After a fortnight of fascinating football, half of the teams competing in Brazil are on their way home. Crank up the heat, the knockouts have begun!
This year’s group stage broke records for the frequency of goals and we’re backing that trend to continue with this BTTS treble.
Brazil v Chile. Saturday 5PM
The first of our knockout stage matches sees host nation Brazil take on Chile in what has the potential to be one of the best games of the entire tournament.
Chile have been the surprise package so far, knockout out Spain in Group B to book their place in this all-South American contest. Superb attacking displays against both Spain and Australia prove that Jorge Sampaoli’s men are capable of performing on the big stage and they will certainly fancy their chances against a vulnerable Brazil defence.
The hosts kept just one clean sheet in their three Group A matches and you could argue that all three opponents offered far less resistance than Chile. If Luiz Felipe Scolari’s men show the same shortcomings in Belo Horizonte, then they may need more than one goal to advance to the last eight.
Fortunately for Selecao, though, they have the perfect man to fire them to success in Neymar. The Golden Boy of the World Cup has already hit four goals at this summer’s party and will be highly confident of adding to his personal tally here – with the additional talent of Oscar, Fernandinho, Hulk, Fred, and William amongst their ranks, it would take a brave man to bet on a Chile shutout.
Both teams boast a host of quality attacking stars. With a place in the quarter-finals on offer, we think each side will perform. Expect goals.
BTTS Yes @ 10/11 with William Hill
Uruguay v Colombia. Saturday. 9PM
Another clash between two South American sides sees Uruguay face Colombia in Rio. We’re anticipating a hotly contested fixture between these two rivals.
Both nations are missing their respective star strikers, albeit for very different reasons. While Colombia are coping without the talent of Radamel Falcao, who misses the tournament through injury, Uruguay will be without Luis Suarez under completely contrasting circumstances.
The Liverpool man has been given a four-month football ban for biting Italy’s Girogio Chiellini on Tuesday and those headlines will unquestionably steal all the headlines. However, it is worth noting that Uruguay have scored in all three group matches – even against Costa Rica, when Suarez wasn’t selected.
Meanwhile, Colombi struck an incredible nine goals on route to topping Group C with a maximum nine points. Neither team should be underestimated in this one and we’re predicting a long night in goal for each of the opposing goalkeepers.
BTTS Yes @ Evens with William Hill
France v Nigeria. Monday 5PM
Our BTTS treble selection is completed by Monday’s clash between France and Nigeria.
Les Bleus have looked impressive so far, notching eight goals in their first two games alone before suffering a rare off day in the attacking third against Ecuador on Wednesday. However, we cannot see a repeat of that lackluster showing and would expect much more from Didier Deschamps’ men here.
Five of the six goals scored in Nigeria’s Group F campaign came in their final match against Argentina. However, Wednesday’s 3-2 defeat showed us enough reason to believe the Super Eagles will be amongst the goals at both ends again.
Nigeria may lack the big name players of their African compatriots, but in terms of a team they are the continent’s best and could give France a real run for their money. Nevertheless, the Stephen Keshi’s men really struggled to cope with Lionel Messi and co and France will be hopeful that Karim Benzema can enjoy a similarly enjoyable night here.
France should reach the quarter-final, but Nigeria certainly have the ability to take them all the way. Both teams to score.
BTTS Yes @ Evens with William Hill
The £10 treble pays 76.36 with William Hill