Football / Preview / World Cup Friday 25Th June

World Cup: Friday 25th June

Pre-tournament favourites Brazil and Spain conclude their Group Stage matches with the European's needing three points to guarantee progression to the Last 16.

Spain's David Villa



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Korea DPR (Bettorlogic rank 65) v Ivory Coast (21) (Fri, 15:00)

Korea DPR paid the ultimate price for changing their style of play from ultra-defensive in their opener against Brazil to openly attacking in their game against Portugal. Although, they impressed in the opening half – they were 1-0 down at the break –they tired in the second and, as a result, were thrashed 7-0 in the heaviest defeat of the tournament so far. Teams with a Bettorlogic rank of 51+ have lost 12 of 20 World Cup matches against teams ranked 11-30 with eight defeats by two clear goals and just two wins. Furthermore, these teams are winless in 10 such matches when they have lost their previous fixture – W0-D4-L6 with eight -2.5 goals games.

The Ivory Coast also suffered in Korea DPR’s heavy defeat to Portugal as qualification for them is near impossible now. Although a win here – and a Brazil win over Portugal – would tie them and Portugal for points in Group G, Portugal current have a nine goals lead in terms of goal difference. In finals, the Ivory Coast have won seven of 15 matches when they have lost their previous match, while they have won 13 of 22 matches against teams ranked 51+ with just two losses and two wins by two clear goals.

Recommendation: Ivory Coast Win -1.25 1.95, Bet365


Portugal (9) v Brazil (1) (Fri, 15:00)

So emphatic was Portugal’s win over Ivory Coast that Carlos Queiroz’s team can now be backed at 1.01 on Betfair to qualify for the knockout stages. This, however, is a peculiar match as both will want to avoid Spain in the next round but there is no way of telling whether Spain will finish first, second or even qualify in Group H later on. Portugal have an impressive finals Group Stage record of 16 wins from 26 games since 1984 and 16 of the matches have settled the -2.5 goals market. Incredibly, their record improves when they face higher ranked opposition with five wins from seven undefeated games and five clean sheets.

Brazil are in a similar position to Portugal in that they can’t be sure that a win here will ensure they avoid Spain in the next round. The Samba Boys will be without the services of playmaker Kaka as he serves a suspension after being controversially dismissed in their clash with the Ivory Coast on Sunday. Since 1970, Brazil have won 11 of 15 finals Group Stage matches when they have won their opening two games, however they have been beaten in their two such matches when they have faced a top-10 ranked team. More generally, over the same period, top-five ranked teams have gone W33-D31-L32 in finals matches against teams ranked 6-10, which has included just one win in the last 16 such games.

Recommendation: Portugal Win +0.25 2.00, Paddy Power


Chile (7) v Spain (2) (Fri, 19:30)

Chile v Spain is perhaps the most mouth-watering tie of all the final Group Stage matches, mainly because the result will decide whether or not Brazil and Spain meet each other in the Last 16. Chile were in the most peculiar position of any team after their first two World Cup fixtures. Despite winning both games, and thus sitting at the summit of Group H, they are third favourites to progress to the knockout stages – Spain 1.37, Switzerland 1.53, Chile 1.63, Honduras 150. While this may seem incredible value at first, one should note that teams that have won their opening two finals fixtures have lost 13 of 21 Group Stage fixtures against top-five ranked teams, failing to score on 15 occasions with 11 half-time draws. Furthermore, Chile have been beaten in 10 of 13 finals matches against top-five ranked sides with seven losses-to-nil, although they have gone into the break level in five of their last 10 such games.

David Villa’s brace in their 2-0 victory over Honduras went some way to banishing memories of Spain’s shock opening defeat to Switzerland, however failure to win here would mean the reigning European champions would be knocked out should the Swiss beat Honduras. Historically, Spain have a poor record against top-10 ranked sides with just six wins from 25 finals, however this improves to W3-D2-L2 when they are the higher ranked team with six HT draws. As mentioned in the above Brazil v Portugal preview, top-five ranked teams have gone W33-D31-L32 in finals matches against teams ranked 6-10, which has included just one win in the last 16 such games – 49 of the 96 fixtures have been tied at the interval.

Recommendation: HT Draw 2.38, Extrabet


Switzerland (26) v Honduras (28) (Fri, 19:30)

Switzerland were forced to change their game plan against Chile when Valon Behrami was harshly dismissed on the half hour mark. This led to the Swiss putting 10-men behind the ball while captain and playmaker Alexander Frei was substituted for the more defensive-minded Tranquillo Barnetta shortly afterwards. Switzerland managed to hold out for the 67 minutes that was required to surpass the longest running clean sheet record held in World Cup history previously held by Italy, but could not keep going much longer as ex-Liverpool player Mark Gonzalez scored a late headed-winner. Had Switzerland managed a draw in that game they would have been almost certainly assured of a place in the Last 16. The Swiss have won just five of 19 finals matches since 1994 with nine defeats and only two of five when they have been the higher ranked team.

Honduras are one of just three teams who failed to score in their opening two World Cup fixtures – Algeria and France were the other two. Although they have limited experience, 10 of Honduras’ 11 previous finals matches have settled the -2.5 goals market while they have gone W3-D3-L5 generally. Incredibly the Central Americans can still qualify for the Last 16, but they need a convincing win here and a comfortable Chile win over Spain. The lower-ranked team has gone W16-D6-L12 in finals matches between two teams ranked 21-30 since 1970 and 24 of the matches have seen fewer than three goals.

Recommendation: -2.5 goals 1.87, Betfair


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