World Cup 2018

On this page you find articles on World Cup 2018 and sports betting in general.

Pre-watershed advertising regulations to be considered by Ladbrokes Coral

Bookmaker News
The Guardian recently ran a report about advertising during the 2018 World Cup and it said that one in five commercials during broadcasts of the tournament were gambling advertisements. It was also reported that the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) received a huge spike in complaints about the amount and nature of gambling advertising during the tournament. Saturation seemed to be the biggest complaint because, with the timing of matches, there was a lot of pre-watershed advertisements pushed out. Under current regulations, gambling advertisements are allowed pre-watershed, but Ladbrokes Coral have announced that they would be “supportive” of changes. GambleAware chief executive Marc Etches said there were increasing concerns about sports betting becoming “normalised” for children. Etches said in a statement: “In the absence of evidence, the concern is that this is an adult activity and young people are growing up with it being normalised. “They get exposed to it on television around sports, advertising online and gambling activities within [computer] games. “It seems to have gone too far. And for young people growing up there just seems to be a stronger and stronger affiliation between the two [gambling and sport] and I’m wary of that.” Ladbrokes Coral market director Alexis Zamboglou said that “Sports betting is enjoyed by millions of people across the UK every year and we wanted to make sure that this great sports entertainment product enhanced sports fans’ experience of the World Cup, without diluting our strong commitment to responsible gambling.” He went on to state that commercials that were produced for Ladbrokes and Coral during the 2018 World Cup “enhanced” the coverage of the football tournament for sports fans.

17,042/1 odds winner land BetVictor Million Pound Bet

It was a thrilling 2018 World Cup that punters witnessed and for one punter in particularly, who had decided to stay anonymous, it was better than most. The winner of the BetVictor World Cup Million Pound competition walked away with the full pot after landing the largest winning bet with the biggest odds in the competition. The competition was open to wagers placed on all World cup 2018 markets and of course punters got creative with the BetVictor #PriceItUp builder. That feature allows punters to pick and choose options that could crop up in a match such as the number of corners, the number of shots and winning scores. The winner of the competition did so with a stunning 17,042/1 odds success from the round of sixteen match between Uruguay and Portugal. The punter managed to not only get the correct score but called the exact number of corners in the match for each side and the number of bookings that the South Americans were going to get. The Winning Bet Read: Uruguay to win 2-1 Uruguay Over 1.5 corners Uruguay Under 2.5 corners Portugal Over 9.5 corners Portugal Under 10.5 corners Uruguay Under 0.5 cards Eoin Ryan, Head of Product at BetVictor, said: “Paying £1,000,000 to a single BetVictor customer is the perfect conclusion to what has been an incredibly exciting and successful Million Pound Bet campaign. We wanted to bring excitement and thrills to our customers’ World Cup betting experience, encouraging them to make their best bet, and the Million Pound Bet certainly delivered that. We saw consistent buzz across social media and customers enjoyed the transparency afforded by our real-time leaderboards.” Ryan added: “Our #PriceItUp Builder continues to have great momentum and we’re certainly looking to build on its success ahead to the start of the new Premier League season and other major sporting events going forward. The concept of #BestBetWins is one that we’re interested in developing further as the football season returns later this summer.” This is the second time that BetVictor have paid £1m to a single customer, following its Million Pound Goal campaign for the final of Euro 2016 between Portugal and France.

France v Croatia Predictions & Betting Odds – World Cup 2018

France v Croatia- World Cup 2018
France v Croatia Betting Preview - World Cup 2018 15th July - 4.00 p.m The showcase match of the 2018 World Cup will be contested on Sunday, a showdown of France v Croatia for the title of World Champions. France are looking for their second World Cup title while the Croatians will be hoping to make the most of this first ever trip to a World Cup Final. Their respective routes through the knockout phase were vastly different with Croatia having done things the hard way. Will they be able to rouse themselves for one last effort as they take on Les Bleus who are favourites to win the World Cup Final 2018?

France News and Form

You can’t really find any fault with the form of France even though their performances haven’t always been spectacular. In their last seventeen games played they have lost just once (W12 D4) and they are currently running on a ten-match undefeated streak. Looking at things realistically, they had a much tougher knockout stage campaign in front of them than Croatia did, but of the two, France were actually the more comfortable. So that says a lot about them. France opened the knockout stage with a 4-3 win over Argentina and then totally shut out Uruguay and Belgium in the subsequent rounds of action. While they flourished against a poor Argentina defence Les Bleus had to be patient in cracking open Uruguay's tight back line. But then the fact that totally shut out the free-scoring Belgium in the semi finals was perhaps their stand out performance of the knockout phase. France have taken four clean sheets in their last five games played now and France to win to nil in Sunday's Final is at 13/8 odds* (Betting Odds were taken from 12th July 2018 at 6:12 p.m.).

France v Croatia World Cup Final 2018 Infographic

While they looked clinical getting forward against Argentina, albeit not bossing possession in that game, France were more pragmatic against Uruguay and Belgium. To be fair we haven’t seen a great deal of attacking flair from the French apart from the odd spell here and there. But the substance they have had and control in midfield has been good and that was evident in blanking Belgium in that semi final match up, especially with Belgian having torn apart Brazil in their previous game. Antoine Griezmann is the 4/1 first goalscorer favourite at bet365* (Betting Odds were taken from 12th July 2018 at 6:12 p.m.). The French have scored in 14 of their last 15 games and will be expected to find a way through Croatia. They have just produced strong tournament football to get the jobs completed that have been put in front of them. They haven’t had to go through a trial of extra time like Croatia have done and with a day’s extra rest will be the fresher of the two. [bbutton bookmaker="bet365"]

Croatia News and Form

Croatia have needed extra time in all three of their knockout stage matches at the 2018 World Cup and all that up and that’s the equivalent of them having played an extra knockout stage game. They carded penalty shootout wins over Denmark and then Russia before going up against England in the semi-finals. That was Croatia’s second semi-final appearance and this time they made no mistake, despite having to come from behind as they had to do against Denmark and Russia, to get their rewards. Mario Mandzukic settled the tie in the second period of extra time. Again, they had to come from behind in each of those matches as well, all three of which ended 1-1 at 90 minutes. In the bet365 correct score market, the shortest priced option is a France 1-0 at 9/2 while the 1-1 draw is at 6/1 odds* (Betting Odds were taken from 12th July 2018 at 6:12 p.m.). Croatia are having a golden generation show at the moment and while they have really been pushed to their physical and mental limits, they have not been broken and indeed produced more stamina than expected against England. After looking so tired in extra time against Russia in the previous round, the general thought was that they wouldn't have the steam in the tank to outlast England in the semi-finals. It wasn’t true as Croatia grew in stature and strength in the second half of that contest. They showed tremendous strength and sprinting to keep on going and with Luka Modric again the star of the show for them he looks a very strong Golden Ball candidate. Croatia are unbeaten in seven games now (W4 D3) which includes extra time and they have scored in each of their last seven games, netting at least two in six of those seven games. So they haven’t been shy in front of goal but in context of the overall quality they have faced in the knockout stage, France are head and shoulders, the best team that they have faced. France are so well organised at the back under 1.5 goals is at 11/8 odds* (Betting Odds were taken from 12th July 2018 at 6:12 p.m.).

France v Croatia Head to Head

France and Croatia have met five times before with France holding a W3 D2 record against the Croats. Actually, their first ever coming together was at the 1998 World Cup, a game with France won on their way to lifting the title. Their most recent meeting was a 2011 friendly which ended in a draw and the last two meetings have been tied.

France v Croatia Betting Odds*

France 19/20 Draw 23/10 Croatia 15/4 * (Betting Odds were taken from bet365 on 12th July 2018 at 6:12 p.m.)

France v Croatia Predictions

We have to side with the French in this one and are going to do so with a France to win by a one-goal margin. They have been so strong at the back and should be able to handle themselves against the Croatians who surely have to run out of steam at some point. France have the better of the two benches and can land the title.  

World Cup 2018 Golden Glove & Golden Ball Betting Odds & Predictions

World Cup 2018 Betting
We are heading into the final weekend of the 2018 World Cup and at the end of all of this, there will be some awards to be dished out by FIFA. So beyond your 2018 World Cup Final betting, there are still some other markets that you can look at to round off your betting action on the tournament with. Here we are going to look at some of the individual awards that are going to be up for grabs.

Golden Glove Odds*

This goes to the top goalkeeper at the tournament and it doesn’t necessarily mean it will go the keeper who had had the best tournament in terms of clean sheets. There could, of course, be penalty shoot heroes in there, and someone who may have conceded a few but at the same time pulled off some remarkable saves. Hugo Lloris 1/2 Danijel Subasic 13/8 Jordan Pickford 10/1 Thibaut Courtois 22/1 * (betting odds taken at 9:09 pm on July 13th, 2018) Prediction: It is good to see Pickford in there as he has had a great tournament for England. However, the penalty shoot-out heroics of Croatia’s Subasic will likely top anything that Pickford has done. But still, as we expect France to collect the World Cup, we are sticking with Lloris and the volume of clean sheets has recorded.

Golden Ball Odds*

Who is going to end being crowned the best player of the tournament? This is all subjective at the end of the day of course. Some of the best players in the World fell short at the tournament like Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi and the winner will come from one of the finalists. So even though Eden Hazard, who was an early tip of ours, has had such a good event, he is going to miss out. Kylian Mbappe 8/11 Luka mOdric 15/8 Antoine Griezmann 10/1 N’Golo Kante 16/1 Paul Pogba 25/1 Eden Hazard 40/1 Ivan Perisic 50/1 Harry Kane 66/1 Bar 100/1 Prediction: There is still time for this to change in the final of course, for example, if Kylian Mbappe gets a couple of goals or scores a solo-wonder then he’ll probably get it. We are sticking with an early prediction we made of Luka Modric getting the title regardless of the outcome of the World Cup Final. Overall, hands down he has outperformed anyone else on the at least with the exception may be of France’s Kante who just isn’t going to get the recognition. Stick with Modric on the contingency that Mbappe doesn’t have a stellar Final. Realistically Mbappe has only had one stand out game at this tournament, which was against Argentina in the round of sixteen. Modric has been way more consistent. So it’s Modric for us at nice 15/8 odds value* (betting odds taken at 9:09 pm on July 13th, 2018).

Top Goalscorer Odds*

Yes, it is simply down to Harry Kane who is on six and Romelu Lukaku on four. So there is a big advantage to Kane and it is going to be interesting to see them go against each other in the Third Place match on Saturday. Can Lukakku catch up to Kane? These Third PLace fixtures at World Cups have a history of being high-scoring affairs. Each of the last ten such fixtures have gone over 2.5 goals. So there could still be an exciting finish in this race really if Lukaku brings his A-Game which he failed to do in the semi-final against France. France’s Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann are not totally out of the picture but they would have to do something special to catch up, starting three goals behind Kane heading into their final match. Harry Kane 1/20 Romelu Lukaku 16/1 Antoine Griezmann 40/1 Kylian Mbappe 66/1 Bar 500/1 * (betting odds taken at 9:09 pm on July 13th, 2018) Prediction: Kane hangs on to the top goalscorer crown, but we can see Lukaku at least netting one against the Three Lions to spice things up. Lukaku looked well off the boil against France and while Kane himself has looked to have run out of steam as well, he should have done enough by now to hang on.

Winner/Top Goalscorer Double odds*

As it is Harry Kane who is the most likely to win the Golden Boot then the top options in this market are including him. So if you assume that it is going to be Kane who finishes at the top scorer, the next choice is to pair up him up with either Croatia or France as the winner of the tournament. The only other thing that you are going to consider but as a massive outside shot is Antoine Griezmann coming through with a stellar scoring performance in the final. France/Harry Kane 1/2 Croatia/Harry Kane 15/8 France/Antoine Griezmann 50/1 Bar 80/1 * (betting odds taken at 9:09 pm on July 13th, 2018) Prediction: Well we are sticking with France winning the World Cup and that cuts down the options. Is Griezmann going to go out and score the minimum of a hattrick needed to top Kane in the goalscorer charts? Not likely. The straightforward favourite option has to be backed.

Belgium v England Predictions & Betting Odds – World Cup 2018

England - Belgium
Belgium v England Betting Preview - World Cup 2018 14th July - 3.00 p.m This is the game at the World Cup that no-one wants to end up in. It is a consolation battle between the two losing semi-finalists to see who finishes third and fourth respectively. Both were undone by just the one goal in their respective semi-final contests, Belgium falling against France and then England going down against Croatia a day later. We were denied a competitive clash between these two in the group stage, will this be better as they meet again? Read our Belgium v England predictions for more.

Belgium News and Form

What a performance Belgium delivered to knocked Brazil out at the quarter-final stage. That should have been the platform for them from which to drive on to even bigger things. But they fell completely flat in the semi-final as they couldn’t string much of anything together against France. So once again this golden generation of Belgian players missed the mark. In that semi-final against France, Belgium created so little it was a little bit a shock really but that was all down to just how strong and well-organised France were defensive. Belgium just couldn’t find a crack. Again that does seem to be an issue with Belgium, they do struggle for consistency and are prone to producing really strange disjointed performances. But Belgium as a whole are a free-scoring side and we are going over 2.5 goals at 3/5 odds* (Betting Odds were taken from 12th July, 2018 at 6:12pm) for this game.

Belgium v England World Cup 2018 Infographic

Each of the last ten Third Place matches at World Cups have all gone above 2.5 goals. Belgium's form is fine with a W13 D2 L1 record in their last sixteen games and their scoring at the World Cup has been fine. They just lost their long unbeaten streak of form at the wrong time. The Red Devils have scored at least two goals in six of their last eight games played and at least three in five of those six. Romelu Lukaku was brilliant against Brazil and anonymous against France but he is a 7/2 first goalscorer option for this fixture* (Betting Odds were taken from 12th July, 2018 at 6:12 p.m.). Belgium are known for their attacking threat, but they do also have seven clean sheets in their last eleven games. They will have had that extra day of rest compared to England as well. [bbutton bookmaker="bet365"]

England News and Form

So it was another case of World cup semi final heartbreak for England as they suffered a 2-1 loss against Croatia after extra time. England were supposed to be the ones with the more stamina in the game, but they faded badly after such a good first half when they were well on top and should have put the game out of reach. Once again a downfall of this England side was the lack of ability to create any chances from open play and it was another set play which got them their goal. But that set play strength is something that is working for England and so we are backing both teams to score at 8/15 odds* (Betting Odds were taken from 12th July, 2018 at 6:12 p.m.). It is likely that boss Gareth Southgate is going to freshen up his starting eleven and give a run out to some of those who have spent most of the time on the bench. So they could have some energy left in them and there is no pressure on this game at all. England’s form is pretty solid with only the one defeate since the start of September last year, which was against Belgium in the group stage. But they have gone just W1 D2 L1 (over 90 minutes) in their last four played at the World Cup. Harry Kane hasn’t scored since his spot-kick against Colombia in the round of sixteen, but he is the anytime goalscorer favourite at 20/21 odds* (Betting Odds were taken from 12th July, 2018 at 6:12 p.m.). England haven’t done all that bad defensively really despite having collected just the one clean sheet at Russia 2018 as they have not conceded more than one goal in ninety minutes during any of their last sixteen games, so that’s a good record. England were distraught at the end of their semi-final and that is because they will know that they lost a golden opportunity to make the final of a World Cup. Can they go out, get some revenge over Belgium and go home on a high?

Belgium v England Head to Head

There was that group stage meeting at Russia 2018 between the two sides, a really odd game which neither wanted to win because doing so meant going to the top half, the more difficult section of the draw. It was reserve team v reserve team and Belgium took a 1-0 win. That snapped a three match winning streak that England were on against the Red Devils and it was just England’s second ever loss against Belgium. Overall in the head to head England are 15-2 up with the four drawn matches. England’s last three wins over Belgium have all been by a one-goal margin.

Belgium v England Betting Odds*

Belgium 6/5 England 23/10 Draw 11/4 * (Betting Odds were taken from bet365 on 12th July, 2018 at 6:22 p.m.)

Belgium v England Predictions

We have to side with Belgium in this one. England were badly deflated at the end of their semi final against Croatia and they have been punching above their weight. Belgium have had the extra rest and they have the players who are more likely to open this game from open-play. There is value in just backing Belgium in the match outright.  

England v Croatia Predictions & Betting Odds – World Cup 2018

England - Croatia
England v Croatia Betting Prediction - World Cup 2018 11th July - 7.00 p.m England have exceeded expectations and have booked their place in the final four of the 2018 World Cup. If they were to get through this semi-final challenge now against Croatia England would be celebrating just their second ever World Cup Final appearance. Standing in their way is the technically strong Croatia who have really lived up to their pre-tournament billing of a dark horse. But they only survived again through another penalty shoot-out as they took down host nation Russia in the quarter finals. Our England v Croatia predictions expect a tight scrap.

England News and Form

It has been pretty exciting and fun to have watched England at this World Cup. Their game against Colombia in the round of sixteen was tense and physical, but they got through. Things were a little more sedate and comfortable for England in the quarterfinals as they held themselves together in Samara to collect a 2-0 win over Sweden. After the ups and downs of the game against Colombia, England’s young players performed really well with some composure against Sweden. Granted the quality levels aren’t quite there, but they make up for the lack of that with commitment, determination and energy. Their midfield will likely come under pressure in this one though because that is where Croatia will have a definite advantage over the Three Lions. There have been so many positives from the performances of the Three Lions and can they continue it to get to that World Cup Final? In the bet365 correct score market, the 1-1 draw is the shortest-priced option at 5/1 with an England 1-0 at 11/2* (Betting Odds were taken from July 8th, 2018 at 6:46 p.m.). Of them, the draw is tempting.

Croatia v England 2018 Infographic

England were thankful on three notable occasions to Jordan Pickford in their game against Sweden and boss Gareth Southgate will be hoping that the England defenders can see him get a little less action in this one. Pickford thought was outstanding in that game. The clean sheet that he got against Sweden was England’s first of the tournament and it made Pickford the youngest ever England keeper to bank a clean sheet at World cup. Harry Kane didn’t get much of a look in against Sweden, looking a bit gassed at times, but he is still well on course for the Golden Boot and he is the 10/3 first goalscorer favourite* (Betting Odds were taken from July 8th, 2018 at 6:46 p.m.) for this one. That’s eleven goals in their five games at the tournament so far, the only previous World Cup edition in which England reached that tally was in 1966. The Three Lions have found the back of the net with 10 of their last 13 shots on target at the World Cup, so are certainly clinical when those chances come along. England are now at W4 D1 L1 in their last six games and they have lost just one of their last fifteen. [bbutton bookmaker="bet365"]

Croatia News and Form

It has been a pretty intense run in the knockout stages of the 2018 World Cup for Croatia who once again had to rely on a penalty shootout to get through. After needing penalties to get past Denmark in the round of sixteen (a game in which Croatia were strong favourites to win in 90 minutes) they had to rely on them again to get past Russia. The host nation continued to defy the poor status they had ahead of the tournament and pushed Croatia hard. Why this is important is that it is not only two extra 30 minute periods that Croatia have now played, but they have had all that extra emotional stress of penalty shoot-outs. Will that take its toll on them as they face up to an energetic England side on Wednesday? Under 2.5 goals at bet365 is at 1/2 odds* (betting odds taken on July 8th, 2018 at 7:56 pm) as this is a World Cup semi-final. Croatia were fantastic in the group stage, but they haven’t replicated that in the knockout phase yet. There has been a lack of commanding authority from them in the knockouts, despite the strength and quality that they have. Still, they are in the semi finals of the World Cup for the second time having made it to this stage in 1998 when they lost but ended up finishing third. The Croatians are carrying form with a good W4 D2 record in their last six games, but they haven’t managed to pick up a clean sheet in any of their last three now. The main bulk of Croatia’s star players probably won’t be back for another World Cup because of age and maybe there are signs of tiring from them. They wouldn’t want this to go to extra time against England’s young side. Croatia have netted at least two goals in five of their last six (extra time included) and without question, they will be the highest-quality starting eleven that England will have faced at this tournament. It hasn’t been plain sailing for them in the knockout stage, but they have quality likes Mario Mandzukic, Ivan Rakitic and of course Luka Modric. Croatia have lost just the two games since the beginning of September last year. Croatia are 13/10 underdogs To Qualify* (Betting Odds were taken from July 8th, 2018 at 6:46 p.m.).

England v Croatia Head to Head

Seven times before England and Croatia have met and England are 4-2 ahead with the one drawn match. England have won the last two meetings between the two countries, which were during 2010 World Cup qualifying, England scoring nine goals in those two games and conceding two. All but two of the previous seven meetings have gone over 2.5 goals, six of them producing at least four goals. They have just once in a major tournament, which was at Euro 2004 and England won that game 4-2 with Wayne Rooney getting a brace in the fixture.

England v Croatia Betting Odds*

England 11/8 Draw 21/10 Croatia 5/2 * (Betting Odds were taken from bet365 on July 8th, 2018 at 6:46 p.m.)

England v Croatia Predictions

We only see this being tight as Croatia are patient and have the stronger midfield of the two. We can see this semi-final tie going beyond ninety minutes. So we are looking at the draw in the match outright. Croatia haven’t played well but are technically strong enough to hold in there and England don’t create enough from open play.  

World Cup 2018 Semi-Finals Predictions & Betting Odds

World Cup 2018 Betting
The final 4 teams at the 2018 World Cup will go into the high-pressure situation of the semi-final ties this week. Both semi-finals will be all-European affairs and really on the surface of things if you look at the remaining four teams who are France, England, Belgium and Croatia then you get the distinct feeling that anyone can beat anyone else on a given day. There is really not too much to separate the final four at all. Here we take a look at the World Cup 2018 semi finals along with predictions and betting odds. The only thing we do know is that it will be a European team once again being crowned world champions. As to which of the four that is going to be, that is a pretty tough call to make at the moment.

World Cup 2018 winner odds*

France 2/1 England 11/4 Belgium 11/4 Croatia 4/1 * (betting odds were taken from July 9, 2018, at 6:20 p.m.)

France v Belgium

Tuesday, July 10th - 7 PM kick-off It is France who have stayed at the front of the pack as the outright favourite to win the 2018 World Cup. But really as we said we don’t see anything much between any of the final four and this is certainly no easy game for the French. France did not one thing impressively during the group stage as they struggled to get results against Australia and Peru before playing out a meaningless draw with Denmark in their final group stage match. There was not much cohesion or conviction from them in the group stage. But maybe they were saving themselves as they have looked far better in the knockout stages of the tournament. In the round of 16, they had Kylian Mbappe step up to the plate and put on a show to help them beat Argentina 4-3. Then it was more South American opposition for them in the quarter-finals as they face up to the tough defence of Uruguay. France were far more comfortable in that one than they were against Argentina and coasted through with a 2-0 victory. Belgium are the top scorers at the 2018 World Cup and that should make France pretty nervous. After running up the goals against Panama and Tunisia in their first group stage games they too had a meaningless final match in the first stage as they beat England 1-0. Then strangely Belgium had a massive scare as they found themselves 2-0 down against Japan in the second half of their round of 16 tie. Belgium were quite frankly awful in the game but as soon as they switched to just playing a route-one game they manage to turn it around. Belgium them produce the performance of the tournament as they beat Brazil 2-1 in the quarter-finals. Belgium boss Roberto Martinez had the nous to change formation and tactics for that one and it paid off as Belgium produced their best game of the tournament. Their front three looked even more dangerous with Eden Hazard finding space, Romelu Lukaku charging at the Brazilian defence and Kevin de Bruyne being pushed further forward. This is such a tough game to call because you do wonder if Belgium are capable of replicating that same level of performance against Brazil, or did they simply hit their peak and will struggle to get back to that? France meanwhile have a look particularly great throw the tournament but they have shown that they have their big match winners and they do have more strength on the bench that Belgium do if this were to go beyond 90 minutes. Both teams have great individual talent it may just all be about who put it together better as a team on the night. Head to head Belgium are 10-9 ahead from previous meetings with France with nine drawn games as well stop the last time they met was in 2015 with Belgium taking a 4-3 win in France. It does mean that France are winless in their last three against the Belgians now (D2 L1) but the last time they did meet competitively was at the 1986 World Cup with France taking a 4-2 victory. Both teams have scored in just two of the last seven meetings between the two sides.

France v Belgium winner odds*

France 31/20 Belgium 21/10 Draw 9/4 * (betting odds were taken from July 9, 2018, at 6:20 p.m.) Prediction: We are sticking with the strength of France to find a way to win this contest. We see a France to win by a one-goal margin option at 3/1 odds* (betting odds were taken from July 9, 2018, at 6:20 p.m.) as a good betting tip for the France v Belgium game. Take nothing away from Belgium who were magnificent against Brazil, but France just look a bit more rugged and adaptable to the stresses of this semi-final.

[bbutton bookmaker="bet365"]

Croatia v England

Wednesday, July 11th - 7 PM kick-off Croatia went into this tournament as a dark horse and that was because of how strong their midfield area is. They are stacked with talent in there and it really started to shine through in the group stage as they won all three of their matches. One of those matches, of course, was against Argentina with the Europeans running out 3-0 winners over the South Americans. That was a huge statement made by Croatia and with the draw opening up, they looked as if they could just go from strength to strength. However, it didn’t quite pan out that way. In the round of 16, they had to come from behind to earn a 1-1 draw with Denmark. Croatia saw off their opponents by a penalty shootout. In the quarter-finals they had come from behind against Russia, playing out a 2-2 draw and again having to rely on a penalty shootout to progress. That is a lot of extra work that Croatia have had to do and there have been signs that it has been taking its toll on them. Some of the Croatian players look to be out on their feet in the second period of extra time against Russia. They can’t, of course, afford to go into this semi-final jaded. Croatia have been less consistent with their starting 11 lineups than England have been at this tournament. They have some great talent though notably in Luka Modric who has been one of the stars of the entire tournament, and they have a threat on the wing in Ivan Perisic. The Croatians have scored at least two goals in five of their last six games played. But what will give England hope is that they have not taken a clean sheet in any of their last three games now. How much will fatigue play in this tie? The longer this game goes on the more you would probably fancy England will have the edge because of having much younger legs. They got through their quarter-final tie in 90 min against Sweden. England were really comfortable in that game against the Swedes, looking composed and ready to get the job done. It was a stark contrast to the physical an intense battle that they had had against Colombia in the round of 16. But it showed that England can handle and deal with whatever is in front of them which is a huge plus for this young side. England are just sticking to their simple gameplan and they are not likely to change anything in terms of tactics or personnel for this one. They will perhaps just need to be on their toes a little bit more at the back because Croatia, even though they may be looking a little tired, have plenty of quality still. England clearly have their strengths from set plays but they have been lacking the creativity to create chances from open play. With the way that the draw has opened up for them and with confidence that they are playing with, mostly players whenever likely to have as good of a chance again of reaching the final of the World Cup. The overall quality may not be there from England but their spirit is not in question. Head-to-head The last time England and Croatia were against each other was during World Cup 2010 qualification. England produced a 4-1 win and 5-1 win against the Croats. This will only be the eighth meeting between the two nations and England are 4-2 ahead with the one drawn match. Interestingly five of those previous seven meetings have seen at least four goals scored. Both teams have scored in five of the seven previous meetings as well.

Croatia v England winner odds*

England 11/8 Draw 21/10 Croatia 5/2 * (betting odds were taken from July 9, 2018, at 6:20 p.m.) Prediction: We completely see in this one needing more than regulation time to be settled. Croatia are technically the better of the two sides and will carry a threat, but they know that they will have to be cautious about the attacking pace that England can bring to the table. Another reason we don’t see this being settled straight away is because of the struggles Croatia have had in the knockout phase so we are simply sticking with an England To Qualify betting tip at 8/13 odds* (betting odds were taken from July 9, 2018, at 6:20 p.m.).

Paddy England Specials as Three Lions hit semi finals

Paddy Power
The country is now fully gripped in World Cup fever as Gareth Southgate's young England side has made it through to the semi-finals where they will be facing Sweden on Wednesday. The country is buzzing, the young Three Lions are playing with belief and commitment and who knows, after going into the tournament as nothing more than a hopeful outsider, England could bring it home. Paddy Power have tossed out some more England specials to keep the hype going along nicely as we await the Croatia v England fixture. England are the 13/10 favourites* (betting odds were taken from July 7th, 2018 at 7:17 pm) at Paddy Power to land the win in that match, which is going to be an incredibly intense affair. The feel-good factor is pretty high right now and after calls from football fans and ever Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, Paddy Power have slashed the odds on a National Holiday being declared should England win this summer’s World Cup from 20/1 down to 5/1* (betting odds were taken from July 7th, 2018 at 7:17 pm). Naturally, patriots punters have been piling into England winning the World Cup and bookmakers are going to be hit hard if they go and win the title. Towards the back end of last year England were nothing more than 20/1 shots to win the 2018 World Cup, but now they are in at 13/10* (betting odds were taken from July 7th, 2018 at 7:17 pm). Paddy Power revealed that over 30% of bets on the World Cup outright winner market they have received have been for England. Harry Kane has six goals to his name at the tournament and is two ahead of main threat Romelu Lukaku heading into the semifinals. Before the tournament, you could have taken 66/1 odds on a Kane/England double but now you are down to 13/5 odds with the bookmaker for that* (betting odds were taken from July 7th, 2018 at 7:17 pm). Kane is the 8/13 Sports personality of the Year favourite as well* (betting odds were taken from July 7th, 2018 at 7:17 pm). Spokesman Paddy Power said: “Show me someone in England who says they wouldn’t take an extra Bank Holiday and I’ll show you a liar. Plus, I reckon the country will need at least a day to dry out from the beer should they win it. “The sun is shining, Three Lions is headed for Number One and we’re going to get stung for millions if Southgate lifts the trophy. It’s not hard to see why you English folk are getting carried away.” With Skinner & Baddiel's “Three Lions” song which has pretty much been adopted as England’s anthem receiving 450,000 plays on the day England met Colombia in the quarter finals, that is odds-on at 1/2 to hit Number One in the UK in the month of July.

England Specials

1/2 Three Lions to be UK Number One in the Singles Chart for July 2018 8/15 Any English football player to win the BBC SPOTY 4/7 A Homecoming parade to be held in London in July 2018 5/1 A national day of holiday to be declared in July 2018 due to England’s World Cup performance 5/1 Southgate to be knighted before December 2019 10/1 Kane to be knighted before December 2019 * (betting odds were taken from July 7th, 2018 at 7:17 pm)

World Cup Outright Odds*

France 2/1 England 5/2 Belgium 11/4 Croatia 9/2 * (betting odds were taken from July 7th, 2018 at 7:17 pm)

France v Belgium Predictions & Betting Odds – World Cup 2018

Belgium - France
France v Belgium Betting Preview - World Cup 2018 10th July - 7.00 p.m Whatever the outcome of this and the other semi final, it will be an all-European showdown for glory in the Final of the 2018 World Cup. France booked their place in the final four with a comfortable win over Uruguay and they continue to look as if they are growing more and more into the tournament. Belgium though pulled off a huge shock as they defeated Brazil after producing one of the performances of the tournament. Read our France v Belgium predictions for more.

France News and Form

Tournament football is just all about getting it right on the day. France, one of the front-runners ahead of the tournament looked a bit below par during the group stage of the competition. But they managed themselves well enough to win their group and since the knockout stages have arrived, they have started to get up through the gears. They were brilliant in their 4-3 round of sixteen victory over Argentina in which they were 2-1 down at one point. Then in the quarter finals, they saw off more South American opposition as they beat Uruguay 2-0. The French were never really under too much pressure from the South Americans and again, just managed the game well. Even though World Cup semi-final matches are usually leaning towards the conservative side, we are actually going over 2.5 goals for our France v Belgium prediction and at 23/20 odds* (Betting Odds were taken from July 6th, 2018 at 11:22 p.m.) we simply can’t ignore that. That is because France’s opponents Belgium are usually involved in high scoring games.

France v Belgium 2018 Infographic

France have picked up a clean sheet in three of their last four games now, so they are starting to look more solid back there. But they will be facing a side who are so dangerous on the break and who can strike in the blink of an eye. We do see goals coming in this one and both teams to score is at 19/20 odds as well* (Betting Odds were taken from July 6th, 2018 at 11:22 p.m.). Antoine Griezmann finally delivered the kind of performance that the World Cup was waiting for, as he produced a goal and an assist against Uruguay, easily his best game of the tournament. They need more of that from him. That’s the strength about France, they have such quality in depth that someone on the day is likely to come good. France are on a W7 D2 in their last nine games played and they have lost just one of their last sixteen. They have just looked better and better as the tournament has gone on and have the squad to deal with this deep run. [bbutton bookmaker="bet365"]

Belgium News and Form

What a performance that Belgium found in the quarter finals as they took out Brazil. That was night and day to how they played against Japan in the round of sixteen because they were so poor in that. That poor showing meant that they were big underdogs for their duel with Brazil, but the Red Devils tweaked their formation, their tactics and starting personnel and came up big. They were sitting pretty at 2-0 up at halftime and then it was just a matter of digging in and seeing the game out, looking for more opportunities on the break. Romelu Lukaku had a tremendous game without getting on the scoresheet and is a good anytime goalscorer option for this game. That was just about as good as it gets and Belgium looked like World beaters at times in that match. The question is, will they be able to replicate it in the semi-finals? Now France will have seen what they did and will have time to work on a solution and at the best of times, the performances of Belgium can be a bit hit and miss. Belgium are at 11/10 odds To Qualify* (Betting Odds were taken from July 6th, 2018 at 11:22 p.m.). The Red Devils have only taken the one clean sheet int their last four at the tournament so far which was in that non-contest against England at the end of the group stage. Twelve of Belgium's last fifteen games have gone over 2.5 goals so again, we can back goals to come in this tie. Belgium are on a seven-match winning streak at the moment and have netted at least three goals in all but two of those wins. That is a big streak to maintain though. It is the kind of streak where you can’t help think that it is about to stop because streaks like that are tremendously hard to sustain. In the bet365 correct score market a France 2-1 option is at 10/1 odds* (Betting Odds were taken from July 6th, 2018 at 11:22 p.m.) and that makes for one of our leading France v Belgium predictions. We are definitely going with goals at both ends in this absorbing European showdown.

France v Belgium Head to Head

Belgium are narrowly ahead of France from previous meetings, being 10-9 up with the nine drawn matches. The last time they met was in a 2015 friendly and the Red Devils collected a 4-3 win. This will be their first competitive meeting since their 1986 World Cup fixture which France won 4-2. Both teams have scored in just two of the last seven meetings.

France v Belgium Betting Odds*

France 6/4 Belgium 11/5 Draw 11/5 * (Betting Odds were taken from bet365 on July 6th, 2018 at 11:22 p.m.)

France v Belgium Predictions

We are leaning slightly towards France and that is because they have grown in stature the more the tournament has wound on and they do have the better options off the bench to handle anything later on in the game, whether they are defending or needing to find a goal. Belgium are just a little more prone to errors at the back and while they will cause a threat on the counter-attack, we see France holding out for a one-goal margin win.  

England 11/4 odds at Bet365 to win the 2018 World Cup

Trippier - Lingard (England)
England’s young Three Lions are now just two games from the ultimate football glory of winning the World Cup. England are back in the World Cup Semi Finals for just the third time in their history after getting past Sweden in the quarter finals of Russia 2018. They are looking to make it to the final for just the second time in their history and we all know what happened to them the last time they were there back in 1966. England are now at 11/4 odds with bet365* (betting odds were taken from July 7th, 2018 at 8:17 pm) to get their hands on the trophy this summer. It has been a refreshing tournament for England fans who have actually been able to enjoy exciting games that the Three Lions have been involved in, and the success in them, of course, has helped a lot as well. Now the country has shifted from dreams to expectations about Gareth Southgate’s young charges bringing it home.

Croatia v England odds*

England 11/8 Draw 21/10 Croatia 5/2 * (betting odds were taken from July 7th, 2018 at 8:17 pm) This is the first time since winning the tournament in 1966 that England have been as a short of a price to win a World Cup. Croatia stands in their way in the semi-finals and England are 11/8 favourites* (betting odds were taken from July 7th, 2018 at 8:17 pm) to get the win in that one. They go up against a side who are technically better, but who have some tired legs in their ranks having needed a penalty shootout in both of their knockout stage games so far. England’s strike record in World Cup semi-finals is W1 L1 then and the last time they were here was in 1990 when they suffered that heartbreak against Germany. Harry Kane with his six-goal haul is the heavy odds-on favourite now to the tune of 1/7 odds* (betting odds were taken from July 7th, 2018 at 8:17 pm) to get the Golden Boot as well and now he gets two more games to add to that tally. The passion and commitment from the young players that Southgate has entrusted at this tournament has been fantastic to watch. Whatever the outcome against Croatia, England can hold their heads high for having produced a wonderful tournament. They’ll be criticized for lack of goals from open play, for all of the wayward passing, but at the end of the day, the only thing that matters is the result. Who would be complaining if England won the final by a single spot kick? Exactly. If England were to prevail against Croatia then it would be either France or a rematch against Belgium, waiting in the showcase match.

World cup 2018 Winner odds*

France 2/1 England 11/4 Belgium 11/4 Croatia 4/1 * (betting odds were taken from July 7th, 2018 at 8:17 pm)  

England v Sweden Predictions & Betting Odds – World Cup 2018

Trippier - Lingard (England)
England v Sweden Betting Prediction - World Cup 2018 7th July - 3.00 p.m England are still yet to pick up a clean sheet at the 2018 World Cup but they are in the quarter finals and are in with a fighting chance of making it through to the final four. The Three Lions exerted themselves a lot in a physical battle with Colombia in the last round. Will their period of extra time have taken something out of them? Sweden edged out Switzerland 1-0 in their round of sixteen tie and they have strong head to head form against the Three Lions in major tournaments as well. Read our England v Sweden predictions for this massive European showdown.

England v Sweden Betting Odds*

England 10/11 Draw 12/5 Sweden 15/4 * (Betting Odds were taken from bet365 on July 4th, 2018 at 7.45 p.m.) [bbutton bookmaker="bet365"]

England News and Form

All credit due to England first digging in their and holding their nerve in a penalty shootout against Colombia. It was a tough game for the Three Lions as they had to deal with some less than friendly gamesmanship from the South Americans. After the excitement and drama of the night in Moscow England need to get themselves back down to earth and focused again. One clear weakness of England does appear to be creating chances from open play and that can be credited to neither Raheem Sterling or Dele Ali really having had great tournaments so far. If a goal can both click then England will be on to a big winner. Harry Kane keeps providing for England and with his penalty against Colombia he is up to 6 goals for the tournament and he is the 11/4 favourite in the first goalscorer market* (betting odds taken from July 4th, 2018 at 7:51 pm) with bet365. England never deserted their style of wanting to bring the ball forward against Colombia no matter how much they were being harassed and they deserve credit for that too. England v Sweden World Cup 2018 Infographic Barring injuries we are not likely to see any changes in the England starting 11 and you are not going to anything different from them tactically. By no stretch of the imagination, is this going to be an easy game for England because of how well organised Sweden are. The Swedes are really tough to break. The difference in this game could be the fact that England have far more match winners and a higher degree of individual talent than their opponents do. England to win by a one-goal margin is at 12/5 odds* (betting odds taken from July 4th, 2018 at 7:51 pm) and is one of our leading predictions for the England v Sweden game. England still have not collected a clean sheet at the 2018 World Cup so far and they only have one in their last seven. To be fair though they have not conceded more than one goal in any game played since the beginning of September last year. England have scored in all but one of their last eight games In this fixture is going to be about them staying focused and not getting carried away and complacent after a success over Colombia. England will be making a run at reaching the semi finals for the first time since 1990.

Sweden News and Form

There can be no faulting what Sweden have achieved so far at the 2018 World Cup. They may well have flown under the radar all of the way, but there have been some notable moments of character from them. After harshly being denied a point against Germany in the group stage, Sweden hit back well by beating Mexico 3-0 and then they were up as underdogs against Switzerland in the round of 16. In a game that was far more wide open than had ever been predicted with plenty of chances at both ends over at the 90 mins, the game was settled by Sweden’s Emil Forsberg in the second half of the game. While the Swedes will be left elated from their success, the one downside one supposes is that they were extremely wasteful in front of goal and that will bring into question their quality up front. Under 1.5 goals at bet365 is at 6/4 odds* (betting odds taken from July 4th, 2018 at 7:51 pm). To be fair Sweden’s weakest area does appear to be in the attacking department You pretty much know at this point what you are going to get from Sweden. They sit back, they keep they shape well and they aren’t afraid to launch long balls forward. That is when they will use their height and physicality to try and win those first balls to settle attacking plays. Not since the end of their qualification group to reach the World Cup finals have Sweden being a major threat in front of goal. Aside from their big win over Mexico Sweden had not scored more than one goal in a game since and 8-0 triumph over Luxembourg back in October last year. In total Sweden have scored six goals in their last seven games with three of those coming against Mexico. Sweden's three wins at the 2018 World Cup are their only ones in their last ten games (D4 L3). To their credit though they have hit the back of the net at least once in each of their four World Cup 2018 games. Sweden have really excelled to get to this point and there is immense pressure on right now so we are going with both teams not to score for our Sweden v England prediction at 8/13 odds* (betting odds taken from July 4th, 2018 at 7:51 pm).

England v Sweden Head to Head

During the buildup for this Sweden v England quarter-final, you are going to see a lot about how Sweden boss England in the head to head. England have collected just one victory in their last eight games against Sweden in major tournaments. But that win was in their most recent competitive meeting which was at Euro 2012 where England took a 3-2 victory. The Three Lions have won two of their last three games against Sweden including international friendlies. But those are the only two wins for England over Sweden in their last fifteen meetings so the Swedes historically have been a bit of a bogey side for the Three Lions.

England v Sweden Predictions

With the organised defence of Sweden, England are going to have a hard time breaking them down. We saw against Colombia that the Three Lions didn’t create too much in and around the box other than from set pieces. It may be a set pieces which wins this. Back an England 1-0 correct score.    

Russia v Croatia Predictions & Betting Odds – World Cup 2018

Dyzuba - Modric (Russia - Croatia)
Russia v Croatia Betting Preview - World Cup 2018 7th July - 3.00 p.m Surprisingly Russia have created their own success story at the tournament as they caused one of the biggest shocks of the 2018 World Cup by eliminating Spain via a penalty shoot-out in the last round. Can they take a journey step further by seeing off Croatia? Croatia also needed a penalty shootout to make it past their round of 16 tie against Denmark. After looking so very good in the group stage Croatia really looked flat in that round of 16 tie. Still our Russia v Croatia predictions sees the extra quality of Croatia pulling through.

Russia News and Form

So the Russians have arrived in the quarter finals of the 2018 World Cup totally against the odds. Heading into the tournament there was no expectancy surrounding them as they were simply out of form, not having won in seven games. They opened the 2018 World Cup with back to back wins so qualified for the knockout stage immediately and their final group stage loss against Uruguay didn't matter. But they were drawn against Spain in the first knockout stage and they were heavy underdogs for that game. But they had a simple game plan of parking the bus and it worked. They took their chance in the penalty shootout. To open our Russia v Croatia predictions under 2.5 goals looks an obvious place to go to and that is at 19/40 odds* (betting odds taken from July 3rd, 2018 at 00:57 a.m.). They spent a lot of energy in defending their way to that victory against Spain but the cost of that is that a great deal will have been taken out of them. Russia v Croatia World Cup 2018 Infographic Russia are now W2 D2 L2 in their last six games and they have collected just the one clean sheet in their last twelve games. They are going as underdogs here once again and it will be interesting to see if they can find the defensive levels against Croatia that they produced against Spain. A both teams not to score option at 8/13 odds* (betting odds taken from July 3rd, 2018 at 00:57 a.m.) for our Russia v Croatia predictions and that is because we don’t see Russia producing a lot of attacking threat against a well-organised Croatia side. The Russians have taken only three wins in their last twelve games (D4 L5) over 90 minutes and it is average at best opposition that they have beaten. They have only managed to score more than one goal in four of their last twelve matches. Fedor Smolov and Artem Dzyuba are joint 2/1 anytime goalscorer options for them going into this one* (betting odds taken from July 3rd, 2018 at 00:57 a.m.). [bbutton bookmaker="bet365"]

Croatia News and Form

Croatia didn’t quite hit the high quality that they had produced in the group stage as they took on Denmark in the World Cup round of sixteen. They were really conservative and flat and just seemed to totally tighten up. Maybe it was all down to the pressure of the situation but they did get through it. They are the stronger of the two sides going into this quarter-final tie but based on their performance in the last match we are looking at a Croatia 1-0 correct score option at 5/1* (betting odds taken from July 3rd, 2018 at 00:57 a.m.). The Croatians are not really going to give up too much at the back and they have kept two clean sheets in their last four games. They are W4 D1 in their last five games played (90 minutes) and they scored at least two goals in each of those four victories in that sequence. But we are suggesting for our Russia v Croatia predictions that this is going to be a tighter, low scoring game and it is not worth looking bigger in the correct score market. This is the quarter finals of a World Cup after all. Croatia are favourites for this game so there will be that extra pressure on them. Luka Modric, with two goals, is their top scorer at the tournament so far and he has been one of the stand out performers of the entire tournament so he is worth a look in the anytime goalscorer market. Mario Mandzukic is at 5/1 in the first goalscorer market for this fixture* (betting odds taken from July 3rd, 2018 at 00:57 a.m.) and he got their somewhat lucky goal against Denmark in the last round. Croatia are carrying strong form with eight wins in their last thirteen matches, suffering just the two defeats along the way. In terms of quality, Croatia are head and shoulders above Russia and should be able to control this game from the midfield. They have to step up and be better than they were against Denmark when the key players just didn’t perform. Croatia finished third back in the 1998 World Cup and with the draw ahead, there’s a decent chance that they could get close to at least replicating that. At the time of writing they had been moved into 6/1 odds* (betting odds taken from July 3rd, 2018 at 00:57 a.m.) to win the World Cup outright.

Russia v Croatia Head to Head

This will be just the fourth meeting between Russia and Croatia. The first two meetings were both 0-0 ties which were in the Euro 2008 qualifiers. Their other game was a friendly meeting in Russia back in 2015 and Croatia cruised to a 3-1 victory in the game, Mario Mandzukic getting Croatia’s last goal.

Russia v Croatia Betting Odds*

Croatia 5/4 Draw 21/10 Russia 29/10 * (Betting Odds were taken from bet365 on July 2nd, 2018 at 6:13 p.m.)

Russia v Croatia Predictions

Russia were pretty much out on their feet in the extra time of their tie against Spain and that is because they just sat back and had so much defensive work to do. They would likely be chasing the ball a lot in this game to as Croatia can stroke it around. We are backing for our Russia v Croatia predictions the hosts to eventually run out of steam and Croatia to edge their way through to the final four.  

World Cup 2018 Golden Ball Betting – Predictions and Winner Odds

Harry Kane (England)
We are down to the business end of the 2018 World Cup and along with other major awards like the Golden Boot, the Golden Ball presents some very interesting betting opportunities at this stage. It’s hard to say that there was a great standout individual performer of the group stage and so really the winner of the Golden Ball is likely to be shaped in the competition during the knockout stages. With the Brazilians the last of the South Americans nations to fall from the competition, the World Cup has boiled down to all European teams. That, of course, has cut a lot of the pre-tournament favourites for the Golden Ball like Lionel Messi and Neymar out of the equation. Here we take a look at the Golden Ball winner odds on who will be crowned the best player at the 2018 World Cup.

World Cup Golden Ball Odds*

Kylian Mbappe 3/1 Harry Kane 4/1 Eden Hazard 4/1 Kevin De Bruyne 7/1 Luka Modric 12/1 Romelu Lukaku 12/1 Antoine Griezmann 12/1 Bar 33/1 * (betting odds taken from Unibet on July 6th, 2018 at 9:26 pm)

Kylian Mbappe

The France star produced a stunning performance in the round of sixteen as he helped Les Bleus fight back against Argentina. The French were level at 2-2 before the Mbappe show started as he netted a brace in the game. That sparked all of the hype on Mbappe going all the way and getting the Golden Ball. Frankly, though that was just one standout performance and the rest of the games at the World cup have been nothing that much above average. Unless he turns it on in the semi finals and potentially the final, we can’t see the young French star getting the award. There just hasn’t been enough of the individual brilliance consistently.

Harry Kane

The England talisman has to be in the running for the Golden Ball and is at 4/1 odds to get it* (betting odds taken from July 6th, 2018 at 9:26 pm). Unless he tears it up in front of goal in what remaining matches he is going to get through, it is hard to see him getting it. Although his goal tally has been fantastic, there probably have been far too many penalty kicks in that tally to get him on the award. If maybe just one or none of the tally had been from the penalty spot, things would be a different matter altogether. Still he has the chance to fire off more goals and earn it outright.

Luka Modric

The Croatian midfielder we think that's been one of the standout performers of the tournament, at least in the group stage. He produced a couple of fine goals in the group stage and was running the show. Again it is all going to be down to how he performs in the latter stages of the competition. Perhaps if he gets a match winner somewhere or guides the Croatians to the final then he is going to be in the picture for sure. He is a great each way option in the market, but you do get the sense that Croatia would have to win the tournament outright for Modric to really get the attention he deserves.

Eden Hazard

The Belgium forward is our top tip for the World Cup 2018 Golden Ball now at this stage of the competition. Hazard has been spectacular and consistent in his performances for his country so far. He has chipped in with a couple of goals but he has played provider so very well at this event. He has looked mature and composed for his team and the great thing about his performance is that he hasn’t been doing everything on his own, he has been part of the team, something which he hasn’t always done for his club, Chelsea. This has already been a great World Cup for him and now with Belgium in the semis, Hazard is at great 4/1 odds option* (betting odds taken from July 6th, 2018 at 9:26 pm).

Kevin de Bruyne

The group stage was a fairly sedate one for De Bruyne and that is largely because he was being used in a deeper role. That was a pretty strange move right from the start, but as Belgium collectively came good in the quarter finals against Brazil, De Bruyne was at the centre of it all. The kind of performances that he had delivered for Manchester City last year, this time being used further up the pitch, was what the World Cup needed to see from him. If he carries on as such a driving force then he should be in with a shout. He may need a goal or two more, or a couple more assists though perhaps to really push his case.

Romelu Lukaku

Not too surprisingly there are going to be a few Belgians on this list. Lukaku has delivered the goals for Belgium so far at the tournament, exactly what he is on the field to do. But in Belgium quarter-final against Brazil, he produced what was arguably his best game of the tournament as he tore the Brazilians to shreds in the first half of the contest. Even though he didn't get on the scoresheet in Belgium's 2-1 win over the Selecao, his physical strength was a huge factor in them getting their result. He has the goals, with now the promise of more and is a more likely a candidate for the Golden Ball in our eyes than Kane is.

Antoine Griezmann

The Frenchman really hasn’t set the tournament alight but because he is there at the business end of the tournament with France then he is going to be a player in this. He got only his second goal of the tournament though in France quarter final win over Uruguay and that was only down to a howler from the Uruguayan keeper on what should have been a routine save. Unless he scores a hatful of goals in his last two games at the tournament, Griezmann isn’t going to win the Golden Ball.


We are avoiding the big goal scoring names for this one and we are going with Eden Hazard to take the spotlight. He has been so good in his link up play, has chipped in with the play-making and assists as you would expect him to and with Belgium impressing so much against Brazil there should be more to come from Hazard.

Harry Kane odds to score against Sweden

Kane (England)
It has certainly been Harry Kane’s World Cup so far. The England striker has bagged six goals in three games at the tournament and has been one of the stars of the show. After his blistering start, helped out by converted penalty kicks, he got back down to business in England’s round of sixteen success against Colombia after being rested against Belgium at the end of the group stage. That’s six goals for the Tottenham man then and half of them have been penalties but they all count. Kane has hit that magic six number which is the average tally of goals that each Golden Boot winner has scored in the last ten editions of the World Cup. So he is well on track and starts the quarterfinals two clear of Belgium's Romelu Lukaku. Harry Kane is at 11/4 odds with bet365 in the First Goalscorer market* (betting odds taken from July 5th, 2018 at 7:05 pm) for the Three Lions’ tussle with Sweden in the quarterfinals on Saturday. England went to the tournament knowing that they are going to rely solely on the big man to deliver the goods for them and captain Kane has stepped up to the plate. No-one will really care if it is another penalty or a goal from a set piece that Kane gets to send England through to the semi-finals. At the tournament has scored a goal every 45 minutes on average and that puts him well ahead of the rest of the field. You imagine now with the maximum of three games left for any remaining player at the tournament, that he could hold on. He can of course actually add to that tally and if you don’t fancy him in the first goalscorer market against the Swedes then you back him at a great price of 21/20* (betting odds taken from July 5th, 2018 at 7:05 pm) in the anytime goalscorer market with bet365.

Sweden v England Winner Odds*

England 19/20 Draw 23/10 Sweden 19/5 * (betting odds taken from July 5th, 2018 at 7:05 pm) Kane is England’s focal point. He has stepped up and held his nerve when his country has needed him. England are 11/2 odds to score a penalty in the quarter-final while Kane is at 5/1 to score at least two goals* (betting odds taken from July 5th, 2018 at 7:05 pm) in the fixture. The general thought though is that England will have their work cut out for them against Sweden, who are a strong defensive side and who stay very organised across their back line. Ultimately England’s progress at the 2018 World Cup seems to be fully on the shoulders of Kane from the goalscoring department. England will go into tie against Sweden as favourites to win it and the key difference between the two sides could well be the extra quality that England are able to boast up front. Sweden don’t have that world class touch up there. A Harry Kane/England Score/Win Double is at 13/8 odds* (betting odds taken from July 5th, 2018 at 7:05 pm) as the Three Lions look to make it through to the World Cup semifinals for the first time since 1990. That would be some accomplishment from Gareth Southgate’s young charges. The opportunity is right in front of their faces and in winning this quarter-final it would guarantee two more games for Kane to try and join Brazil’s Ronaldo as the only man to have scored more than six goals in a World Cup since the 1978 edition (8).