Wed, Jun 20, 11:21am by Staff Writer
Two unexpected results in Group H overnight has meant that Senegal and Japan are favourites to progress from the group. They were outsiders to do so before last night’s matches.
Japan were awarded a 6th minute penalty against Colombia after a Carlos Sanchez blatant red card for handball in the third minute.
The Blue Samurai had numerous chances to end the game in the next 30 minutes, but failed to do so.
Juan Quintero’s low free kick evaded the goal keeper, despite the lack of velocity on the ball, and scores were level at half-time.
Yuta Osako’s match winning header late in the second half proved the difference, as Japan are now $1.53 to progress to the knockout rounds. Colombia are $2.50 at Sportsbet.
Poland were shocked by African nation Senegal in Moscow, losing 2-1. An unfortunate first half own goal and a defensive blunder in the second half cruelled the Poles, who created few opportunities in the match.
It was the first win for an African nation at the 2018 World Cup, after Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia had failed to notch a first-up result. Poland has now lost seven of their past nine World Cup matches and face an uphill battle to escape from group H, priced at $2.40 to do so.
Russia made it two wins from two starts with a dominant 3-1 win against Egypt in St Petersburg.
Despite the presence of Mo Salah, the Pharaohs struggled, conceding an own goal early in the second half. It is the first time Russia has won its opening two games at the World Cup since 1966, with the hosts $1.57 to top group A.
Group action continues tonight, with Portugal $1.62 favourites to beat Morocco, who are priced at $6 at Sportsbet. The draw is paying $3.75.
Cristiano Ronaldo single-handedly salvaged a point for Portugal against Spain with his hat trick in a pulsating 3-all draw.
Wednesday’s match is only the second time the two teams have met, with a 1986 World Cup match seeing Morocco win by a 3-1 scoreline.
Portugal should have little trouble in dispatching Morocco, who would have been bitterly disappointed to concede a goal in the 95th minute against Iran.
There is good value in taking Portugal in the head-to-head at $1.62, but the half-time/full-time result favouring Portugal at $2.60 is a value play.
Saudi Arabia will be hoping to bounce back from a 5-0 humiliation against Russia when they face Uruguay in Rostov on Thursday morning.
Uruguay are $1.14 favourites at Sportsbet, with the Saudis paying a huge $20. The draw is $8.
Uruguay were far from impressive against Egypt, despite stealing victory late in regular time.
Luis Suarez missed three tremendous chances to end the match far earlier than the 90th minute, but it was a victory nonetheless for the Uruguayans, who are the favourites to top group A.
This is the third match between the two sides and the first at a World Cup. Saudi Arabia is undefeated against Uruguay, with a win and a draw in previous matches.
It is the first World Cup match for Saudi Arabia against a South American team, with Uruguay having beaten all three of its Asian opponents in previous World Cup matches.
Saudi Arabia will be hoping not to be rolled over as they were against Russia, but Uruguay possess an even more formidable front-line than the Russians.
Uruguay to win and under 3.5 goals at $1.83 looks a sound bet, as does Uruguay to win to nil at $1.62.
For some extra value, take Uruguay in the handicap at -2 paying $2.50, as they will be better for their first up performance.
The final match tonight is between Iran and Spain in Kazan. Spain are huge favourites at $1.14, with Iran $21 underdogs. The draw is paying $8.
Iran were fortunate to come away from their match against Morocco with all three points and know they face a stern test against Spain, who were held to a 3-all draw against Portugal.
Iran is winless against European opposition at the World Cup, losing five of its six previous matches.
We expect that to continue with a dominant performance from Spain, with plenty of goals expected and the handicap -2 favouring Spain at $2.80 is the bet.
FIFA World Cup Match Odds – Sportsbet
Portugal $1.62 Draw $3.60 Morocco $6.50
Uruguay $1.14 Draw $8 Saudi Arabia $23
Iran $21 Draw $7 Spain $1.17
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