Article posted on Friday 22 June - 09:35 EDT
The Serbians are the better placed of the two team here thanks to winning their opening game. A point would put them on four points with only a game against Brazil to come. It is highly unlikely that Costa Rica will beat Brazil so four points could be enough to progress from the group.
Nigeria know that they have to claim all three points if they are to have a realistic chance of reaching the knockout stages. A draw against Iceland would mean they could secure four points at the most and their fate would be out of their own hands going into the final game. Defeat to Iceland would almost certainly result in Nigeria heading back to Africa regardless of the result against Argentina in their final game.
Brazil were wasteful in front of goals in their 1-1 draw with Switzerland and looked frustrated by a team that was prepared to put 10 men behind the ball in an attempt to thwart them. Expect a much different Brazil side to turn up for the Costa Rica game, one that is likely to blow their South American opponents away.
Argentina need to perform much better than they did against Iceland otherwise they run the risk of being eliminated at the Group Stage for the first time since 2002. The South Americans failed to create enough clear cut chances in their opening game as they struggled to break down a stoic Iceland defence.
The French know that securing all three points will guarantee them a place in the Round of 16, but Didier Deschamps’ men will need to perform better than they did against Australia if they are to go on and lift the winner’s trophy.
A victory for Denmark would see them progress to the Round of 16 if Peru fail to beat France in the game later on the same day. Australia would no longer be able to progress from the Group if they do not win against Denmark and France take at least a point against Peru. Australia, however, are used to being underdogs and can draw plenty of positives from their defeat to France. If they catch Denmark having another bad day at the office, Australia are definitely worth a point.
Iran’s defense will have to be at its best when they entertain Spain in the second of their three Group B matches of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Iran have recorded three shutouts from their previous four games, although the opposition was nowhere near the quality of Spain.
Saudi Arabia looked poor in their 5-0 defeat at the hands of hosts Russia, in fact they made an extremely weak Russia team look like world beaters. Saudi Arabia could be onto a real hiding if they perform anything like they did against Russia when they face a Uruguay side that could be the dark horses of the competition.
If Morocco can keep Cristiano Ronaldo from performing his magic, which is easier said than done admittedly, Portugal do not have many options in the final third of the pitch. We would expect Morocco to man mark Ronaldo out of the game, soak up pressure and hope to his Portugal on the counter attack, particularly with balls over the top because the Portuguese central defensive partnership lacks pace.
Starting June 19 and continuing over the next four days the historic Royal Ascot race meet hosts 30 flat races on turf offering up almost $10 million in purse money. Four of those races should be of particular interest to North American horseplayers, as they are 'Win And You're In' qualifying races for the 2018 Breeders' Cup Championships at Churchill Downs this coming November.
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