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Flash:

Welcome to the BetUS World Cup show channel. I’m Flash and this is your home for soccer betting or it’s your home of soccer betting. But first of all, we are America’s favorite sportsbook. So let me ask you to subscribe to the Qatar World Cup 2022 quarter final stage. Also, if you’d like to ring the bell, then we’ll notify you and you’ll never miss any content again.

And I say that because after the World Cup, that’s when we get to our busiest. Basically Premier League starts again on the 22nd of December. Then it’s LaLiga, Bundesliga and [inaudible 00:00:32] going into Champions League. And then we will start picking up the Europa League as well in the first couple of weeks of February. If you’re on social media, please follow @BETUSTV because if there’s any news, lineups, injuries. Like yesterday, people were wondering, Ronaldo anytime goal scorer, but you would’ve known an hour before that there was no Ronaldo. So if you’re on the move and you need updates, then that is your place to go.

There is a link in the description and it’s the same as always. You go and join BET US and then you’ll get into a draw. I will pick your name out and we’ll send you a shirt. So obviously be a bit patient because of all the backlog over Christmas. Not our backlog, just a general backlog.

Now I’ve got two absolute superstars that I love working with. I think they almost could be called a dream team. I’ve got the voice of world soccer, been promoted obviously, in Kevin Hatchard. And I’ve got world odds compiler and the sniffer of, like an alarm goes off in his head when he finds the right value. It doesn’t mean it always wins, but if you’re on the right side more often than not, then you are going to be happy.

Also with the voice of world soccer, he has this habit at the moment, which is very addictive, of anytime scorer. He says anytime scorer and they will score, even if they don’t score. He said Ronaldo, Ronaldo went on the pitch and then they give him a goal. Kev, last date, it’s the court final stages and probably there’s only one side in there that we didn’t expect in Morocco.

Kevin Hatchard:

Yeah. They’ve been fabulous. It’s a great World Cup story. I think in many ways they felt like the hosts because you look at the crowds behind them, they’ve been absolutely sensational; the noise that there’s been in their games. And I think they’ve really fed off that. I think if you look at the way they played against Spain, it was dogged, it was determined, but it was very controlled.

It was all about keeping their shape. It wasn’t necessarily all last ditch tackles or anything like that. They had a way of playing. They wanted to hit on the counter and they gave Spain very, very little. Bono didn’t have to do a huge amount over the course of the 120 minutes. I thought it was an excellent performance. I think you look at Hakimi’s performances down the right, Amrabat at the base of midfield has been absolutely sensational. One of the players [inaudible 00:02:52]

Flash:

Yeah, performance of the tournament so far.

Kevin Hatchard:

Yeah, I think so. I think certainly in terms of the cohesion, in terms of sticking to a game plan. You’ve got to bear in mind as well, Regragui, the coach only took over in the lead up to the tournament because Halilhodzic, their previous coach, fell out with everybody and he got binned. So he didn’t have a lot of time to bed things down. I think they’ve got it right in terms of the preparation. They’ve allowed the families to stay with them. That seems to have given them a real family atmosphere and that’s worked. And you’ve got a happy group, a cohesive group; they’ve done brilliantly.

Flash:

Happy wife, happy life, they say Stinch. Not always though. They pretend to be happy but they’re not always. Do you think that Morocco can continue with this style of play though? Because we are talking about top, top level scouts, top, top level preparation. Now they’re going to come up against the Portuguese who are exceptional in football intelligence.

Stinch:

I think there’s a chance, yeah, because their style of play, don’t get me wrong, it’s to give up possession but it’s not to give up chances. So I think maybe the factor here is energy, if they’ve got enough left in the legs. But I think there’s a large enough gap between the end of the round of 16 and the quarter finals. I think there’s enough days for them to rest and recuperate.

And the 26-man squad really does help them here as well. Obviously they have some key players. Maybe Romain Saïss, not sure on his fitness levels, he was struggling towards the end of the game. But I would like to think that the man that comes in knows exactly what his job is required and will continue to do the same. So yeah, I give them a chance, and looking forward to discussing the game against Portugal in depth when we get to it.

Flash:

Yeah. Obviously I’ve got so much I want to talk about with every single side. Make sure you get yourselves into the chat because remember, we’ve only got the four games, we’ve only got the eight teams and then there’ll only be four. So let’s kick straight off because we’ve got to take many factors into our calculations, but you are going to help us by getting yourselves in the chat as well.

So let’s get on with the first game please. It’s Croatia versus Brazil. Chalk and cheese these two. Croatia could have played for three weeks and listen, they were so fortunate to come through at the end. And they’re at +850 for a reason. Brazil on the other hand were four nil up at halftime and the job was done. Now they’re -270, if you fancy Brazil to win by two, it’s minus 1.5, +105 with a draw, +375.

Kev, I’m going to come to you first because I think this could be [inaudible 00:05:29] show because if Croatia have got any chance, they’ve got to keep it tight. The one thing I don’t like about Croatia is I don’t know where their goals are going to come from if they are to go through.

Kevin Hatchard:

Yeah, I think that’s fair. I think we’ll see a contained performance. I think they’ll look to nullify Brazil’s strengths, I think they know if they open the game up they’re going to find it very, very difficult. I think as a defensive unit, they’ve ridden a luck at times. If you look at the chances Belgium created in that winner takes all game at the end of the group stage, really, Belgium should have taken at least one of those.

But there is a lot to about Croatia. I think Joško Gvardiol’s played very well at center back. He’s getting better all the time. Seen how influential he’s become an RB Leipzig. Then the goalkeeper, Livakovic, should be on a high after saving those penalties against Japan. I think Perisic has been outstanding in some of the games, so experienced, so intelligent with the way that he protects the ball.

Obviously you’ve got that incredible midfield, Brozovic, Modric, Kovacic. They didn’t have things all the own way against Japan, but Japan is sub energetic in that area that maybe we should have expected that a little. But you’re right, the problem is the goal scoring. Andrej Kramaric we know he is a very talented player. In the Bundesliga with Hoffenheim, he did score a couple against Canada. Petkovic had a very poor game against Japan.

Flash:

Let’s talk about him. Because I was seriously, I started doing sit-ups during the game thinking if I could get myself fit, I’ve got a chance to get him back into the game. Because I cannot find, we look at players for inspiration, he inspires me with how bad he is.

Kevin Hatchard:

Well, look, he is what he is. He’s a big strong target man. If you look at his performances for Dinamo Zagreb, he’s had some good ones in the Champions League. He’s obviously a very proficient player domestically, but at this level he can look a bit cumbersome and he can look a bit slow. It wasn’t his best game, we know that. But the aim of him is to give them an out ball and try and give them somebody physical who can compete.

So yeah, he’s not the best striker. He’s not going to bang you in seven goals in a World Cup campaign, no chance. They’ve got Marko Livaja, who’s had a very good season domestically with Hajduk Split. He was seen as the next big thing a few years ago, it didn’t quite happen for him. He’s talented but yeah, that is their weakest area. But I think for them it’s going to be about, can they try and control things in midfield? Can they get Modric on the ball? Can they get Kovacic on the ball? So I think it’s going to be a midfield battle and I think Croatia will try and make it a horrible game if they can.

Flash:

Yeah. 451 I’m expecting. That was another bug bed I had during the Croatia game. Stinch, as we say, Kramaric is probably their number one forward thinking player to get into the box. Normally you say like fox in the box. He didn’t go near the box, he was drifting out wide, getting the ball, going backwards, and I think we’re going to see more of the same here because you can’t go toe to toe with Brazil. It’s like the heavyweight boxers. Do not stick your chin out, make sure you are covered up, you frustrate. And who knows, this might be Croatia thinking, it’s got to go all the way for penalties. And if it is, the draw at +375 could well be a runner.

Stinch:

I think that’s exactly what Croatia will do essentially. You look at them over past tournaments, the amount of games that have gone to extra time and penalties is a very high percentage, and I think that’s got to be their game plan here. I think they’re an aging team. Obviously you’ve discuss the strikers there in depth, they haven’t got recognized.

I’d say strike forwards if you kind of accept Perisic is definitely a left wing. They haven’t got a center forward. And then the right winger, they haven’t got a guaranteed pair that they can count on. And you look at the odds, the money line there, Brazil -270, Brazil were around about -200 against both Serbia and Switzerland. And I think I’m happy to accept that Croatia are better than both of those two teams. So you see the way the price has absolutely snowdived basically on the back of that performance against South Korea.

The way South Korea tactically set up, obviously played massively into the hands of Brazil. But I think I’m quite happy to accept that the odds are okay given the fact that Brazil are just so much more fluid, dynamic. They’ve got a lot more youth compared to Croatia. So originally I was looking at a tight game [inaudible 00:10:05] generally you get to quarter final stages, especially at a World Cup. The level is not that great between the sides, so generally they are tight games.

But I do worry if Brazil take the lead early, that this could turn into a little bit of a blood bath. You look at the fact that Croatia conceded nearly two expected goals to Japan, they conceded over three expected goals to Belgium. If Lukaku could finish, we wouldn’t be discussing this match. I just think Brazil could absolutely rip them apart.

You’ve got 33 year-old Lovren in central defense, aging midfield. Modric is 37, Perisic is 33, Brozovic is 30, even Kramaric is 31. And Brazil statistically have just been fantastic. Second most shots in the tournament averaging nearly 20 a game and 19, 30 inside the penalty area. So it’s not potshots. It’s not Neymar, Vinicius, Raphinha taking stupid shots from outside the area. They’re getting themselves inside the box into good areas and they’re averaging nearly three expected goals themselves, 2.74 per game. And that includes given the reserves who have runout against a Cameroon team that need to win to get through.

So my official bet for this was under 2.75 goals but I’ve completely changed my mind as the day has evolved. And actually I’ve decided on no bet. I think I was trying to find a big price for Brazil to basically carve Croatia apart and I thought maybe Brazil to win an over 3.5 goals. So it’s a +275, I’d be tempted by that but I’ve actually just decided no bet. I think Brazil could win this three or four now if they score in the first half.

Flash:

Wow, I went the other way. I actually wrote Brazil -1.5 at +105. And then I started doing my homework, read my notes of the games. I’m thinking the situation and circumstance is Croatia are not going to allow individual matchups of space and getting to run. That back four is going to stay. The midfield five is going to try and keep the ball in front. I like draw halftime here. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s nil-nil at halftime.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Brazil, Kev, do not get many shots on goal. Because the big problem I have here is Croatia were gassed after 35 minutes of their round of 16 game. And then after that they’d lost their spring and it was a case of let’s keep the ball and if something comes, then we’ll take it. But against Brazil, you go 1-0 down. I don’t think they’re going to have the energy to actually get back into the game. So it’s nil-nil, we’re happy to start with that and we’re even happier to end with that.

Kevin Hatchard:

Well, I’m opposing goals as well. And one of the reasons I’m doing that and look, Stinch is absolutely right, this is a team that can blow a team away, three or four nil. And we have seen weaknesses in that Croatian rear guard. There’s no question about that. But I think what you might get is a situation where if Brazil, say, go one or two up in the second half, because Croatia aren’t that punchy and they can’t really mount that many opportunities, I think Brazil could comfortably see it out.

And so you might have a situation where you do stay under that 2.5 goals line because Brazil defensively are pretty solid. So I think because Croatia will try to shut it down and because I think even if Brazil go one-nil up, Croatia don’t have the capability necessarily to turn that back in their favor. It’s not going to be a comfortable watch, opposing goals in this one, but I think it’s just about the way to go.

Flash:

Yeah, I think we can be quite confident that if we have Kovacic, Brozovic and Modric in that central free, well, we can go on record and say that we think Croatia have probably got the better midfield for a containing game. Stinch?

Stinch:

Yeah, I just worry about the legs and obviously they went extra time as well whereas Brazil basically didn’t have to play three matches, did they, in the group stage. They rotated. Neymar’s only had to play twice. Fitness levels looked absolutely fine. I just think Brazil have got so much in the tank really that they could play keep ball basically, and I think that’s how the game is going to unfold. I don’t think Croatia is going to be dictating possession at all.

Flash:

Okay. So maybe we get 45 minutes out of Croatia. Could we put anyone off of draw halftime, Kev?

Kevin Hatchard:

Again, I think that wouldn’t be a very comfortable watch. I think as well what that takes away is it takes away your ability to have that Brazil one near lead, and then Brazil just sit on it. I’ve been quite impressed really with the way that they can control games. I know people are talking about the dancing and the wonderful goals and all of that. They’re very solid.

You’ve got Casemiro in front of Marquinhos and Thiago Silva, you’ve got a wonderful goalkeeper in Ederson. I just think they look a very solid unit. And I think for me this is about a mix of Croatia’s attitude and Brazil’s ability to be defensively solid. Look, Stinch is right, it could be three or four nil. It could get ugly if Croatia’s legs go. I just think Brazil might conserve energy if they’re in a good position.

Stinch:

In all fairness, sorry Flash, in all fairness, I have to give a bit of weakness towards Brazil in their fullback area. You saw South Korea expose Militao and Danilo, and both of those went off and one of them for sure didn’t look fully fit. So I don’t know if Dani Alves will potentially come in. Is it Telles, Kev, he’s injured?

Kevin Hatchard:

Yeah.

Stinch:

So he’s unavailable. And you saw Son take advantage a couple times getting in behind. Alisson’s had to pull off a few good saves in this tournament. Let’s not hide behind that. Alisson’s probably been, maybe after [inaudible 00:15:59] just because they’ve had more to do, but we’ll see in the remaining games. Alisson will probably be the standout leader for the golden glove. So it’s not all been plain sailing. But what it has been maybe similar to what you see at Man City or Liverpool where if the opposition does get a chance, they are few and far between. But maybe even Perisic against whoever this right back is, could maybe give them a bit of a torrid time.

Flash:

Yeah. And also I always try to go against a short termism. That we saw Brazil go four up, the opposition didn’t get anywhere near them, and allowed them to play their little intricacies around the edge of the box. I think that stopped at source. I’d rather go back, if we’re going to look and try and get an indication of how this game’s going to go, is Switzerland versus Brazil when it took an unbelievable finish from Casemiro because they frustrated them.

This side can be stifled. Don’t get me wrong, they’ve got unbelievable quality if you give them a few yards. I’m just wondering if there’s going to be no space and the Croatians are going to say, you can have the ball as much as you want but you’re going to have it in front of us. And I’m happy to be going draw at half time.

Let’s have a little look at the official Soccer picks because I think this is a real chess match and we know that if Brazil go one up, then sit back and enjoy basically a kickball session. Because I’ve gone for under 2.5 at plus money. I don’t see free goals. I’m happy to go with a draw at halftime as well, be around +115. Under 2.5 as well for the voice. And Sting is actually bombed his out. He was actually going to go with the under 2.75 but now he’s sort of more leaning, the minus 1.5 for Brazil. I think that was around +105 as well.

Let’s move on to game number two. Contrasting styles again, because we’ve got the Netherlands or Holland from Europe against the South American giants in Argentina. Argentina +120, the Netherlands are +260. The draw is at +220 which tells you they expect this to be a very, very tight game. The under over is only at two, which is at -130 for the over. That tells you they’re leaning towards 2.25 goals. The handicap. No, let’s have a look at Argentina to score twice, +160. I think Argentina could score twice on this side. Stinch, I think Argentina are the better side. Not been impressed with Holland. To be fair, they’ve not been tested.

Stinch:

I think it’s a bit unfair to call it Netherlands v Argentina. I’m calling it Netherlands be Messi, because I’m afraid outside of Messi, I’ve found Argentina very, very ordinary. You look at them in the last game against Australia and I thought that it was rather embarrassing that they were hanging on at the end. And the way the players celebrated, now don’t get me wrong, I’m more for players celebrating and enjoying themselves, but they just won a round of 16 game. They were celebrating as if they were in the final, or even had won it. I thought it was far too over the top.

It is Netherlands be Messi. Hardly any of the players have filled me with confidence. Maybe Alvarez a little bit, he’s come into it. Instead of Lautaro, maybe we’d seen a bit more of him if he had been starting at the beginning of the tournament. But people like Di Maria been there, seen it, won it all, he’s been on the periphery.

Flash:

Is he going to be back?

Stinch:

Yeah, I’m not sure.

Kevin Hatchard:

Touch and go, Flash. It’s touch and go. They’re not sure at this stage, I think.

Stinch:

But Scaloni, he’s been very quick to make changes. I feel like maybe the side hasn’t been given enough time to gel. There’s only Messi, Rodrigo de Paul, Otamendi that have completed 90 minutes in all the games. He’s been very quick to reach for the substitutions.

Listen, Netherlands haven’t impressed me that much. It was a good performance though, I do think, against the US that could cause some trouble. They did all most of their damage down the flanks. Daley Blind and Dumfries both getting on the score sheet, both registered in assists. I do look at Argentina at fallback a bit like Brazil, maybe a bit of weakness.

Acuna for example, I know him as more of a Matilda especially in his days when he was playing in Argentina. I think he’s a bit of a makeshift left back. He is prone to the foul and prone to yellow cards. So I think the battle against Dumfries could be one that he may lose in the end. Listen, the Australia left back whose name escapes me, he weaved round about five of those Argentinians and it just took Lisandro Martinez’s last ditch tackle to stop him from scoring. So I definitely think Netherlands have a chance.

I think the goal line’s a little bit low but I think you’ll always be quite brave to be backing overs in a quarter final match between two teams that there’s not much to choose between in the odds. I thought Argentina, I would’ve had Argentina maybe about +100 rather than +120. But I think that is fair now based on how they performed against Australia. So I think at the money line prices, the over under prices, I think unless you’ve got a real firm opinion, a real firm edge, for me, I couldn’t really find anything there.

But I did find a bet that sort of really does excite me and it’s probably one Kev maybe could get behind as well ’cause I know he likes a goal scorer bet. You look at Holland, the upfront, it’s like to be Memphis Depay and Cody Gakpo. Now, Memphis Depay is +250 to score. Cody Gakpo, despite the fact he’s scored more goals in the tournament, is twice the price at +500. I just think it’s absolutely enormous. You look at Holland to score one goal is -175. Obviously if they score their goal, the high percentage is that it will be Depay.

But given that he’s playing up front with Gakpo, there shouldn’t be a huge discrepancy as there is. Obviously Depay is on penalties but there shouldn’t be the discrepancy that there is. Gakpo’s six goals in his last seven caps for Holland, so I’m not looking at him just from a World Cup point of view. I’m looking at him coming in from the World Cup. I think between him and Steven Berghuis, both of them were threatening to maybe make it an awesome threesome with those two and Depay. But Gakpo has just been absolutely streets ahead and a very good contender for young player of the tournament. So in a match like that, I think I can’t really split them at these prices. Yeah, there’s an absolute no-brainer to take Gakpo per +500.

Flash:

Listen, everyone knows that my banker for this whole tournament was Argentina to get to the semi-final at +180. I’ve got in again here. I just don’t see Holland being in the same class as Argentina. And Argentina have got a depth on their bench. I think they could be a little bit like what Portugal did. I think a few players might come in. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Lautaro Martinez with his pace, with his movement, maybe play out or just off of Alvarez as well. They’ve got options here and I think that Holland will not be able to hit these on the break. I was looking at maybe Holland not to score here at +155, Kev.

Kevin Hatchard:

Not for me. I think as you’ll remember, I was very bullish about the Dutch against the US. I thought there was a big mismatch there. A lot of people were talking about the US perhaps qualifying in [inaudible 00:23:01] but I felt all the way the Dutch would be too strong, and that’s how it proved. I think the star here is Louis van Gaal. He is immensely experienced. I think he’s developed a really cohesive unit. I think they really believe in what he’s trying to do. They know their jobs. I think Argentina have been pretty ordinary. I thought they scraped past Australia, which is bizarre really when you think about it.

Flash:

You don’t think they took their foot off the gas at two-nil up?

Kevin Hatchard:

Well, then that’s a weakness really. I don’t think that’s necessarily an excuse for them. I think against Mexico, obviously Messi dug them out of trouble. I think they have been really underwhelming. That said, with my anytime goal score a hat on, you look at Messi’s price and I think it’s attractive. But Stinch is absolutely spot on, that Gakpo price is enormous, absolutely enormous. When you think this is a guy that’s had an amazing season with PSV, that’s carried that on into the World Cup, I think this is tight.

I’m not big Argentina fan, I just think we haven’t seen anywhere near what they’re capable of. They came into this tournament with a big unbeaten run, but then so did the Netherlands. And while the Netherlands have maintained theirs, Argentina haven’t. So I wouldn’t go anywhere near that +120 personally. And I think the one for me is Messi to score. You can still have the Netherlands winning the tie and Messi scoring. So yeah, I’m not sure this will be a defeat for the Netherlands and certainly not a big one.

Flash:

Benny says Gakpo anytime is +280, so maybe you have to shop around there because there’s a big gap between +280 and +500. Let’s see if we can just quickly break this game down though because the Netherlands want to sit back. And yes, we’ve got to talk about Van Gaal because he is an absolute grand master of knowing how to set teams up in different guises against the opposition. Argentina have looked better in the last two games of keeping the ball but they don’t create enough.

But I’m wondering if the Netherlands are going to be able to little one twos around the edge of the box, wherever they’re going to track their runners. I’ve gone with Argentina, obviously. It reminds me of Argentina not being overwhelming in the 1986 World Cup as well when they were carried by Maradona. I’m just wondering if we are going to see them go all the way to the final, lift it and on the back of just being with Messi, Stinch.

Stinch:

Yeah, we’ve seen it done before. Was it 1990, Maradona, lots of comparisons there. Losing the first game and still making it to the final. I think before my time but I think a lot of people saw that as kind of a one man team. Yes, of course it can be done. Football’s a low scoring sport. Argentina get men behind the ball, give it to Messi. I know it was only against Australia, but you saw the impact that he can have in terms of taking a number of the opposition players out of the game and then leaving the likes of Martinez, Alvarez, huge amounts of space to take their chance.

Dutch Van Dijk, I think his gettable. I don’t think Van Dijk’s had the best of seasons. Nathan Ake isn’t first choice at Man City for a reason. Jurrien Timber loves a foul so he could be a walking yellow card, walking red card risk. So yeah, there is definitely gaps to be taken advantage of that Dutch team. But that this is where we’re at, it’s the quarter finals of the World Cup. Six of the eight teams are here as the betting expected. It’s just Morocco and Croatia basically replacing Germany and Belgium. There’s no easy games at this stage.

So yeah, as we all know, football’s a low scoring game. And in World Cup knockout matches, the goal expectancy and goal average is generally below what you would see in a domestic league if these two teams were playing in the Eredivisie or in the Argentina League. So yeah, I think it could be an extra time and penalties job. I wouldn’t be surprised. Or if VAR sticks its nose in, it could be an easy win for Kev’s Messi anytime short.

Flash:

Yeah, nice little penalty, that’d be nice. Listen, everyone knows I am biased in this play. Take what I say with a pinch of salt because obviously Argentina was my pick way before them, and Portugal. So I am obviously not going to desert them now, especially against a Dutch side that have not impressed at all.

Let’s have a little look at these official picks because the official picks here are going to be for value I guess, and maybe steer clear of the money line. Apart from Mr Bias, because I’ve gone with Argentina money line at +120. The only thing that gives me hope, a bit more hope is that Stinch thinks they should only be a +100. Gakpo, anytime scorer, +500, make sure you shop around. And Messi, anytime at +150. Free kicks, penalties, little gives and gos, that is going to be one that’s going to be very popular. So take that early, that +150, because it may be scooting down towards a plus +125, +130.

Yohan says if the penalties, the Dutch will win. Let’s hope it doesn’t go that far if you are an Argentinian fan. I can do without these penalties to be honest. Let’s move on to game number three.

Surprise of the tournament is Morocco, there’s always one. And they have been absolutely outstanding and they host Portugal who have been very, very impressive, especially in their last game. [inaudible 00:28:46] for Gomez coming in, getting a hat trick, getting straight into the running for a gold golden boot. Morocco to score at -130, Portugal to score twice at -105. So we’re starting a one two, which means over 2.5 at +115 doesn’t really work. Kev, Morocco have been absolutely [inaudible 00:29:08] hardly let a goal in. They didn’t even let a goal in when it comes to the penalties.

Kevin Hatchard:

This is a hard game to call, I think. This is the only one of the quarter finals where I don’t have an official pick because I do think it could go either way. In the sense that Morocco will play their game, they will contain, they try and hit on the counter, they try and use Mazraoui and Hakimi’s pace. Portugal are a really hard team to read. I thought they were really average in the group stage, but dropping Ronaldo and bringing Goncalo Ramos just made a massive difference.

This is a guy that obviously on the international stage has come from nowhere, but if you know about him at Benfica, you’ll know that he’s been excellent this season. He’s been a big part of what Roger Schmidt’s team has tried to do. They’re top of the Primeira Liga. They’ve been excellent in the Champions League. They finished above Paris in their group, and he’s been a big part of that attack. So he came into the tournament full of confidence and he took his chance and that’s all you can ask for.

But dropping Ronaldo opens more doors than that because what it does is it gives them the opportunity to get the best out of Joao Felix. It gives them potentially the opportunity to get the best out of Rafael Leao. Morocco I’ve been massively impressed with. Don’t know how much energy is left in the tank. It’s a difficult one to assess. There has been a gap in terms of rest and recovery so they will hope that they can hit those heights again, but it is a hope. So we shall see.

So for me, this is a really, really awkward one. I certainly wouldn’t be anywhere near Portugal at -150. For me that that price is very, very unattractive. So it’s tricky one. Maybe that plus one for Morocco at +145. That’s what I was on for the Spain game. Gave Morocco a gold start in the Asian handicap and that’s what came through. That’s just what I did personally. So yeah, I think if I was going to look at it, maybe I’d go that way again. But this is a really hard one to call.

Flash:

I’ll tell you what’s even harder is actually the team selection for Portugal. Forget Ronaldo, he’s got Fernandez, he’s got Bernardo Silva, he’s got Joao Felix. But then you think to yourself, where would I actually get at this Morocco side? And for me, they’ve played two games in one game, basically with the energy they expended against the Spanish. But I would go down their left-hand side said. So do you then play Leao on the right and go past them? Because as you say, you’ve got Mazraoui and you’ve got Boufal, neither of them are great going backwards. I would say that that’s where I attack this Moroccan side. And I’m wondering if their World Cup is already over. They’ve already won their World Cup, Stinch, in beating Spain.

Stinch:

I don’t think so, because they beat Belgium, they held Croatia to a draw.

Flash:

But they’re group games. They’re group games.

Stinch:

I don’t think that matters because they weren’t expected to get out of their group at all.

Flash:

Well, history will tell you that there is teams that will actually go and win games. And the euphoria that comes with it and all the accolades that come with it, they then hit a flat spot in their next game. And it happens at nearly every single World Cup.

Stinch:

Yeah, I accept that. But I’m not sure that’s something you can necessarily price. And I think the evidence so far is that’s not happened. And I’m really impressed with their sort of underlying data. If you think about a team that concedes possession and you automatically think they would give up a lot of chances and basically just be lucky to get to this stage. But it’s completely the opposite.

Their matches have seen just five goals so far in the four games. They’ve kept clean sheets against all of Spain, Belgium, and Croatia. That’s ridiculously impressive. Then you further look at and see they conceded just 8.3 shots per game. And in those games, they conceded just 2.98 expected goals. That’s less than one expected goal per game against international sides that are world class.

Spain are in the world class bracket. That’s why there were four fifth favorites to win the tournament. That’s why Belgium were in the top six, top seven of the bettings, why Croatia were World Cup runnersup. It’s so good that having just 33% possession, which is the second lowest in the tournament. Now, there’s been some bad teams in the tournament. So for Morocco to have the second lowest and yet not concede chances, their work rate is just phenomenal. Their tactical plan is just phenomenal. I just think it’s a fantastic story.

Kev mentioned at the beginning the coach only came in this year, so you’re thinking what’s going to happen? He’s got nowhere near enough time to work on a plan of offence. Hakim Ziyech has been out in the wilderness for so long. Is he going to buy into some sort of defense first approach given how attacking he’s been at the likes of Chelsea? And maybe more so [inaudible 00:34:19] And all the players have brought into it.

Amrabat has been, as you mentioned, performance of the tournament potentially in [inaudible 00:34:26] field. But let’s not forget he does play for Fiorentina. It’s not as if these players play for lower league clubs. Bounou’s done it for Sevilla in the European stage. So yeah, Portugal is almost impossible to know what we’re going to get because it’s likely that Ronaldo will be left out again, I would assume. You don’t win 6-1 and then bring him back in, I wouldn’t have thought.

Flash:

A positive for you, Stinch? A positive for you if you’re a Portugal fan looking at Ronaldo.

Stinch:

I don’t think you can argue with it given the fact that their performance and the goals that they put in last night was just, I just thought it was fantastic. Goncalo Ramos, absolute breath of fresh air. Seemed to give the other players a bit of a lease of life as well. It’s not dominated by Ronaldo’s requests maybe, in terms of give me the ball or get the ball into the box, or let me take every free kick corner and throw it. So I think it’s probably got to be a positive. But given the fact that Ronaldo’s been playing for Portugal since I think he made his debut in 2004, 2003, so we’ve got 20 years really. And we’ve got a sample size of one without Renardo. So I don’t really know what you’re going to get. I don’t think we’ll see…

Flash:

Now we’ve got a sample size of four because he’s only scored from the penalty spot. He’s not scored from open play. He’s hardly been effective in the buildup in any of the games. I think you’ve got a massive sample size of even going back to his club form as well.

Kevin Hatchard:

Yeah, but he’s building the team, Flash, I think is the point. Whether he plays well or not, it’s about whether he’s in the team. When he is in that team, he changes the dynamic entirely, because you see other players in that team become deferential. I tweeted before the game last night, as soon as it was released that Ronaldo was dropped, that was terrible news for Switzerland. And that’s how it proved to be because they’re a much more vibrant team without him. Look, he has an incredible record, there’s no doubt about it. He has been one of the best players in the world for a long, long time. But those days are ending. And just as a club level, you wonder whether it’s worth all the hassle and the fact that it emboldens other players, him not being there, I think makes a massive difference.

Flash:

No, you’re right. That gives him so many options with him not being there, because obviously you’ve got Ramos up front and he holds the ball up. He links, he’s got good movement, he’s got pace. And remember, he’s only young. He is only young. Is he 23, 24? I just think that what he does is because you’ve got players like Bernardo Silva, like Joao Felix, like Fernandez and obviously Leao, they play between the lines.

So if you then know that you’ve got someone who’s going to face it up back through, you make them runs with confidence. But with the other person in the team, it doesn’t happen and you are almost second guessing. When if you’re going to get through a Morocco side, you can’t be second guessing. You’ve got to make conviction in your runs to basically commit. Is he only 21, Ramos? They must have lost his birth certificate, mustn’t they?

Kevin Hatchard:

Yeah, it’s an interesting one. He was really strongly linked with the move to the Premier League in the summer. He was linked with Southampton. They looked at him. A couple of other Premier League clubs looked at him. I think that ship has sailed for Southampton, quite frankly. I think the Cody Gakpo one has as well. So good scouting from Southampton.

Flash:

Not for the first time.

Kevin Hatchard:

Not going to happen for them on either occasion, I think. The other thing to remember about Morocco by the way, I echo everything Stinch has said about Morocco, let’s not forget they lost Amine Harit on leaving the tournament. He was going to be, from an attacking point of view, a bit of a wild card for them, and he’s missed out with injury. So it’s been a really impressive effort from them.

Flash:

It has. And it’s going to be a really interesting game because obviously as you know, Portugal is my other tip so I want them to go all the way. I’m desperate for an Argentina-Portugal final. I can just sit back and it’ll be great for obviously what everyone predicted. Messi vs, oh no, it’d be Ramos.

Okay, so let’s have a little look at the official picks. I jest, you know what I’m like. I’m a little a bit sick sometimes. Okay, so the official picks, I’ve gone with Portugal and under 3.5 at +110. Under 2.5 goals at -135. I’m happy to see a little 1-0, 2-0, maybe even a 2-1, it means that Morocco get late consolation. It’d be really fascinating consolation.

And Kev’s left it to be really fascinating game. And this is probably the one game out of the four that you’re looking and thinking, wow if Morocco produced another performance, even if it’s in defeat, you’ve got to take your hat off to them. And in fact, I think you’ve got to take your hat off to them, because everybody is going to be their favorite second team now.

Okay, let’s move on to game number four because I think the books are wrong here. We’ve got England vs France. England +210. I did see +245. Now, money’s coming in on England. But that is also, you’ve got to take into account that England is a big betting nation. And France +140, France not a big betting in nation. So it’s the draw at +225. England draw no bet at +120, over 2.5 goals is +105, which I find hard to believe. Stinch, you can go first here. England has scored twice at +190. France to score twice at +145. I think one of them scores twice.

Stinch:

Well I would probably just back over 2.5 goals then plus +105 seeing as it’s the underdog, if that’s the route you want it to go down. I think this is maybe the tie of the round.

Flash:

Yeah, fair.

Stinch:

Because I see both teams being quite fluid going forward. I alluded to earlier, Argentina being all about messy. France very much feels like all about Mbappé. It’s just so exciting when he gets on the ball, that battle against Kyle Walker’s going to be super interesting to see how it pans out.

I do think if they can keep Mbappé quiet, then England could take advantage. We look at this France team, and there’s no Karim Benzema, no Paul Pogba, no N’Golo Kanté, no Kimpembe, no Hernandez at left back. They have suffered a lot with injuries. Hugo Lloris is not a world-class goalkeeper. And listen, that’s absolutely fine. He won the World Cup and he still made a mistake in the final. He doesn’t care. But he’s definitely gettable as well.

France yet to keep a clean sheet in the tournament. So yeah, England definitely got a chance. They seem to be playing I think with a little bit of freedom. I quite like this midfield three of Declan Rice, Bellingham and Henderson. I think you get the experience there with Henderson. And he’s been pelted for years. And look, I’m not saying it because he scored a tap in but you can see I think Bellingham and the rest of the players, they respect him. They understand that Henderson’s won everything at club level. So I think that is rubbing off a little bit on the players in terms of their discipline.

England yet to pick up a yellow card in the tournament, which is crucial. Then you have to look at Gascoigne in 1990 to see that unfortunately. So yeah, I think England have got a good chance. But look, I think it’s reflected in the price. I thought France would be shorter. So I think England are being well respected here. So in terms of money line totals, I’ve not got a strong opinion or a strong thought on a bet in terms of those markets.

So again I look to the goal scorers, I just think if you’ve got England here, England are +190 to score two. Kane is +210 to score. So they’re very much sort of in interwoven. I just thought given the fact that likely front three I think will be Kane, Foden and Bukayo Saka, who is England’s top gold score at this tournament with three goals. I thought Saka at +600 again was a huge price. If he is planning that front three, I think he should be closer to probably +400. Obviously Kane you can understand at +110. He’s a central striker, he’s on penalties.

But I do think Saka is a great price. Seven goals, his last 13 starts for England. So again, I’m not restricting it to just World Cup performance, he has been doing it pre-tournament as well. And yeah, I just thought +600 was plenty enough to cheer on. You think France will line up with Theo Hernandez at left fallback, he’ll be bombing on for fun. So I think there will be space, there will be gaps. And as I mentioned there, yet to keep a clean sheet. So unlikely to happen, but I think I would love to see a 2-2 or a 3-3.

Flash:

Yeah, you got it.

Stinch:

I think that’s be really, really exciting.

Flash:

Yeah, that’s the way I’m going. That is exactly the way I’m going. I see both teams here could possibly score twice. The last time we said that it was Serbia versus Switzerland and we cashed within 35 minutes. Okay, let me break this down before we start looking at [inaudible 00:43:25] Kev, because I disagree a little bit. I don’t think the big matchup here for the French is Mbappé versus Walker. I think it’s Dembélé versus Shaw.

Because I think that I give the advantage to Dembélé over Shaw, more than I would in Mbappé over Walker. I’ll give England over the collective free in the central areas. I think England is stronger. I think that both can score goals. I think both can let goals in, but I just see England here not getting beat. And you know me, I’m always trying to find a way for England to let me down.

Kevin Hatchard:

I think it is a fascinating game. The money line’s not for me here because I can see so many different ways this could turn out. I think Stinch is absolutely 100% spot on about Saka, because I love that matchup against Theo Hernandez. I don’t think he’s great defensively. He always wants to get forwards. I don’t know how much help he’s going to get on that side either. So absolutely, I think Saka’s got a great chance.

Because what you’ll see as well is they’ll use Kyle Walker to try and pin Mbappé. That’s what they’ll try and do and that will kind of lend itself to that dynamic as well. Dembélé, yeah maybe. Ousmane Dembélé, I’m an enormous fan of when he was at Dortmund. I said wrongly as it turned out, but I said of thought he’d win the Ballon d’Or on door in the future. He still might. But I thought he was an utterly tremendous player at Dortmund and I still think he’s talented. But you never know what you’re going to get.

Flash:

100%.

Kevin Hatchard:

So if you get good Dembélé, then yeah. If you get bad Dembélé, no. I think Shaw could deal with him.

Flash:

But we have seen the good Dembélé to be fair< haven’t we? He’s been very good.

Kevin Hatchard:

Yeah. You just don’t know whether he can stretch that from game to game is the big question. In terms of midfield, I love that three. Bellingham, we’ve seen world class performances so far. Declan Rice, you know what you’re going to get with him. The reason Henderson’s so important is actually without the ball because he coordinates the press. He’s always screaming at teammates where to be. He’s got a bit of Thomas Muller about him in that way. Very much a coach on the pitch, and I think that’s very important actually. So that’s important for that midfield battle.

But for me, the one that I was drawn to, win, lose or draw, Mbappé’s going to have an impact. And I looked at his score price at any time and I’d quite happily back him at that price in any game that he was playing to be honest.

Flash:

Yeah, fair.

Kevin Hatchard:

So I think he’s been sensational. I think this is his stage. I think he’s one of those guys who puffs his chest out with a game like this and comes alive. He’s form for Paris has been very good really. If you look statistically, his form for Paris has been excellent. I know a lot of the time he’s playing substandard opposition, but I think this is the kind of game where he will raise his level. Whether that will be enough, we’ll see. Actually I think one of the best performers in this French team has been Griezmann. I know it didn’t cash in the previous rounds, but I think he’s been great. I think he’s been super sharp and they will need his work without the ball to try and fight fires in that midfield battle.

Flash:

Yeah, I just can’t have the central duo of the French. Listen, first of all, let’s go back to Shaw vs Dembélé. I think Shaw is a book-in waiting to happen. I think that Dembélé will twist him up. I’ve been a massive critic of Dembélé because he’s one of those that has all the talent in the world and sometimes it looks like he hasn’t even realized that they’ve kicked off. He is so frustrating. But I’ve seen a different Dembélé. And up against Shaw, then yeah, I agree.

And maybe Hernandez and Shaw double because they’re both typical left backs who I feel as if will get down. Now, does Walker go tight on him and you’ve got to stop the ball at source. Because Mbappé’s at the [inaudible 00:47:17]. Give him the ball, no one within 10 yards of him, he just goes and does as he pleases. And they’ve invited him. Listen, and he’s one of them players that I don’t care who he plays for, I just wish him to do well. He doesn’t infuriate me, he doesn’t grate me the wrong way. I just hope that he continues on the world stage to do what he does. I think we’ll see goals here. And the over 2.5 at +105, I cannot put anyone off. Yeah, Pavard in defense. Pavard loves to get forward. We’ve got four fallbacks here. Maybe you’re going to have to [inaudible 00:47:51]

Kevin Hatchard:

I’m not sure we’ll see Pavard. I’m not sure we’ll see Pavard. I think we’ll see Kounde at right back. I’d be very surprised. He seems to have gone off Benjamin Pavard. And I can understand why because I just don’t think he gives you enough going forwards. I don’t think his form for Bayern has been particularly good. I think Kounde is a good technician on the ball. He’s not a natural fallback, he’s a [inaudible 00:48:14] really. But I think he fulfills that role better than Pavard does.

Just on the Mbappé thing, it was really interesting listening to Matty Cash who of course plays for Aston Villa but played right back against him for Poland. He said he’s a nightmare because you try and go tight, he spins you in behind. You give him a bit of room and he burns you on the outside. You do what you can. And Walker’s very quick and physically very strong. So I’ll be fascinated to see how he does. But I don’t think anyone can keep him Mbappé out for 90 minutes. The issue’s going to be whether England can win anyway.

Flash:

Let’s have a look…

Stinch:

Will he take pens, Kev? Because France have had an issue with penalties takers over the last few years.

Kevin Hatchard:

I think he’ll certainly want to. Yeah, I was thinking that myself. I’m just not sure, but you can see him grabbing that ball, can’t you? [inaudible 00:49:07] Well, Griezmann I think would want to take one as well. But I could just see if there’s a moment, you can see him Mbappé grabbing that ball and you just try and take it off him. So yeah, I could see that. Absolutely I could see that.

Flash:

Do we see clean sheets gentlemen? Do we see clean sheets? Because I’ve got this down at being 2-2. I think this could be one of the all-time classics because I think both teams want to fancy they can go and win the game.

Kevin Hatchard:

It’s a fear issue for me. I agree with you. I think probably we see goals, but it depends how the game starts. Because this is so big for both teams. And defensively they’re okay. Defensively they are. I trust England’s maybe a tiny bit more than France. Although Upamecano’s done well. I’ve been a big supporter of his for a long time, but he’s got a mistake in him. There’s no question about that. So I don’t know. I don’t know what Stinch thinks. But I just think if we had the first half hour without a goal, I think it could get very tight and very fearful.

Flash:

And then we worry then, don’t we, Stinch, because we’ve got Southgate versus Deschamps, and you’ve got one that’s probably more proactive than the other in game.

Stinch:

Yeah, I don’t think we’ve got any world class defenders or goalkeepers on show. So it’s all about when the first goal goes in. I think as soon as the first goal goes in, I think it just automatically turns it into a, well, I don’t want to say automatically. You’ve still got to remember it’s a World Cup quarter final. So probably better to judge if you’re betting in play to whether you want to go for overs. But I think as soon as the first goal goes in, it could turn into a basketball game.

Flash:

Especially if France go one up, if Franco go one up. Because England are better. Listen, they’re feisty. They’re feisty in their movement, in their front foot play. But they go one up, then obviously they’re going to leave gaps for speedy Gonzales on wing central off of the right. He could go anywhere he likes, and we’re talking about Mbappé here. But listen, there’s great talent in both final [inaudible 00:51:14]

Stinch:

Both teams absolutely stacked off the bench as well. And with those five subs, and you look at France bringing on Thuram, Kingsley Coman. England bringing on Rashford. James Maddison probably won’t play, but they’ve got so many offensive options off the bench. And it is unlikely, look, that the teams rotate and sub their defenders. Raphael Varane only just come back from injury for France. We haven’t even spoke about Harry McGuire and John Stones who’ve been really threatening [inaudible 00:51:45].

But obviously no, I would be disappointed if England they’re not selecting Kieran Trippier because he is their best set piece taker. So absolutely fascinating game and I think it would be great for goals because if there’s goals that means there’s a great chance for a lot of the bets that we’ve put forward to win. And then also obviously it’d be great to watch. So yeah, I just think yeah, it’s such an exciting game to be looking forward to this weekend.

Flash:

Okay, let’s have a little look at our best bets on this game because I could have had three or four to be honest. Mbappé score at any time, +170. If France score, you’ve got to be thinking it’s that genius. Saka to score +500. Little bit maybe skew with until you see that he scored seven goals in his England games. And he will be up against Hernandez who’s not a good defender and we see a lot of him obviously at the [inaudible 00:52:35]. For me it’s both teams to score at over 2.5, couldn’t believe this, +140. This could be up before halftime. England draw no bet, +120. Did bottle it a little bit at the +245 because I’d really can see this game being 2-2.

Stinch:

And them winning on pens?

Flash:

Yeah. Listen, I’m like Kev and I’m probably like you. I can see France winning 4-2. Do you remember that, I think it was South Africa, was it England versus Germany? When the game just got out of hand as soon as there was an early goal.

Kevin Hatchard:

It was [inaudible 00:53:09] performances I’ve ever seen. I know people talk about the Lampard goal and it should have been 2-2. But the way they collapsed was horrendous really. It’s one of the most disorganized international performances I’ve ever seen in my life.

Stinch:

[inaudible 00:53:22]

Flash:

But this is it. This is the case. France could bottle it as well. Let’s not get too carried away here. France are the holders.

Kevin Hatchard:

I think England’s way better than they were then. For all the stick that Southgate gets, which I think is completely unwarranted, I have more faith in this group of England players and have done for a while, than I ever had in that so-called golden generation. Because they might not quite have the talent levels of some of the players, but they look way more of a unit, they’re better coached. Which is bizarre when you think about it; they had Capello and they had Erickson.

But I think they’re a better team. I think they’re a better unit than they were then. So yeah, I think it’s night and day between that era and this one. Maybe that Euros where they lost on pens, they looked a good side then. But apart from that, who was it, Ricardo took his gloves off and hit the penalty, that year. But yeah, I think in general that golden generation.

Flash:

That 2004.

Kevin Hatchard:

Yeah, they can’t touch this team that have performed in the way they have.

Flash:

Yeah, my big problem is the reason I didn’t go… So the reasons, obviously I’m going to do the best bets, but also I want to look at it and go, what was the reasons we didn’t pick England to win it outright? I have a problem with the coach being able to have in-game management. And secondly, when we get to the nth degree, is my defense going to be good enough against some of these top, top strikers? Well, this is where they’re really going to come up against it. And if they come through this, we’ve got to start looking and saying, they’re a real possibility or are we saying it already? Stinch.

Stinch:

Yeah, with Spain being knocked out, it’s Morocco or Portugal up next. And England will be favorites to beat both of those.

Flash:

You think? Do you think that England will be favorites over Portugal?

Stinch:

100%, yeah. 100%.

Flash:

Wow. I’ll be queuing up for that. Okay, let’s have a little look at the best bets please. Croatia and Brazil under 2.5 for myself and for Kev, +105. Stinch has gone for Gakpo, anytime goal scorer +500 and then we got Kev’s anytime goal scorers, Messi and Mbappé. Messi at +150, and Mbappé at +170. Some people will probably parlay them up.

Morocco and Portugal under 2.5 at -135 and [inaudible 00:55:53] Anytime goal scorer at +500. Plenty plus is there. For me, Argentina money line at +120. And remember, my banker of this whole tournament is Argentina to get to the semis so I’m double dipping really. Portugal in under 3.5 at +110. I expect that could be a long game. If I go up early I’m going to be happy.

England, France, here we go. Absolute carnage, I’m hoping for. England, France, both teams scoring over 2.5 at +140. England draw no better at +120. Happy to say that I bottled the England at +245, which is now at +210.

Before I go, thanks to everybody in the chat, really appreciate it. Please thumbs up on the way out. If you’ve got friends that would like this content, then make sure you send them a link or give them a little nudge. Kev, before I let you go, quarter final stage, who wins, one team?

Kevin Hatchard:

Who wins the whole tournament from here?

Flash:

Yes.

Kevin Hatchard:

Look, I said Brazil at the start. I thought that was a boring shout but that’s what I went for. I still think that’s the case. I still think there are issues with them, but I think defensively they’re strong enough and I think they’ve got incredible attacking talent. Look, I like England a lot. I think Brazil probably still win it. I think they’re better than Argentina. I think they’ll find a way eventually to be Croatia. So yeah, I’m still going to go for Brazil.

Flash:

Stinch.

Stinch:

I just wanted to let you know, Flash, that over 6.5 goals in England v France is +2800, which looks absolutely [inaudible 00:57:28]

Flash:

Yeah, what’ll happen, it’d be 4-2. But I’ve hit the post so many on them type of bits, corners normally or bookings. If I go over 4.5, there’s four. If I go team total of corners, I don’t know, minus 3.5 they lose by four.

Kevin Hatchard:

I didn’t realize you were so powerful, Flash.

Flash:

Honest to God, I am. I’m breaking even at the moment without my futures. And someone said to me, that’s a great record in this World Cup at this moment. So from here on in, let’s make sure we take some big profits. Really appreciate you, Kev. Really appreciate everything you do, Stinch. You can see obviously Stinch, on the Premier League coming up very soon. Kev will be back for Bundesliga, but also Kev will be here for the final as well. Argentina versus Portugal, you’ll have a happy presenter. You take care.

 

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