Paul Higham is backing England to progress against Colombia, while Sweden and Switzerland will go the distance in Tuesday's last 16 games.
Tuesday's recommended bets
For details of advised bookmakers and each-way terms, see our transparent tipping record.
- Colombia 0-2 England
- Sweden 1-1 Switzerland
Colombia v England (1900 BST - ITV)
This is it, England's biggest game in a decade as the serious business of World Cup knockout football starts for Gareth Southgate's men, and things could hardly have gone any better for them without even playing with how the draw is working out.
Whether you say it out loud or not, England have their best chance in years to go deep into the tournament with Colombia and then Sweden or Switzerland standing in their way of reaching the semi-finals. Hence them now being just 6/1 in the outright market despite their horrible knockout record.
Not that Colombia won't offer a stern test with or without James Rodriguez, but this is a test England can pass if they can aviod the knockout jitters that have hampered their predecessors - and led to half of their 14 World Cup knockout games since the 1966 final going to extra time.
It's 9/1 for the Three Lions to win in extra time (14/1 Colombia) while either team on penalties at 9/2 will attract some attention from nervy england fans.
Given the players on show this looks like being a quick-paced encounter as both sides like a high tempo and there's pace and power all over the pitch. Set plays, though, could be crucial as goals should be much harder to come by than against the likes of Panama.
Both sides look powerful at attacking corners and free kicks so the likes of Stones and Maguire anytime scorers (both 16/1 best price) is worth a look while Yerry Mina is 11/1 with Bet365 to bag a third goal of the tournament.
Colombia did concede against Japan from a cross but the South Americans have not let a goal in when having 11 men on the pitch in this tournament, although they were stretched at times against Senegal in a game they were fortunate to win.
Rodriguez will obviously be a big loss if he's not fit, but Juan Quintero will pick up the slack and he's looked dangerous with his quality in open play and on dead balls. He's a standout 6/1 with Betfred to score anytime and given his excellence from free kicks that's also worth noting.
The first goal will be crucial in this, especially for England to settle those nerves and also draw Colombia out to then create space in behind - but there shouldn't be a lot of goals and England backers should look at Southgate's men to win and under 2.5 goals at 11/4.
On the outright odds, Colombia are overpriced at 3/1 to win the game in 90 minutes as they've got enough to make it much closer, but saying that I do think England have the players, and perhaps more importantly the system, to get the job done in 90 minutes and at 23/20 that's where I'll be heading.
We can save the penaty dramas for later in the tournament!
Prediction: Colombia 0-2 England (Sky bet odds: 15/2)
Best Bet: England to win in 90 minutes at 23/20
- England are unbeaten against Colombia, having faced them five times previously (W3 D2). Their last encounter dates back to May 2005 in New Jersey. England won 3-2 thanks to a Michael Owen hat-trick.
- England beat Colombia in their only previous World Cup encounter thanks to goals from Darren Anderton and David Beckham (2-0), it was in the group stages of the 1998 tournament. Current England boss Gareth Southgate was an unused sub that night.
- Colombia have reached the knockout stages of the World Cup for the third time but it’s the first time they have accomplished it in consecutive tournaments (1990, 2014, 2018). The only previous occasion they’ve gone past the round of 16 was in 2014.
- Three of Colombia’s five goals at this year’s World Cup have come from set-pieces (two from corners, one from direct free-kick) whilst England scored more goals from dead ball situations than any other team in the group stages (6).
- Colombia have scored in each of their last eight World Cup games, the longest current run of any team as of the end of the 2018 group stages. The last time Colombia failed to find the net in the tournament was in June 1998 against England (0-2).
- None of Colombia’s 21 games at the World Cup has ended goalless. In fact, only the USA (33) and Austria (29) have played more games in the competition without ever registering a 0-0.
- England have won only two of their last eight knockout games at the World Cup (v Denmark in 2002, v Ecuador in 2006). They had progressed in six of their eight previous games in the knockout phase.
- Since (and including) the 1966 World Cup final, 50% of England’s knockout games at the tournament have gone to extra-time (7 out of 14). Three have been decided by a penalty shoot-out, all lost by England (Germany 1990, Argentina 1998, Portugal 2006).
- England have only failed to score in one of their 18 knockout games at the World Cup, that was against Portugal in the 2006 quarter-finals (0-0 a.e.t, 1-3 on penalties).
- Harry Kane has played 153 minutes at the World Cup but already only Gary Lineker (10) has scored more times for England in the tournament than the Tottenham striker (5). If Kane finds the net against Colombia, he’ll become the first player to score in six consecutive games for the Three Lions since Tommy Lawton back in 1939.
- Juan Quintero has been directly involved in three of Colombia’s five goals at this World Cup, scoring in the first game and delivering an assist in the second and third game.
Sweden v Switzerland (1500 BST - BBC)
This game just screams draw at you given the recent records of the two sides and also their rather similar style of play - a solid defensive foundation coupled with a well-organised midfield and relience on set plays.
Both sides like to play on the break so it will be interesting to see who actually takes the initiative, as both also know that should they concede the first goal that'll play right into the opposition's hands.
As we've already seen, fear of losing soon grips teams in the knockout stages and the 2/1 widely available on the draw is your starting point for this fixture. Given how well matched they are then 3/1 on draw/draw in the half time-full time market could be tagged on to squeeze out extra value, but I'm happy enough with the outright market.
If they're level at around the 70-minute mark then you can almost be guaranteed of a stalemate as neither of these sides strike me as a 'no guts no glory' type of team who'll try to go and win the game in the dying stages - pragmatism is the name of the game here.
Either team to win in extra time at 5/1 could be the way this one goes, with either side to win on penalties at 4/1 but I can see there being a late winner, most probably coming from a set piece.
Andreas Granqvist has provided some good returns in the World Cup so far having scored twice from the penalty spot and he's still available at 7/1 anytime. He's a dual threat as he takes the spot-kicks but is also a big old unit of a centre half capable of scoring from set pieces.
It's a coin toss for me who'll go through to the quarter-finals but expect it to be tight and just one mistake here or there could well prove to be the difference, and whoever wins will have to put in a bit of overtime to get the job done.
Prediction: Sweden 1-1 Switzerland (Sky Bet odds: 9/2)
Best Bet: Sweden to draw with Switzerland at 2/1
- This will be the 29th meeting between Sweden and Switzerland but the first ever at a major tournament (World Cup + Euro).
- Sweden are unbeaten in their last three games against Switzerland (W1 D2) although their last encounter was in March 2002 (1-1). The Swiss’ last victory came in October 1994 in a Euro qualifier in Bern (4-2), it was under Roy Hodgson.
- Since finishing as runners-up on home soil in 1958, Sweden have progressed past the second round of the World Cup on only one occasion, it was in 1994 when they finished third.
- Sweden have never won back to back World Cup matches outside of their own country – they did so twice in 1958 as host nation but haven’t accomplished it in any of their other 11 tournaments including this one.
- This will be Sweden’s 50th game at the World Cup, becoming the 11th team to reach that tally. Only Mexico have featured in more games without ever winning the tournament.
- Switzerland last made it to the quarter-finals of the World Cup in 1954 when the tournament was held on home soil. Since then, they have always been knocked out whenever they’ve reached the round of 16 (1994, 2006, 2014), not scoring a single goal in any of those three games.
- Switzerland have lost only one of their last 25 games (W17 D7), that came against Portugal in October 2017 (0-2).
- 11 of Switzerland’s last 14 goals at the World Cup have been scored in the second-half, including four out of five at this year’s tournament.
- Between them, Emil Forsberg and Marcus Berg have had 21 of Sweden’s 37 shots at the 2018 World Cup (57%) without scoring any of them.
- Stephan Lichtsteiner will be suspended for this round of 16 game against Sweden. Up until now, the Swiss captain had only missed 25 minutes out of the 1590 played by his team at major tournaments since Euro 2008.
- Since Switzerland reached the quarter-finals at World Cup 1954, Xherdan Shaqiri is the only Swiss player to have scored in the knockout stages of a major tournament. It was at Euro 2016 against Poland.
Odds correct at 1415 BST (02/07/18)
Follow Sporting Life on social media - find us on Facebook here or tweet @SportingLife
Related World Cup links
- World Cup outright tips
- World Cup Golden Boot tips
- World Cup fixtures & schedule
- World Cup groups & predictions
- World Cup team profiles
- World Cup best bets
- World Cup Golden Boot contenders
- World Cup Golden Ball contenders
- World Cup Golden Glove contenders
- New world champions in Russia?
- World Cup venues in focus
- Full World Cup squad lists
- More free football tips
- Sky Bet's World Cup odds