Amazingly all eight group-winners qualified from the round of 16 – though it’s fair to say all but Colombia had a fair amount of luck.
Five games finished tied after 90-minutes with France being the only team who started odds on to win in regulation play to do so.
Germany could certainly have had no complaints if rampant Algeria had emerged victorious, whilst Argentina and Brazil could also have fallen to tactically better opposition.
Costa Rica and Greece gave their all until the South Americans somehow mustered the energy for five perfect penalties after two hours of breathless football, and Belgium gained a deserved win over USA. Meanwhile, Holland looked second best for much of their game with Mexico.
France vs Germany
France definitely have a freshness edge after not having to endure extra-time against Nigeria, but I’m not sure their attacking line-up has the pace to really trouble the Germans at the back. Also, whilst midfielder Pogba will undoubtedly be the star of a major tournament, I expect the experienced German midfield will know too much for him on this occasion. I can see France giving it a good go, before tiring and letting Germany win in extra-time.
Germany to win in extra-time 10/1 or better (general)
Brazil vs Colombia
It’s a great shame that these two sides aren’t at least gracing a semi-final, but I find it hard to believe that Brazil are odds-on to win in 90-minutes. Colombia have two born match winners in James Rodriguez and Juan Cuadrado, and a squad that works tirelessly for each other. Of course, tournament favourites Brazil have a wonderful World Cup pedigree and home advantage. The 19/5 Colombia to win in 90-minutes is tempting, but giving ourselves the draw by laying Brazil looks a better percentage play.
Lay Brazil to win in 90-minutes @ 1.9 (Betfair)
Argentina vs Belgium
Both sides had gruelling matches with Argentina struggling to break down a well-organised Swiss side and Belgium struggling to get the ball in the net until USA tired in extra-time. The key to this match may be its openness, with Belgium looking to play football and possibly leaving space for Argentina’s attacking talent to exploit. However, if Argentina don’t score early they may well live to regret it if the speedy Lukaku is again used as a late substitute. However, Argentina are a shade of odds against to win in 90-minutes and that’s too big in my eyes.
Argentina to win in 90-minutes 15/13 (Betway, Unibet)
Holland vs Costa Rica
The Dutch may have scraped past Mexico in 90-minutes, but in doing so have a huge advantage over a Costa Rican side who have already far outlived the expectations of the watching world. Unfortunately, in giving their all against the Greeks, I think they’ve left their chance of progressing to the semi-finals behind – and Holland should bag a semi-final spot without having to exert themselves too much.
Holland 1/2 to win in 90-minutes (general)
5/1 Holland will be tempting to many as they may well be far the freshest side in the semis, whilst Colombia’s odds of 14/1 will plummet to 4/1 or less if they manage to get past Brazil.
Holland 5/1 (general)
Colombia 14/1 (bwin)