RECAP: Argentina 1-2 Saudi Arabia
Argentina went into the game with a 36-unbeaten game, and all the big names played.
In the preview, we predicted a big result for Argentina, especially when you think of the Saudi team in which everyone plays in their national league, and nobody plays in Europe.
They started the World Cup against Russia with a 5-0 defeat, and they were beaten 8-0 in 2002 as well in their opening game against Germany. They were up against the third-best team or third-ranked best team in the World with that phenomenal run coming off the Copa America and the Finalissima against Italy, in which they played really well.
Obviously, when Messi got a chance in the first minute, you thought the floodgates might open, and then they got the penalty which was a soft penalty. I don’t actually think it was. They went 1-0, and all of a sudden, the Saudis continued to play the high line, a dangerous game to play, but they got away with it by catching the opposition offside a couple of times. They managed to get in halftime by the skin of their teeth at 1-0, and obviously, Renard his team talks are famous, and they came out in the second half. The first 15-20 minutes, they were outstanding.
The first goal for Saudi Arabia was Messiesque, but again the Argentinians got themselves to blame, sloppy deafening sloppy play. Credit to Saudis who capitalised on anything that fell for them at the edge of the box and took full advantage. It was Saudi’s day, and they ran out 2-1 winners.
RECAP: England 6-2 Iran
My thoughts were that England is an interesting team to watch and that they changed away from the three at the back.
England came into the tournament on the back of six poor results. I also questioned Gareth Southgate’s selections in a number of areas, and it was interesting to see which personality he was going for; was Maguire gonna play, was Stones to be involved, and would Trent come in?
But as a team, the formation surprised me, but I think if you look at the performance, it was a really, really solid professional performance. A bit unlike England, to be honest.
I know Southgate is a bit pragmatic in his approach, certainly in group games. The quality they faced was poor, Iran looked poor, but you have to beat what’s put in front of you. I thought that there were some outstanding performances.
I think a standout for me was Jude Bellingham, who I thought was absolutely fantastic and could be the star of the tournament if he continues in that form.
Match Preview: England vs USA
England vs the USA could be an interesting one.
The USA got the draw against Wales, who will be kicking themselves after that result.
There was a really good opportunity there to take three points. England, after the game against Iran, will be the favourites to win the group. As for the USA, they will settle for second place, knowing that they can be in a prime position to do so.
Against Wales, the USA could not hold on. Tactical changes made the difference in the game and might have gone on to win the game as well. The USA team showed some great energy in the first half, pressing high and causing problems, and I would imagine they will do the same against England. I don’t think that they got anything to lose. I think it will be a very high-energy performance and a young team as well. The game management in the second half has let them down.
I think against that 6-2 result against Iran, England will take a lot of confidence from it. Some drawbacks from it that they still conceded twice against a poor Iran side who will give confidence to the US team.
I think it will be a close first half like the Wales game against the USA, but I think England have got too much quality. I’m gonna go for a 3-1 win for England and Harry Kane to score a couple, who surprised me by not scoring against Iran and also Jude Bellingham to get another goal.
- England to win 3-1 is available at 11/1 (12/1)
- Harry Kane to score at any time is available at 11/10 (2.10)
- Jude Bellingham to score at any time is available at 21/4 (6.25)
Match Preview: Wales vs Iran
I haven’t seen anything from Iran to suggest that they can go up against Wales and get a result.
I think they have one of the oldest teams of the tournament and a lot of things going on pre-tournament, which affects the players mentally.
The coach has taken responsibility late on, and he has a lot of things to do. It was a very disappointing result against England. He would have wanted it to be a little bit closer, I think, but Wales have gotten a really good opportunity now to get the three-point now that we think England will beat the USA.
I would put them in a prime position, as if England beat the USA, there will be plenty of changes for the England-Wales game, presenting the Welsh with a great opportunity.
The second-half performance against the USA was much improved. Moore, who came on as a substitute, offered more options to his side up top.
I am going for a 2-0 win for Wales, with Harry Wilson to get on the scoresheet.
- A 2-0 win for Wales against Iran is available at 17/2 (9.50)
- Harry Wilson to score at any time is available at 30/7 (5.30)
Match Preview: Netherlands vs Ecuador
Everything was going perfectly here in Qatar, before the Ecuadorians spoiled the party, and everything went a bit flat.
So yeah, everything is going fine for them I think going into this game against Holland provides a different proposition. I was disappointed in Qatar, and I think they were a bit overwhelmed with the whole occasion the Qatari’s.
The Ecuadorians will face a different challenge against Holland. They are a more compact team who have done okay against Senegal.
Senegal were missing their talisman Sadio Mane, and it really showed in that final third. They did not have that cutting edge and didn’t create anything against the Dutch. An hour in the game just went flat. With 0-0, both sides were going to play out a draw.
A mistake from Mendy coming out of his box, presenting a golden chance to Gakpo, who nodded above him. Then Senegal had to go out and see if they could snatch an equaliser, but they ended up conceding another.
All in all, it was a good night for the Dutch, who did not play with Depay or Berghuis, who will be available for selection against Ecuador. A big game, which I expect the Dutch to win and again, I am going for a 2-0 win and Depay to score anytime.
- A 2-0 win for the Netherlands is available at 7/1 (8.00)
- Depay to score at any time is available at 22/15 (2.47)
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*Odds subject to change. Odds correct at time of publishing