By Antony Jordan
And then there were eight! We’re into the World Cup Quarter Finals now and there are just eight sides remain with the chance to lift one of the most famous trophies on the planet. The first day of last eight matches sees two massive games as Uruguay and France meet before Brazil take on Belgium in a day that promises two close and thrilling clashes.
We preview both games with online sportsbook Intertops.eu to bring you our thoughts and best World Cup Picks.
Uruguay v France: 4.40 – 3.05 – 1.95
The South Americans may be the outsiders in this match according to Intertops, but they do have the better history in meetings with the French, having never lost to them. The teams have met six times since the 1966 World Cup where Uruguay secured a 2-1 victory in the group stages while the last five meetings have happened in the last 16 years. These five games have produced just a single goal where La Celeste triumphed 1-0 in the last meeting in a 2013 friendly match as Luis Suarez netted the winner. All of the five games between 2002 and 2012, including the meetings at the 2002 and 2010 World Cups, have ended 0-0. Will this match buck the trend of very few goals being scored between these two sides?
Uruguay look good from a defensive perspective as they have conceded just one goal in their four matches in Russia as they defeated Egypt and Saudi Arabia 1-0 in their first two games before seeing off Russia 3-0 to top Group A. They found themselves up against against Portugal in the last 16 stage and impressed as they eliminated them and Cristiano Ronaldo with a 2-1 victory as Edison Cavani bagged both goals. Many people have underestimated Uruguay for this tournament and they are showing that they deserve to be in with a chance at making the final four stage, but can they overcome France?
The French have not performed at their best in Russia so far, but they have passed through to the Quarter Final stage with relative ease. They saw off Australia and Peru by a single goal in their first two group matches before resting players and drawing 0-0 with the Danes to move them into a match with Argentina in the last 16 stage. That match was one of the games of the tournament so far as They came from 2-1 down to triumph 4-3 as key players Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe netted three of these goals. This will boost their confidence and the belief of France to make the Semi Finals and Intertops are backing them to win this match.
We are in agreement with the sportsbook too as we feel that the 4-3 win over Argentina will give them the confidence to see off another South American side in this match too. Uruguay will provide a goal threat in this match too though and we see a close game with plenty of goals being scored so we are combining the two of these options for our bet on this Uruguay v France game as the pattern of few goals between the sides is shattered.
Our Uruguay v France Super Pick is back France to win AND Both Teams to Score – Yes @ 5.50 in the Intertops Sportsbook!
Brazil v Belgium: 2.10 – 3.25 – 3.50
Belgium will be hoping that lightning does not strike twice this Friday as they face Brazil for the first time since the last 16 stage of the 2002 World Cup when Rivaldo and Ronaldo bagged the goals that saw Brazil triumph on their way to lifting the title in Japan. They will be boosted by how they came back against Japan to book their place in this match as they netted in injury time to come from 2-0 down to win 3-2, but will it be enough for them to see off their conquerors from 16 years ago?
That victory against Japan in the last round was not the best of performances from Belgium, but how they responded to going behind certainly showed another side to the side. They had three relatively easy games in the group stage as they defeated Panama 3-0 and Tunisia 5-2 before seeing off a rested England 1-0 to top Group G, but not until the last 30 minute of the Japan game did they have to dig deep and perform to their best.
Brazil have not had to face this kind of test yet as they struggled to get out of first gear in the group stages. They drew 1-1 with Switzerland after taking the lead in that game before needing late goals to defeat Costa Rica 2-0. They did beat Serbia easily in the final game 2-0 to move into the knockout stage where their ruthlessness in front of goal saw them triumph 2-0.
Brazil are creating chances and, as the Tunisia and Japan games showed, there is the possibility to score against Belgium. Belgium are a better team than Switzerland and Costa Rica who caused Brazil all sorts of problems at the start of the tournament so we certainly see goals being scored at the Kazan Arena in this match. Either of these sides can win this match, which again promises to be a thriller, but we feel that goals offers the best value in this game.
Our best Brazil v Belgium bet is back Over 2.5 goals to be scored at odds of 2.00 with Intertops.