World Cup betting blog
England's disappointing World Cup comes to an end on Tuesday night, and it's going to be very hard for them to get themselves up for a match with Costa Rica, who have already proved they are a decent side.
Roy Hodgson has decided to give some fringe players and youth a chance in this one, with the likes of Luke Shaw, Ross Barkley and James Milner set to start. This can go one of two ways; either those players who come in will be extra determined to do well, or the demoralised feeling in the camp will leave them flat and simply unable to get themselves up for the match. I'm not sure. The new boys will try their hardest, but the fact is that England lack invention and a ruthless edge, while the defence has proved shaky.
That won't be helped by the changes in personnel, and Costa Rica, who need only a point to qualify (and may not need even that) will be desperate to make sure of their place in the qualifying round. Their odds are 16-5 with bet365, which is very tempting, but the double result of Costa Rica and draw is better at 19-20.
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Italy need a draw to get through to the knockout stages, but it's going to be a nail-biting affair against Uruguay, who have to win to be sure of going through. Few teams are better at playing for a draw than Italy, and it will also help them that Uruguay will have to go for it. Luis Suarez and Edison Cavani have shown what they can do, and it's such a hard match to call. It's 4-5 with bet365 that there will be fewer than three goals, and that might be the best way to hedge your bets.
France have been one of the best sides of the World Cup in their first two matches, and although they don't need a result to go through, sometimes sides just get on a roll -- and when they've got momentum, they don't want to ease up in case they never get it back. Ecuador are battling with Switzerland for the second spot and will be desperate for a result, but the French look a class above, and at 5-6 they are value to win again.
Argentina are safely through already thanks to two narrow wins, and they'll get better as the tournament progresses. But Nigeria have more to gain from their clash on Tuesday, and a draw would be enough to seal their place in the next stage, so try that at 29-10.
Portugal are still alive, theoretically, and even though they are relying on events in the other match between Germany and the USA, they should be good enough to beat Ghana, with Cristiano Ronaldo due a big performance. As for Germany against the USA, a draw is good for both sides, but Joachim Low's men don't really play that way. They look solid at 4-6.