Football / Preview / World Cup Tuesday 28Th June

World Cup: Tuesday 28th June

Paraguay and Japan meet in the early match, but it is the mouth-watering Iberian derby between Spain and Portugal that instantly attracts the eye.

Portugal's Christiano Ronaldo


Paraguay (Bettorlogic rank 11) v Japan (14) (Tues, 15:00)

Paraguay were the surprise winners of Italy’s group as the South American’s have impressed in South Africa and they face Japan, who themselves are shock qualifiers after an excellent win in their final group game.

Worryingly for Paraguay they’ve not won a knockout match since 1979 when they won the Copa America. However, their opponents have an even worse record having only ever once qualified for the knockouts of major finals, when they lost in the second round at the 2002 World Cup on home soil.

Since the 1998 World Cup Paraguay have won five and lost only three of 11 finals matches against teams ranked 11-30, with four of their wins by two-clear goals, although in 7/11 matches they were level at half-time.

Japan came into this tournament with no form and little confidence but have looked better in each match. However, they’ve lost five and won two of nine finals matches against top-20 ranked teams with six half-time draws and four defeats to nil

There have been 16 World Cup knockout matches between a team ranked 6-15 and a side ranked 11-20 with the higher ranked team going W6-D7-L2 and all six of the wins have come with clean sheets as just 4/16 matches have had more than three goals. Also 11 have been level at half-time with nine goalless as the higher ranked side has recorded four D/Ws. Moreover, in the first knockout stage six of nine such matches have been drawn at half-time.

Recommendation: Paraguay win to nil at 3.25, Sky Bet
                                   Half-time draw at 2.0, Betfred


Spain (4) v Portugal (9) (Tues, 19:30)

Spain and Portugal face each other in the last, but certainly not least, Last 16 clash on Tuesday evening with a quarter-final spot the reward for the victors. These neighbours have met only twice in finals competition since 1970 with the Portuguese winning 1-0 in Euro 2004 and a 1-1 stalemate in Euro 1984 – both games were Group Stage matches.

Despite beating highly-ranked Chile in their final group stage match, Spain failed to impress early-on and only commanded the game when Chile were reduced to 10-men. Even then they managed to concede straight after half-time. The victory was just their seventh in 26 (27%) in finals against teams ranked 1-10. Spain have quite a poor finals knockout record, despite losing just four of 15 such games since 1984, they have also won just four games in 90 minutes. Nine of the 15 matches saw fewer than three goals while they have qualified in just three of nine fixtures when they have conceded.

Portugal are just one of two teams – Uruguay was the other – that kept three clean sheets in their Group Stage matches, despite both coming through arguably the two toughest groups. Although they played out two lacklustre scoreless draws with the Ivory Coast and Brazil, the fact they prevented both sides scoring will give them belief they can do the same here. Further, because of their 7-0 demolition of Korea DPR they also finished with the highest goal-difference of any of the 32 teams. Portugal have won just three of 12 finals knockout matches since 1984, although a further four have gone to extra-time (nine -2.5 goals, five -1.5 goals).

Teams that have gained six points in their group haven’t won any of nine finals knockout matches against teams that have been unbeaten with at least one win since 2006, although six of the matches have gone to extra-time (six -2.5 goals). Five of the last nine World Cup knockout matches between two top-10 ranked European sides have gone to extra-time (seven -2.5 goals, five -1.5 goals).

Recommendation: Drawn match 3.30, Paddy Power


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