Thu, Jul 5, 1:15pm by Staff Writer
Eight teams remain in the quest for the 2018 FIFA World Cup crown, with Brazil the $4 favourites to claim their fifth World Cup and first since 2002.
The Selecao have been in fine form during the competition so far, finishing atop of group E and breezing past Mexico in the round of 16.
A match against Belgium in Kazan in the quarterfinals will be their biggest test of the tournament thus far, as the Belgians have the strike power up front capable of rivaling Brazil.
Belgium are a $6.50 shot of winning the World Cup and were a trendy bet before the tournament began. Romelu Lukaku has been superb for his country, scoring four goals thus far. He is second in the top goalscorer market at $13 behind Harry Kane at $1.30. Kane has scored six goals so far in Russia.
Belgium were undefeated in group play which included a win against England. After falling behind 2-0 against Japan, they rallied back for a memorable 3-2 win in regular time to set up Saturday’s match against Brazil.
They will have to be far sharper against Brazil to progress to the semi-finals and are $2.40 to qualify for the next round.
France are $5 to win the World Cup and second favourites behind Brazil. They will need to beat the South Americans in a potential semi final to claim the title, with the bottom half of the draw perceived as the ‘weaker’ side.
Group wins against Peru and Australia set up France’s campaign as they finished atop group C. A goal fest followed in their round of 16 match against Argentina.
An early Antoine Griezmann penalty gave France a lead they surrendered early in the second half after back-to-back Argentina goals.
Kylian Mbappe is already a star at just 19 years of age and he scored two goals in five minutes to seal the result.
France have a very winnable game against another South American team in Uruguay on Saturday morning, with a win potentially setting up a match against Brazil.
In the bottom half of the draw, one of Sweden, England, Russia or Croatia will make the 2018 FIFA World Cup final.
Of those teams, England are the best priced at $5.50.
The Three Lions won their first penalty shootout at a World Cup when they overcame Colombia in the quarterfinals.
It was almost heartbreak for England as they squandered a 1-0 lead in the 92nd minute of regular time to send the match into extra time.
Harry Kane has been the tournament’s leading goal scorer with six goals so far and is $1.30 to take out the Golden Boot.
A Harry Kane top goalscorer and Brazil to win double is paying $4.50 at Sportsbet, behind the double of England and Kane at $5.50 in the winner/top goal scorer doubles market.
England are also leading the way to make the final. The finalists of Brazil and England are the shortest price paying $5.50, with France and England are $6.50 next best.
England will have to negotiate a tricky fixture against Sweden in Samara first on Sunday morning before reaching the semi finals.
The Swedes are the longest odds of winning the Cup at $26 but have won their past three matches in the competition.
A hard-fought 1-0 win against Switzerland as underdogs was preceded by another underdog win against Mexico in the group stage.
They are capable of causing an upset and England will need to be on their game in order to progress.
The fourth quarterfinal sees hosts Russia meeting Croatia in Sochi.
Russia are $21 to win the World Cup and have exceeded even their wildest expectations at this tournament.
Ranked the second lowest country on the FIFA ranking heading into the competition, they were impressive in the group stage, particularly in front of goal.
A win against Spain via penalties was one of the upsets of the tournament, as the 2010 champions were bundled out.
It doesn’t get any easier for Russia as they play one of the most impressive teams in the competition thus far in Croatia.
Croatia survived a scare against Denmark in the round of 16 after being pushed all the way to a penalty shootout.
Russia doesn’t possess the class and passing skill of Denmark, which really troubled Croatia in their last match.
The Croatians are $7 to win the World Cup and are decent value given England’s turbulent history in big matches.
FIFA World Cup Winner Odds – Sportsbet
Golden Boot Winner
Harry Kane $1.30
Romelu Lukaku $13
Kylian Mbappe $17
Name the Finalists
Brazil & England $5.50
France $ England $6.50
Brazil $ Croatia $7
France & Croatia $8
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