Tom Carnduff takes a look at Saturday's quarter-final games - and has two 5/1 best bets for England's clash with Sweden.
Saturday's recommended bets
For details of advised bookmakers and each-way terms, see our transparent tipping record
- Sweden 0-2 England
- Russia 1-1 Croatia
Sweden v England (1500 BST, BBC One)
Gareth Southgate led England to their first knockout stages victory since 2006, and their first ever penalty shootout win at a World Cup in their round of 16 success over Colombia.
The Three Lions are odds-on to get past Sweden, and should be looking towards another win here. Set-pieces have been key for England so far, and I think they might pay off for them once again in Samara.
That's why Kieran Trippier will be key for his side, and he has every chance of being amongst the goals if they are to come in this encounter.
A 5/1 price is available on him to provide an assist in 90 minutes, whilst the same odds can also be found on 1+ shots on target, which looks incredibly tempting.
Four of England's nine goals at the World Cup have come as a result of a set-piece, whilst three have been from the penalty spot and just two from open play.
With Trippier being England's man to deliver in these situations, there is every chance he could grab himself an assist if England are to get themselves onto the scoresheet.
The shot on target bet is intriguing at that price as well. The Spurs man has been trusted with close-range free-kicks in Russia and he has come close on more than one occasion.
Should the Three Lions get themselves in this type of situation, you would imagine he will go for goal again and as long as it hits the target, whether a goal or a save, this would meet the criteria for the bet.
A shorter-priced bet that looks decent value is of course Harry Kane to score anytime in 90 minutes, with 23/20 the best available on him to strike.
The England captain is leading the goalscoring charts at the tournament and finds himself 2/7 favourite for the Golden Boot.
You'd fancy him to continue his great form here and hopefully fire England into their first World Cup semi-final since Italia '90.
Score prediction: Sweden 0-2 England (Sky Bet odds: 7/1)
Alternative best bet: Kieran Trippier to have 1+ shots on target at 5/1
- This will be the 25th meeting between these sides. England have won eight to Sweden’s seven, with nine draws.
- Both of the previous World Cup meetings between Sweden and England have finished level, with a 1-1 draw in 2002 and a 2-2 in 2006 (both in the group stages).
- Sweden could become the third team that England have beaten at both the World Cup and European Championships, after Germany and Switzerland. They beat Sweden 3-2 in EURO 2012.
- Sweden are competing in their fifth World Cup quarter-final – they’ve progressed to the semi-final in three of their previous four (1938, 1958 and 1994), losing only in 1934 against Germany.
- England have reached the World Cup quarter-final for the first time since 2006, when they lost on penalties to Portugal. They’ve not progressed beyond this stage since 1990, when they beat Cameroon 3-2.
- England have only progressed from two of their eight previous World Cup quarter-final appearances, doing so in 1966 and 1990.
- 11 of Sweden’s last 14 goals at the World Cup have been scored in the second half, including five of their six goals at this tournament.
- No England player has scored more World Cup goals in a single tournament than the six Harry Kane has scored in 2018. Gary Lineker also netted six in 1986, winning the Golden Boot in the process.
- Harry Kane has scored with all six of his shots on target for England at the World Cup, including three penalties – the last player to score three at a World Cup tournament was Bulgaria’s Hristo Stoichkov in 1994.
- Harry Kane could become only the third player in the history of the England national team to score in seven consecutive appearances – the others are George Camsell (9 in a row between 1929 and 1936) and Steve Bloomer (10 in a row between 1895 and 1899).
- Sweden goalkeeper Robin Olsen has kept three clean sheets at the 2018 World Cup, a joint-record for a Swedish goalkeeper in World Cup finals history (also three clean sheets for Ronnie Hellström in 1974 and Karl Svensson in 1958).
- Sweden striker Marcus Berg has had 13 shots without scoring at the 2018 World Cup, the most of any player to fail to score this tournament; the last Sweden player to have more shots without scoring at a World Cup was Ove Grahn in 1974 (17 shots, 0 goals).
Russia v Croatia (1900 BST, ITV)
The hosts will be aiming to continue their great World Cup run on home soil when they face Croatia in Sochi.
Russia had to settle for penalties against Spain, and they may have to go past another 90 minutes in what should be a close encounter.
Russia have exceeded all expectations, both from internal and external media, by reaching this stage but should see their campaign come to an end here.
Croatia also had to settle for the same method of victory against Denmark, with goalkeeper Danijel Subasic saving a total of three penalties.
There may not be a need for the shootout this time though, because Croatia may have enough to see off Russia in extra-time.
They are a team that has quality throughout the side, and midfielder Luka Modric has been the star of the show so far alongside the likes of Ivan Perisic and Ivan Rakitic going forward.
Russia were resilient against Spain though, and Croatia may not find it as easy as the general odds on their victory suggest.
Modric is Croatia's designated penalty taker, alongside being capable of striking in open play, and the 4/1 available on him scoring seems good value if you are looking for a goalscorer bet in this one.
This should be an entertaining clash though, and if you are an England supporter, one that you will hopefully be watching as a scouting mission for next Wednesday's semi-final encounter.
Score prediction: Russia 1-1 Croatia (Sky Bet odds: 5/1)
- Russia and Croatia have faced three times previously, with two of those ending goalless in qualifiers for Euro 2008; Croatia won the other meeting in November 2015, a 3-1 victory in a friendly in Rostov, with Mario Mandzukic scoring Croatia’s third goal.
- Russia have reached the quarter-final of the World Cup for the first time since the breakup of the Soviet Union – as the USSR, they reached the quarter-final in four consecutive World Cups between 1958 and 1970.
- Croatia won their only other World Cup quarter-final, defeating Germany in 1998 on their way to that year’s semi-finals, when they were eliminated.
- The last five host nations to feature in a World Cup quarter-final have all progressed to the semi-final (Italy 1990, France 1998, South Korea 2002, Germany 2006 and Brazil 2014).
- Croatia have scored as many goals in four matches at this year’s World Cup (8) as they did in six games in their previous two World Cup appearances in 2006 and 2014 combined.
- Russia had 10 shots on target in their first two 2018 World Cup games – they have managed just two in their last two matches, with one of those a penalty (Artem Dzyuba v Spain).
- After keeping clean sheets in both of their opening games at this World Cup, Croatia have conceded once in each of their last two matches; they haven’t conceded a goal in three consecutive matches at the same World Cup tournament since 2002, when they failed to keep a clean sheet in all three of their matches.
- Croatia have only lost one of their seven World Cup matches against fellow European opposition (W5 D1), while Russia have never beaten a European team at the World Cup (D1 L3), although they did eliminate Spain on penalties in the Last 16 of this tournament after a 1-1 draw.
- 10 of Croatia’s last 12 World Cup goals have come in the second halves of their games.
- Mario Mandzukic scored his third World Cup goal for Croatia against Denmark in the last round – only Davor Suker (6) has scored more for them at the World Cup.
- Artem Dzyuba has been directly involved in four of Russia’s last seven goals at the 2018 World Cup (three goals, one assist), scoring both of their last two.
- Croatia have faced the host nation at the World Cup twice previously, losing both matches against France in 1998 (1-2 in semi-final) and Brazil in 2014 (1-3 in group stage).
Preview posted at 1535 BST (05/07/18)
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