Published on by Darren8196 1 Comments Updated on
As expected, the first set of games were pretty tough to call, with several big upsets causing Germany, Argentina, Brazil and Spain to miss out on expected wins. Hopefully, now that we know a bit more about the teams, we can get a bit better with the predictions.
So, let’s get into the first half of fixtures on Matchday 2 and look at the matchups:
Russia v Egypt
Although this is technically in Matchday 2, it is being played on the same day as the final matches of Matchday 1, so is listed at the bottom of the first set of fixtures.
Russia got off to a flying start in the opener, crushing Saudi Arabia 5-0, and know that a win this game could see them qualify for the knockout stages, unless the Saudi’s are able to pull off an incredible big win against Uruguay and Egypt. The early loss of playmaker Dzagoev seemed to have little impact on the first game, but Cheryshev’s excellent impact will help fill that role and push them towards another good result.
Salah’s was always a doubt for their opener against Uruguay, but he will almost certainly start the second game, especially with this being a must win game. They have failed to win a game in their previous two attempts in the finals, so will no doubt be aiming for a win this time round. They can take confidence from their performance against Uruguay, holding them until the 89th minute.
Salah’s addition to Egypt’s lineup will no doubt be a massive boost, and give them a great attacking threat against a defence that went relatively untested in the first match. I feel like Russia’s performance in the first game showed how they are going to play for most of this tournament, and they will be too good for Egypt.
My Prediction: Russia win
Match played: Tuesday 19th, 7:00 p.m. (BST) / 2:00 p.m. (EST)
Portugal v Morocco
Ronaldo has finally broken his World Cup curse, equalling his goal tally from the previous three tournaments in Portugal’s opener against Spain. After a solid draw against their Iberian rivals, they now face the nation next closest to them on a map in a game they will be expecting to win.
Morocco will be gutted after a 95th minute own goal saw them lose to Iran, and their games only get more difficult. They know that they will need a win in their next two games to even have a chance of making it out of the group, but they will be big outsiders for this game.
Portugal’s confidence will be sky high, and know that a win will basically secure their spot in the next round. With an in form Ronaldo gunning for glory, I can’t see them losing this one.
My Prediction: Portugal win
Match played: Wednesday 20th, 1:00 p.m. (BST) / 8:00 a.m. (EST)
Uruguay v Saudi Arabia
Uruguay should feel lucky to have come away with three points from their opener after missing plenty of chances, with Suarez being particularly wasteful. They will be hoping to get plenty of goals this time round to help improve their goal difference, especially after Russia cruised past Saudi Arabia.
The Saudi’s have a massive uphill battle on their hands after a dismal against the hosts puts them in a poor position in the group after the first game. They will need a big shake up if they want to pick up a point in the group, with Uruguay’s talented squad and a Salah-led Egypt left to play.
Uruguay are my picks for this one, as I can’t see both Suarez and Cavani both playing as poorly as they did in the first game and missing lots of chances against a worse defence.
My Prediction: Uruguay win
Match played: Wednesday 20th, 4:00 p.m. (BST) / 11:00 a.m. (EST)
Iran v Spain
Iran will no doubt have breathed a huge sigh of relief after Bouhaddouz headed into his own goal to gift them three points, and now they know that they can capitalise on a mistake from either Portugal or Spain to cause a big upset and reach the knockout stages.
Spain will be disappointed with a draw in their opener, but can take confidence in the fact that Diego Costa has got off to a goalscoring start. Nacho’s inclusion at right back caused some raised eyebrows, but he may find himself on the bench as Carvajal returns to full fitness.
Spain are big favourites here, and I can’t see Iran causing them too many issues.
My Prediction: Spain win
Match played: Wednesday 20th, 7:00 p.m. (BST) / 2:00 p.m. (EST)
Denmark v Australia
Denmark will be suffering due to the loss of William Kvist to injury, after their holding midfielder suffered two fractured ribs and a punctured lung during their first match. That didn’t stop them from pushing on to a close 1-0 win over Peru, which puts them in a good position to qualify for the last 16.
Australia showed against France that they are no pushovers, losing 2-1 to a penalty after a tough VAR review and a late own goal cost them a deserved point. With talents like Mooy, Rogic and Kruse in their team, they are not to be underestimated by anyone.
Denmark are expected to win this game, and I think that they will be able to do just that with their quality in Eriksen being too much for Australia to be able to handle for 90+ minutes.
My Prediction: Denmark win
Match played: Thursday 21st, 1:00 p.m. (BST) / 8:00 a.m. (EST)
France v Peru
France will be hoping to push on after a rather disappointing performance first time round, and get another three points needed to see them through to the knockout stages. They struggled to create too many clear cut chances, and may switch things up to be a bit more attacking, particularly in midfield.
Peru showed why they are currently 11th in the FIFA rankings, proving very tough for Denmark to break down and being on top for large portions of the game. They now face a big uphill battle to get out of the group stage, knowing they need a win to be in with any realistic chance.
France are still favourites for this game, but I feel like Peru have the potential to cause a lot more problems for them than they may anticipate. However, a squad of France’s quality should still be able to overcome Los Blanquirroja.
My Prediction: France win
Match played: Thursday 21st, 4:00 p.m. (BST) / 11:00 a.m. (EST)
Argentina v Croatia
Despite their attacking talents, Argentina looked somewhat lacking in creativity as they struggled to a 1-1 draw against Iceland. They will almost certainly make some changes, perhaps bringing in the likes of Dybala to start, as they take on a far more talented side on paper in Croatia.
Croatia can almost put the nail in the coffin for Argentina, if they are able to get a win over the South American giants. They lack the defensive solidity that Iceland possessed, with their talents being mostly in midfield and attack.
This game should be very open, with Argentina’s attackers no doubt hoping to have more space to move than they did against a very defensive Iceland side, while Croatia’s midfield will be hoping to dominate and cut out anything going through to them. I feel like Argentina, with their need and desire to pick up three points, will conquer, but a draw wouldn’t be a surprise either.
My Prediction: Argentina win
Match played: Thursday 21st, 7:00 p.m. (BST) / 2:00 p.m. (EST)
Brazil v Costa Rica
Brazil were held by a strong Switzerland side in their opener, and will no doubt be hoping to kick on with a big win over the weakest team in the group. Neymar was almost fouled out the game, with 10 fouls alone being committed on him, and may expect something similar again - if he is able to return to fitness after had to leave training due to a potential foot injury. But with the all round talent in Brazil’s squad, they showed that they don’t need to rely as heavily on Neymar as some may have expected, especially now he is a doubt
Costa Rica pushed Serbia close, only to miss out on a point due to a great free kick from Kolarov in the last five minutes. With this being what they expect to be the toughest game on paper for them, they will need to keep as solid a defensive performance as they put in against Serbia.
Brazil are big favourites here, and the quality they showed from their first game makes me feel like this will be a more comfortable game and a win for them.
My Prediction: Brazil win
Match played: Friday 22nd, 1:00 p.m. (BST) / 8:00 a.m. (EST)
Stay tuned for a look at the second half of Matchday 2, coming later this week give or take 24 hours before the Serbia-Switzerland match.