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Jul 2, 2014

Quarterfinals betting guide

France cruised past Nigeria in the round of 16 to set up a mouth-watering clash against Germany in the quarterfinals.

Brazil have dealt well with the pressure of trying to deliver a World Cup to their fans on home soil so far, without looking like the bookmakers' favourites they are. They almost lost to Chile and there has to be a chance they might not get past Colombia in the quarterfinals. That's despite their 39-year unbeaten record in competitive home matches. An injury concern for their talisman, Neymar, won't help either.

Colombia, though, have been superb and perhaps the team of the tournament. Their front two have the movement, class and speed to unsettle Brazil and this could be another tough test for the hosts. Bet365 go 15/4 that Colombia win it without the need for extra-time but I think it might go the distance, not least because the tension could mean some edginess in the 90 minutes. Bet365 offer 6/1 the match is decided in 120 minutes and that's worth a go.

The first of the quarterfinals has old rivals France and Germany taking on each other and on form, you would expect Didier Deschamps' side to win it. They've been far more impressive to this point, creating chances and looking like a solid, united side. However, this is Germany and in the second half of their win over Algeria, they may have stumbled across a better formation. Once Philipp Lahm moved back to his more natural right-back position and Sami Khedira came into midfield, they looked far more cohesive.

They do look a little fragile in defence, which is unusual, but their big tournament experience could be vital against a young French team. I know I picked France as an outside bet for the tournament but Germany have the calibre to get this done. At 29/20 with Bet365 they look good value.

My outright pick Argentina have not impressed that much but they continue to advance thanks to the magic of Lionel Messi. With Sergio Aguero missing through injury, the Barcelona star is carrying his country's hopes even more on his shoulders, which is a big burden.

Belgium are good on the counter-attack and may cause them problems but I fancy Argentina to go through in a tight match. At 11/10 they're a solid bet against a young Belgium side who will be all the better for this experience come Euro 2016.

Finally, the quarterfinal between Netherlands and Costa Rica. The Dutch continue to impress and are strong favourites to go through. Costa Rica have done incredibly well to get to this stage but the Dutch have too much about them -- to me at least -- to let anything stop them from reaching the last four.

This could be the most one-sided of the four quarterfinals, especially if Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneider and Robin van Persie are on song. At 6/5 they are worth taking to be leading at half-time and full-time.