Tue, Jun 26, 11:02am by Staff Writer
Uruguay has finished atop group A with a dominant performance against Russia, defeating the hosts 3-0.
A first half brace to the South American’s and a red card to Russia Igor Smolnikov all but sealed their fate before the break.
In the other game in group A, Saudi Arabia managed to earn their first win in their past four World Cup tournaments, defeating Egypt 2-1.
Mo Salah put Egypt ahead in the 22nd minute, before a penalty to Saudi Arabia just before half-time levelled the scores.
A 95th minute goal at the death gave the Middle Eastern nation the win, in a free-flowing clash in Volgograd.
Spain and Portugal both secured their place in the last-16 with draws against Morocco and Iran respectively.
Spain will now play hosts Russia, with Portugal taking on Uruguay in a tantalising clash to begin the knockout round.
The final matches in group C and D take place tonight, with places in the knockout stages still up for grabs.
France are $2.25 favourites to defeat Denmark, but are already through to the knockout stage, with the Danes in need of a victory of guarantee passage to the last 16.
They are priced as $4.75 underdogs for the match in Moscow. The draw is paying $2.70, which is an incredibly low price in the win-draw-win market. A draw will guarantee Denmark a spot in the knockout stages, with Australia already three points behind them after two games.
Despite this, Les Bleus should do enough against Denmark to make it three wins from three games and their price of $2.25 looks generous.
Australia’s hopes hinge on a win at the Fisht Stadium against Peru, and hoping that France defeat Denmark.
Both teams have struggled for goals thus far in the tournament, with Australia’s two goals coming from the penalty spot and scored by captain Mile Jedinak.
The Socceroos are $3 underdogs for the match, with the South American’s $2.50 favourites. The draw is paying $3.40. Peru has already been eliminated from the tournament and is without a point from their two previous matches.
These two teams are difficult to split, with a draw at $3.40 looking like the most likely result.
Group D is one of the more interesting groups heading into the final round of preliminary action.
Croatia has progressed to the knockout rounds, after a resounding 3-0 win against Argentina.
They take on an Iceland team that is in must-win mode, sitting third in group D with only a single point after two games.
The Croatians were identified as a dark horse by many before the tournament commenced, but their performances thus far have exceeded even their wildest expectations.
They have been one of the most impressive attacking sides and have not conceded a goal thus far and are $2.25 to claim victory in Rostov and should do so again when they play Iceland.
Iceland are $3.50 underdogs, with a draw paying $3.40. Iceland will need Nigeria and Argentina to draw to have a chance to progress and look unlikely to do so.
Argentina have been the biggest letdown of the group stage, languishing in bottom position in the group after entering the tournament as group D favourites.
They are $1.55 favourites to defeat Nigeria who are priced at $6.50. The draw is paying $4.33.
This is a must-win game for Argentina, who will need Iceland to lose and to beat Nigeria to progress.
This is not an impossible task, however they have played poorly this tournament and have historically struggled in big games. Taking the draw at $4.33 is an intriguing option given their struggles in earlier group games.
FIFA World Cup Match Odds – Sportsbet
France $2.25 Draw $2.70 Denmark $4.75
Australia $3 Draw $3.40 Peru $2.50
Croatia $2.25 Draw $3.40 Iceland $3.50
Nigeria $6.50 Draw $4.33 Argentina $1.55
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