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Poland captain Robert Lewandowski
Poland captain Robert Lewandowski

George Pitts and Tom Carnduff look at Sunday's World Cup action, with the attention turning to Group H in Sunday's final two games.


Sunday's recommended World Cup bets

1pt Marcus Rashford to score from outside the area at 18/1

2pts Robert Lewandowski to score anytime in Poland v Colombia at 17/11

For details of advised bookmakers and each-way terms, our transparent tipping record


Predictions

  • England 3-0 Panama
  • Japan 1-1 Senegal
  • Poland 2-1 Colombia

Click here to place your bets on Sunday's World Cup action

England v Panama (Group G, 1300 BST, BBC One)

England v Panama: Group G at the 2018 World Cup

England will hope to wrap up a spot in the round of 16 in Sunday's first game when they take on Panama in Nizhny Novgorod.

Gareth Southgate's side had Harry Kane to thank as the captain scored in the final minutes against Tunisia to wrap up the three points in a 2-1 victory.

They come up against a Panama side who offered little in their opener against Belgium, eventually losing 3-0 to a much better side.

For England, they shouldn't have too many issues here and are expected by many to get the win. That's reflected in their 1/4 price for victory.

Southgate is expected to make changes, and I'd be looking at Marcus Rashford to find the back of the net here. The Manchester United youngster is around the even money mark to score anytime, but I'm intrigued by the odds offered on him scoring from outside the area.

Rashford scored a screamer in England's final warm-up game against Costa Rica at Elland Road, and has proved at numerous points throughout the season that he isn't afraid to try his luck from distance.

He did also manage to find the net with long-range shots against Burton and Basel, and came close a number of other times.

For me, the odds of 18/1 available on him to score from outside the area again are much more appealing than even money on him to score.

Panama didn't threaten the Belgian net much in their last outing, and the 4/6 price on England to win to nil seems about right given the circumstances.

Another bigger priced bet that caught my eye was Jesse Lingard to hit the woodwork at 7/1.

The Three Lions are expected to be able to get plenty of shots on goal, and Lingard hit the woodwork more than any other Manchester United player last season.

Score prediction: England 3-0 Panama (Sky Bet odds: 11/2) (Tom Carnduff)

Best bet: Marcus Rashford to score from outside the area at 18/1

Opta facts

  • This will be the first ever meeting between England and Panama.
  • England are unbeaten in their last four World Cup games against CONCACAF nations (W2 D2), drawing the last two against USA in 2010 and Costa Rica in 2014. Their only defeat came in 1950 against USA.
  • Panama will be the 38th different nation England have faced at a World Cup – of the previous 37, they’ve only lost their first meeting against five; USA and Spain in 1950, Uruguay in 1954, Hungary in 1962 and Italy in 1990.
  • CONCACAF nations have only won one of their last 10 World Cup meetings against European sides (W1 D3 L6), with Mexico beating Germany in the opening round of matches in this tournament.
  • In their opening match against Belgium, Panama suffered the biggest defeat in a World Cup debut match (0-3) since Ukraine vs Spain in 2006 (0-4).
  • England haven’t won consecutive games at the World Cup since their opening two games of the 2006 tournament.
  • Only twice before have England won both of their opening two games to a World Cup campaign (1982 and 2006).
  • Striker Harry Kane has scored in each of his last four appearances for England, his best ever run for the Three Lions.
  • In their opening match against Tunisia, Harry Kane became the first England player to score a brace in a World Cup match since Gary Lineker against Cameroon in 1990.
  • Harry Kane has scored both of England’s goals so far at World Cup 2018. The last England player to score more goals in the group stages of a World Cup tournament was Gary Lineker in 1986 (3).

Japan v Senegal (Group H, 1600 BST, BBC One)

Japan v Senegal: Group H at the 2018 World Cup

At the start of the tournament, most would have expected this match to essentially be a third-place play-off, but it could now decide the winner of Group H.

To be fair, it was the toughest to call of the eight divisions and Japan and Colombia both got off to great starts after beating Colombia and Poland respectively.

Both sides came out of the traps and made it difficult for their opponent, but this could be a closer call here and a draw looks like the best bet at a best price of 11/5.

Japan have been an enjoyable nation to watch at World Cup finals in recent years and they showed on Tuesday that they are well capable of getting a result.

Senegal have proved tough to beat, losing just one of their last 14 matches and drawing seven of those.

A point would represent a good result for both sides heading into the final group match, with a score draw boosting the odds to a best price of 19/5, while a half-time/full-time of Japan/draw can be backed at 17s.

Score prediction: Japan 1-1 Senegal (Sky Bet odds:5/1) (George Pitts)

Best bet: Draw at 11/5

Opta facts

  • This will be the fourth meeting between Japan and Senegal, with the African side unbeaten in the previous three (W2 D1, all friendlies).
  • Japan and Senegal’s most recent encounter was in September 2003, which produced a 1-0 win for the African side in Niigata (Papa Bouba Diop goal).
  • Japan have won two of their three World Cup games against African opponents, though they did lose the most recent one (1-2 vs Ivory Coast in 2014).
  • This will be the first time Senegal have faced Asian opponents in a World Cup game.
  • No Asian nation has ever won both of their opening two games at a World Cup tournament before.
  • Japan haven’t won consecutive games at the World Cup since 2002, when they cohosted the tournament with South Korea. On that occasion it was in their second and third game of the group stage (versus Russia and Tunisia).
  • Senegal have won three of their six World Cup matches. They’ve got the best win rate of any African nation to play in the competition (50%).
  • Senegal have conceded just five goals in their last nine matches in all competitions, with four of them coming in the second half of games.
  • Only two African nations have ever won both of their opening two matches to a World Cup tournament – Cameroon in 1990 and Nigeria in 1998.
  • Keisuke Honda has been directly involved in six of Japan’s last eight goals scored at World Cup tournaments with three goals and three assists.

Poland v Colombia (Group H, 1900 BST, ITV)

Poland v Colombia: Group H at the 2018 World Cup

They were the two favourites for Group H, but Poland and Colombia come into this game empty-handed after surprise defeats in the opening round.

Colombia lost 2-1 to Japan whilst Poland were defeated by the same scoreline against Senegal.

Both sides know that defeat here will all-but-end their World Cup adventure, and a draw doesn't really suit either.

For me, I'd potentially expect a few more goals and Robert Lewandowski is available at a tempting price of 17/11 to score anytime for Poland.

He may have been quiet in their last outing, but in all honesty it was a performance that didn't live up to the talent that Poland possess, and I'd expect a better showing this time around.

Lewandowski is also reportedly looking for a move away from Bayern Munich, after a fantastic season that saw him score 41 goals in all competitions.

The World Cup is a golden opportunity to put himself at the front of the shop window, and he'll be eager to try and continue his tremendous goal-scoring form.

Poland are the outsiders here, and can even be found at 27/11 to secure victory, with Colombia the 7/5 favourites.

Based on early showings though, there is not much to suggest why the South American side should be that much shorter in price. Poland are a tad overpriced here and I fancy them to cause a bit of an upset looking at the odds.

Score prediction: Poland 2-1 Colombia (Sky Bet odds: 12/1) (Tom Carnduff)

Best bet: Robert Lewandowski to score anytime at 17/11

Opta facts

  • This will be the first competitive meeting between Poland and Colombia – the South Americans won the most recent friendly 2-1 in Chorzow in 2006.
  • Colombia have won only two of their nine previous World Cup games against European opponents (D2 L5), though these victories have come in their last four such meetings against Switzerland in 1994 and Greece in 2014.
  • None of Poland’s nine World Cup games against South American opponents has finished as a draw, with the Eagles winning four and losing five.
  • Only once before have Colombia lost both of their opening two games in a World Cup tournament, doing so against Romania and the USA back in 1994.
  • None of Colombia’s 19 games at the World Cup have ended goalless.
  • Poland have lost seven of their last nine World Cup matches (W2), failing to score in six of those losses.
  • Poland have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last nine World Cup matches, since beating Portugal 1-0 in 1986.
  • Juan Quintero became the first Colombian player to score in two different World Cup tournaments in their opening defeat against Japan (2014 and 2018).
  • Despite failing to score against Senegal in Poland’s opening match, Robert Lewandowski has netted 21 goals in his last 16 appearances for his national team.
  • Colombian Carlos Sanchez’s red card in their opening match against Japan was the first dismissal at the 2018 World Cup and was also Colombia’s first ever sending off in the competition.

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Preview posted at 1900 BST (22/06/18)

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