazil took it to South Korea last round as they scored four first-half goals. They cruised from there and should have no problem staying on pace against Croatia. The squad is just too talented offensively.
Prediction: Brazil (-750)
Netherlands vs. Argentina
This should be a very even match between two top-eight squads. The Netherlands are the No. 8 team in the World and Argentina are No. 3. If the Dutch want to beat Argentina then they must contain Lionel Messi and Julian Alvarez. They have done most of the damage so far with five combined goals. Messi scored a huge goal to take an early lead and Alvarez sealed the game with his goal in the 57th minute. If Messi shows up and is on pace then Argentina should conceal at least one goal. As for the Dutch, it’s going to take a strong defensive effort to keep them silent.
Prediction: Argentina (-156)
Morocco vs. Portugal
Morocco is the Cinderella story of this tournament. Nobody expected them to be in the quarterfinals yet alone the Round of 16. They took down Spain in penalties and stunned the world last round. They ended up winning Group F which contained Croatia and Belgium. This team is rolling right now but know they must defend their very best to shut down this Portugal attack. Spain scored seven goals in one match earlier in the tournament and Morroco shut them out. If Portugal doesn’t show up, Morocco will take advantage and upset them.
The headlines were on Ronaldo as Ramos scored the hat trick against Switzerland. It’s unclear if Ramos will start again for Ronaldo but after what just happened, I’m sure there won’t be any changes. Portugal really clicked and played as well as they could have against the Swiss and should continue their pace into Saturday. Portugal are seeking their return to the semi’s for the first time since 1966.
Prediction: Portugal (-350)
England vs. France
This will be the best matchup of the weekend. It’s nice that they are saving the best for last as these two top-5 squads are right next to each other in the world standings. France is the No. 4 team in the world as England is right behind at No. 5. They are similar also as they contain a lot of speed and goal-scoring ability.
England is aiming to get right back to the semi’s where they lost to Croatia in 2018 in extra time 2-1. England also lost to Belgium in the third-place game 2-0 but Harry Kane was awarded the Golden Boot. England must show up as they did against Senegal when they won 3-0. France will certainly show up as they are looking to defend their title.
France took down Poland 3-1 in the Round of 16 and Kylian Mbappe scored a brace with his second goal coming in the 91st minute. This team is banged up yet they still prove to be one of the best in the world. It doesn’t matter who steps onto the pitch for France they will find a way to win the match. Expect this to be a high-scoring affair.
Prediction: France (-128)
Round of 16
With zero days in between rounds, the Round of 16 will finish up on Tuesday, Dec. 6. This tournament has moved quickly and has seen a ton of madness so far. These 16 squads remaining are all battling for one of the biggest glories in all of sports. Let’s predict who will move on to the quarterfinals.
A lot of these matchups don’t have the best value on the favorite, however, FanDuel has a ton of prop bets and correct score props you can consider for better value.
Here are the World Cup odds, courtesy of FanDuel.
Netherlands vs. USA
The match we all will be watching will be an early one! Eight years ago the U.S. lost to Belgium in this round and now they have a shot at redemption against another European squad. This won’t be an easy match for the USMNT but it is certainly winnable. The only goal the Americans allowed so far was on a Gareth Bale penalty shot which shows how well they have defended.
The Netherlands are ranked 8th in the world. They are a well-balanced squad that shows a lot of similarities to Belgium. Holland also missed the World Cup four years ago as they aim to win their very first World Cup trophy.
This match will be gritty. I expect it to be low-scoring as all USA matches have been so far. If the USA defense continues to play well then they have a shot at upsetting the Dutch early Saturday morning. However, Holland is an experienced squad compared to the inexperience on the American side. The Dutch should win.
Prediction: Netherlands (-235)
Argentina vs. Australia
Australia certainly shocked many as they placed second in Group D behind the reigning champions France. The Aussies took down Tunisia earlier in the week and defeated Denmark on the 30th. They allowed four goals that all came against France but they proved their worth by shutting out those other two countries. They are massive underdogs against Argentina as they just don’t have the firepower compared to Messi and his squad.
Argentina defeated Poland and Mexico after being upset by Saudi Arabia in the first match to win Group C. SA almost advanced themselves but Poland finished second thanks to a goal difference of just one goal. Argentina should be able to get past the Aussies and face either USA or Netherlands in the quarterfinals.
Prediction: Argentina -1450
France vs. Poland
France looks to continue their dominant run and repeat as champions. This team had a lot of injuries heading into the tournament but have proved that they are still at the top. They won Group D but did lose to Tunisia 1-0 in their final match. France had already clinched their way to the next round and rested many of their starting XI in that defeat. Kylian Mbappe, Oliver Giroud, and Antoine Griezmann are leading the squad which is still a lot of firepower.
Poland is led by Robert Lewandowski and they need him to have a huge game on Sunday. Goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny has balled out also which gives them hope against a dominant offensive attack. If they want to upset France and move on, then they must score at least two goals and have Szczesny keep them in the match. If not, then France will run right through them.
Prediction: France (-1200)
England vs. Senegal
England won Group B after two dominant showings against Iran and Wales. They scored six against Iran and three against Wales but didn’t score against the USA. This is one of the more high-powered attacking teams in the world and should have no problem scoring many against Senegal. England has just as much experience as any team in this tournament and will be a tough out.
Senegal finished second behind the Netherlands in Group A. They took down Ecuador in the final match to clinch their second-ever Round of 16 appearance. Back in 2002, Senegal advanced to the quarterfinals after beating Sweden in extra time. This nation is playing with a lot of pride but will have to play their best ever to get past England on Sunday. However, Senegal is ranked 18th in the World so they definitely provide the talent capable of making history.
Prediction: England (-550)
Japan vs. Croatia
Japan is the team is seems everyone is rooting for. They came out and took down Spain a few days ago after defeating Germany in the opening match. They finished with six points and ended up winning Group E and sending the Germans home. Spain finished second in that group with four points but made it due to goal difference. Ritsu Doan, Takuma Asano, and Ao Tanaka all have scored goals so far and have a chance at a few more against a Croatian team that has only allowed one goal so far.
Croatia is no joke. We saw that four years ago when they took France toe-to-toe in the World Cup Final. Croatia has the experience and has already proven they can win. This should be one of the more underrated matchups of the entire tournament as you have two squads going at it that always play very hard. Outside of the first two minutes of the game against Canada, Croatia hasn’t allowed a goal this tournament.
I expect Japan to continue their hot run and finally score some goals on this Croatian team.
Prediction: Japan (+156)
Morroco vs. Spain
Did anyone pick Morroco to advance to the Round of 16? I certainly didn’t. Morroco squeezes by after a poor World Cup performance from both Belgium and Canada. Morroco was the worst team in that group but won Group F with seven points and clearly didn’t lose once. Morroco took down Canada and upset Belgium which was the No. 2 team in the world. Don’t be shocked if Hakim Ziyech and his squad can continue this hot run.
Their counterparts are another powerhouse in Spain. Spain is the No. 7 team in the world but haven’t played well since their opening game against Costa Rica. They scored seven goals on them which was the most from any team in this tourney. We all know this squad has offensive firepower and they must keep it going if they want to stop a team playing very well as of late. Spain comes in as the favorite and should find a way to connect with a few goals.
Prediction: Spain (-440)
Brazil vs South Korea
Brazil is the favorite to not only win this match against a firm South Korean squad, but they are the favorite to win the tournament. This team is stacked offensively but hasn’t really demonstrated their goal-scoring prowess. It’s been the defense that has earned them a chance to move on by winning Group G. I certainly expect Neymar, Richarlison, Gabriel Jesus, and the rest of the squad to dominate this match.
South Korea surprised many by advancing after their final match in the group stage. Four points were enough to advance as their four goals were more than Uruguay’s two which was the reason why they moved on. Cho Gue-Sung looks to continue his hot streak after his two goals against Ghana.
Prediction: Brazil (-1200)
Portugal vs. Switzerland
Portugal is through the group stage once again where Ronaldo is desperately trying to win his first World Cup. He isn’t alone, as Bruno Fernandes, Bernardo Silva, Diego Costa, and Pepe have all been a part of that team for years. It’s not an easy one, despite winning Group H. The Swiss have proved themselves in three games and have a chance to upset if Portugal isn’t on their game. Portugal is coming off a loss to South Korea but scored five goals in two wins in the first two matches.
Switzerland really showed up in this tournament so far. They defeated Cameroon 1-0 and lost to a deep Brazil squad 1-0. In their final match, they took down Serbia 3-2 as the Swiss scored an early second-half goal which they eventually held on for the win. If they continue to keep their pace and play as they have, Switzerland has a clear shot at advancing to the quarterfinals.
Prediction: Switzerland (+194)