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World Cup betting tips: Sunday's round of 16 preview and best bets

Our tips for Sunday's last 16 games at the World Cup
Our tips for Sunday's last 16 games at the World Cup

The World Cup action continues on Sunday with hosts Russia in action against Spain. Tom Carnduff has a 6/1 best bet for both games.


Sunday's recommended bets

1pt Andres Iniesta to assist a goal in Spain v Russia at 6/1

2pts Ivan Rakitic to score anytime in Croatia v Denmark at 6/1

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


Predictions:

  • Spain 3-1 Russia
  • Croatia 2-0 Denmark

Spain v Russia (1500 BST, BBC One)

Diego Costa celebrates after scoring for Spain against Iran
Diego Costa celebrates after scoring for Spain against Iran

Russia started the tournament in terrific form, scoring eight goals in their opening two games, but their World Cup campaign should come to an end when they take on Spain in Moscow.

In what looks to be his final World Cup campaign, Andres Iniesta has been in good form in Spain's midfield and there is every chance he could be involved in the goals here.

Specifically, there may be value in backing the midfield veteran contributing an assist, which at 6/1 is more than tempting.

The Japan-bound man claimed the assist on Isco's equalising goal against Morocco, and I would back him to be a helping hand once again in Moscow.

Russia may be the hosts, but they were undone by a good Uruguayan performance and Spain are second-favourites to win this tournament for a reason.

It is difficult to look past the 8/13 price available on Spain wrapping up the victory in 90 minutes, and I quite like the look of 17/4 available on a Spain victory combined with over 3.5 goals in the match.

This game does have the potential, and the talent, for goals. There have been 23 goals in the six games that these two teams have been involved in - that's an average of just under four a game.

On the goalscorer front, it has to be Diego Costa for Spain. He has netted in two of Spain's three matches so far, which includes a brace in that 3-3 draw with Portugal.

The Atletico man can be found at 11/10 to score anytime here, which is fair enough given his track record so far.

Score prediction: Spain 3-1 Russia (Sky Bet odds: 14/1)

Best bet: Andres Iniesta to assist a goal in 90 minutes at 6/1

Opta facts

  • Since the breakup of the Soviet Union, Russia have never beaten Spain (D2 L4). Their last encounter ended 3-3 in a friendly back in November 2017.
  • Spain have scored 10 goals in their last three games against Russia (7 in two games at Euro 2008, 3 in a friendly in November 2017).
  • Spain are unbeaten in their last 23 games (W15 D8), the longest current run amongst the 32 teams at the 2018 World Cup. Their last defeat came two years ago against Italy in the round of 16 of the European Championships (0-2, June 2016).
  • Since (and including) the 2006 World Cup, Spain have dominated possession in 32 of their 33 games at major tournaments (World Cup + Euro). The only exception was in the Euro 2008 final against Germany where they had 46% of the ball.
  • This is Russia’s first ever World Cup knockout match since the breakup of the Soviet Union – at major tournaments, they’ve only played in the knockout stages once, reaching the semi-finals of Euro 2008 when they were eliminated by Spain.
  • Since the breakup of the Soviet Union, Russia have kept only two clean sheets in their 12 games at the World Cup. Meanwhile, Spain have failed to find the net only once in their last 12 matches in the competition (v Chile, June 2014).
  • Russia had just three shots in their last match against Uruguay, the fewest by a host nation in a World Cup match since USA against Brazil in 1994 (3). Russia also both won a match by five goals (5-0 v Saudi Arabia) and lost one by three goals (0-3 v Uruguay), the first time that had happened by such margins in a World Cup group stage since 1982, when Hungary won 10-1 against El Salvador but lost 4-1 against Argentina.
  • Russia scored eight goals in the group stages despite posting an Expected Goals total of 3.06. This means that they would have been expected to score around three goals based on the quality of their chances.
  • If he plays, this will be Andres Iniesta’s 30th game at major tournaments (World Cup + Euro), becoming the third Spanish player to reach that tally after Iker Casillas and Sergio Ramos. He hasn’t converted any of his last 32 shots at the World Cup/Euro, his last goal dating back to the 2010 final against the Netherlands.
  • Isco has been directly involved in 12 goals in his last 15 international matches for Spain (10 goals, 2 assists).
  • Fyodor Smolov scored two goals against Spain in their encounter last November (3-3), the only game in which he’s found the net more than once for Russia. He’s yet to attempt a single shot in 111 minutes of action at this World Cup.

Croatia v Denmark (1900 BST, ITV)

Luka Modric celebrates after scoring for Croatia
Luka Modric celebrates after scoring for Croatia

One of the round of 16's more intriguing ties takes place in Nizhny Novgorod as Croatia, the winners of Group D, take on Denmark, who finished runners-up to France in Group C.

The Croatians have been fantastic throughout their group campaign, winning all three games, including a 3-0 victory over Argentina on matchday 2.

I would be looking at Croatia to secure another win here and Ivan Rakitic could be amongst the goals.

A best price of 6/1 is available on the midfielder to strike anytime in 90 minutes, and he already has one goal to his name at this tournament.

Croatia have shown during their three group games that they have goals throughout the squad with five different players striking already.

The Barcelona man is more than capable of scoring against Denmark, and the price available on him to do that does look a tad high.

Rakitic has been allowed to advance forward when required, and it will come as no surprise to see him in goalscoring positions on Sunday evening. As long as he is in those positions, you'd trust in him to find the back of the net.

When it comes to picking a winner, it's difficult to look past Croatia who have been impressive from what we have seen.

They also have top-level talent in every position, which could be the difference between them and the opposition.

Looking further down the line, Croatia are on the side of the draw that would be favourable for most teams and 9/4 is available on them to reach the semi-final, which in all honesty is not too unrealistic.

Score prediction: Croatia 2-0 Denmark (Sky Bet odds: 7/1)

Best bet: Ivan Rakitic to score anytime at 6/1

Opta facts

  • Croatia and Denmark will be meeting for the sixth time. Their head to head record is perfectly balanced with two wins each and one draw.
  • The only previous encounter between Croatia and Denmark in a major tournament was at Euro 1996. Croatia won 3-0 in the group stages thanks to goals by Davor Suker (2) and Zvonimir Boban (1).
  • Croatia have reached the knockout stages of the World Cup for only the second time after 1998. They finished third that year, their best ever performance at a major tournament.
  • Croatia have won all three of their games so far at the 2018 World Cup, which is their longest ever streak of victories in the competition. They’ve also conceded only one goal in those three games, it came from the penalty spot against Iceland.
  • Six of Croatia’s seven goals at this year’s World Cup have been scored in the second-half. Also, five of their last six shots on target have found the back of the net.
  • Denmark have reached the knockout stages for the fourth time in five appearances after 1986, 1998 and 2002. However, they have gone past the round of 16 only once previously, back in 1998 when they were knocked out in the quarter-finals by Brazil.
  • Denmark have scored only two goals in their last three games. However, their four matches in the knockout stages of the World Cup have produced 19 goals (7 scored, 12 conceded), an average of 4.75 per game.
  • All 29 of Denmark’s goals at the World Cup have been scored from inside the box.
  • If Luka Modric plays against Denmark, he’ll equal Darijo Srna as the Croat with most appearances at major tournaments (18 across World Cup and European Championship). In his 17 previous appearances, he has scored four goals (including two at World Cup 2018) and delivered only one assist (against Turkey at Euro 2008).
  • Christian Eriksen is the only Danish player to have had more than one shot on target so far at the 2018 World Cup (4). He’s scored 13 goals and delivered five assists in his last 16 games for Denmark.
  • Kasper Schmeichel saved 12 of the 13 shots on target he faced in the group stages, only conceding one goal (from a penalty). He has also already kept more clean sheets for Denmark at the World Cup (2 in 3 games) than his father Peter (1 in 5 games).

Odds correct at 1600 BST (29/06/18)

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Most Read Football

Get all the football gossip from the National Papers1

Paper Talk: Madrid want Rashford

All the day’s main back page football news, including Spanish giants chasing Marcus Rashford

Jasper Cillessen celebrates2

Nations League review: Dutch delight

Holland scored twice in the last five minutes to snatch a dramatic 2-2 draw in Germany and qualify for next year's Nations League Finals at the expense of world champions France.

Christian Pulisic3

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Our best bets

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