This Thursday, the 15th day of action at the 2018 World Cup this summer, sees the final round of group game action as Groups G and H come to their conclusion. The former of the two groups is already settled as England and Belgium are already in the last 16 stage, but with them facing each other in Kaliningrad who will take the top spot.
Group H will see two of Japan, Senegal and Colombia progress, but who will it be? We preview all of the final four group matches from Russia with online sportsbook Intertops.eu to provide you with our final World Cup Picks from the group stage of the competition.
England v Belgium: 2.80 – 3.10 – 2.65
Aside from a penalty shootout defeat in a 1998 friendly match, England have never lost to Belgium, securing draws at the 1954 World Cup and 1980 European Championships before David Platt scored a fantastic goal in the 120th minute of their knockout match to triumph in extra time. Their last two meetings, in 1999 and 2012, have also seen England secure one goal victories in friendly games and with them having won their two matches in Russia so far they will be confident for this match too.
England defeated Tunisia with an injury time winner in their opening match in a style that is the opposite of what they usually do before they thumped Panama 6-1 to record their biggest win in World Cup history. England have made good usage of set pieces in Russia and in Harry Kane, who has netted five goals in two matches so far, they have the competitions highest goalscorer so they certainly have goals in them for this match.
Belgium do also as they defeated Panama 3-0 after a slow start that saw the sides level at half time before cruising past a deflated Tunisia with a 5-2 victory. This number of goals has seen them score and concede as many goals as England and with the English having better fair play ratings they will need to win this clash to finish top of the group. They too have goals in them with Eden Hazard having scored twice and Romelu Lukaku has four goals so they too have goals in the side.
With both teams having stated that they will rest players for the knockout stages we feel that either of the teams could win this match in their first clash with ‘real’ opposition. Both will want to prove themselves, as will the drafted in players who want to keep the momentum going, so we see a competitive clash with plenty of goals to keep us entertained.
Our England v Belgium Super Pick is back Over 2.5 goals @ 2.05 at Intertops.eu.
Panama v Tunisia: 4.25 – 3.65 – 1.80
The Mordovia Arena in Saransk hosts the first ever meeting of Panama and Tunisia this Thursday with both sides aiming to to record their first points of the tournament and avoid finishing bottom of the group. The African side are the favourites to win against the side at their first ever World Cup as they have managed to score against both England and Belgium and, even though they have conceded seven goals so far, they have the better defence as well.
Panama’s 3-0 and 6-1 losses see them with the worst defence of all sides in Russia this summer, but even with the defeats they have enjoyed themselves, as have the fans, but their lack of qualify is apparent for all to see. We can see them putting up a good fight to go home proud, but we are in agreement with Intertops and we’re backing victory for Tunisia in this final Group G clash.
Our best Panama v Tunisia bet is back Tunisia to win at odds of 1.80 with Intertops.
Senegal v Colombia: 4.25 – 3.50 – 1.85
This vital Group H match is the first meeting of these sides since a 2-2 draw in 2014 that saw Colombia lead by two goals at half time before letting the African side back into the match in the second half in the build up to the World Cup in Brazil. Senegal would be delighted with the same result as four years ago at the Samara Arena as this would see them finish ahead of the South Americans and book their place in the last 16 of the competition.
Senegal have looked good so far as they have been filled with goals with them beating Poland 2-1 before drawing 2-2 with Japan. They dominated the first match against a poor Polish team and were the deserved winners before playing out a thrilling draw with Japan last Sunday. A draw was a fair result in the game as both teams showed plenty of creativity and ruthless finishing along with some poor defending.
With Colombia having recovered from the poor decision making of Carlos Sanchez to be red carded after three minutes of their opening game they will be confident of winning this match. The South Americans were beaten 2-1 against Japan due to playing 87 minutes with only ten men but a fine and deserved 3-0 victory over Poland in their second match they have put themselves back in the running to make the knockout stages. They are the deserved favourites to win this match, as long as they perform the same as against Poland, but we feel that with both sides having goals in them that the amount of times the ball hits the net being the value bet in Samara.
Our money is on Over 2.5 goals to be scored in this Senegal v Colombia match @ 2.05.
Japan v Poland: 2.45 – 3.05 – 3.10
Japan and Poland clash for the first time since 2002 in this match with Japan having everything to play for in this Group H clash. They arrive into this final group game top of the pile as they have taken four points from their two matches following a fine 2-1 win over Colombia and before drawing 2-2 with Senegal and now they require that they secure at least a point in this final game to progress to the knockout stages.
With Poland having being very disappointing in Russia so far with them suffering a 2-1 loss to Senegal and then being well beaten by Colombia as they failed to score again in a 3-0 defeat. They have failed to get the ball to star man Robert Lewandowski and he has failed to find the net and this, coupled with some poor defending and a lack of creativity, has seen them eliminated already. While they will want to play for pride in this match and should be able to score against a Japanese defence that has conceded three in two games we feel that Japan have too many goals in them for Poland to win this match. We are unsure on how the match will end so we are backing goals to be scored at the Volgograd Arena.
We are backing Over 2.5 goals in this Japan v Poland clash at odds of 2.05 in the Intertops Sportsbook!