Friday’s World Cup Bet Builder tips: Brazil to progress but Netherlands and Argentina set to be tight
Brazil take on Croatia in Friday's first quarter-final in Qatar before Argentina and the Netherlands go head-to-head and we have Bet Builder picks for both games.
Brazil to swap entertainment for efficiency against classy Croatia
Bet 1: Back Brazil to win to nil
Croatia will offer Brazil a serious test given their midfield strength, with Luka Modric, Marcelo Brozovic and Mateo Kovacic all highly experienced.
However, there is a serious lack of bite to the Croatian attack that undermines their hopes of springing an upset and Zlatko Dalic’s side have already failed to score against Belgium and Morocco during their four matches in Qatar.
Brazil are a watertight unit, too — remove the largely meaningless final Group G clash against Cameroon from the record and they have won each of their last 10 matches and have kept clean sheets in seven of those.
Bet 2: Back under three goals in 90 minutes for both teams combined
Brazil manager Tite is generally a 'safety first' kind of manager and sets up to avoid conceding against the better opponents rather than going all-out to outscore them.
The round of 16 victory over South Korea was an exception as a poor and exhausted opponent got their tactics all wrong and invited a thrashing.
Generally, however, the 2-0 defeat of Serbia and 1-0 victory over Switzerland are far more indicative of how Tite prefers to play and in both games he kept things tight until half-time before applying more and more pressure in the second half.
Against an opponent with technical quality but a lack of elite goalscorer, that approach lends itself another low-scoring encounter.
Bet 3: Back Richarlison to have two or more shots in 90 minutes
Brazil’s number nine has been at the centre of most of his team’s attacks in Qatar, scoring three goals in just three appearances — he was rested against Cameroon — and he could again be key against Croatia.
The Tottenham striker has taken at least two shots in all three World Cup outings thus far and has hit the target with four of his seven shots overall.
Extra-time expected between heavyweights
Bet 1: Netherland vs Argentina: Back a draw in 90 minutes
While Argentina head into their quarter-final against Netherlands as favourites, this looks a far closer contest than the markets suggest.
The Copa America champions have lost just one of their last 40 matches — avoiding defeat in each of their three meetings with Brazil in that run — but the Dutch have not lost any of their 19 matches since Louis van Gaal returned to the dugout in August 2021.
With both teams so hard to beat, it would be no surprise if this clash went to extra-time and penalties — as it did in their last meeting in 2014.
Bet 2: Back both teams to score in 90 minutes
Argentina’s record of seven clean sheets in nine outings might put people off backing both teams to score, but both World Cup clean sheets came against opponents who showed no attacking intent whatsoever in the shape of Poland and Mexico.
Four of La Albiceleste’s other five clean sheets came against weak opponents who did not qualify for Qatar and while Lionel Scaloni’s men did well to shackle Italy in the Finalissima, they also conceded to two of the World Cup’s weaker teams in Saudi Arabia and Australia.
Against a Dutch side containing Memphis Depay, Cody Gakpo and dangerous wing-back Denzel Dumfries, an Argentine defence featuring the unconvincing Nicolas Otamendi will be given their biggest test yet in Qatar.
Bet 3: Back Lionel Messi to have two or more shots on target in 90 minutes
Even at 35 years old, Lionel Messi remains the pivot around which most Argentine attacks develop and he should get at least a couple of shots on target against the Netherlands.
The Paris Saint-Germain forward has scored in three of Argentina’s four 2022 World Cup outings and has taken tallies of three, two, six and six shots in those matches.
Only against Mexico did Messi fail to produce more than one shot on target — he had three shots on target against Poland and two against each of Saudi Arabia and Australia despite being man-marked in the round of 16 clash.
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