It’s been a quite incredible start to the World Cup for host nation Russia. Unfancied by many prior to the beginning of this tournament, the home side has scored eight goals without conceding from open play and have sent the crowds into raptures. It’s going to be tough to repeat against Uruguay though, who are favourites in this matchup and also favourites to top the group.
Both teams enter the match on six points, and are assured qualification to the next round. Their opponents in the next round are likely to be Spain or Portugal (although Iran can still qualify if they beat Cristiano Ronaldo’s men).
We may see stars rested from each side as they prepare for the second round. While it is ideal to win the group, and some may argue that Portugal will be an easier prospect than Spain, we won’t know the final group standings until the Group B matches are complete, and they kick off four hours later.
What we have seen so far in this tournament is that South American teams have struggled. Uruguay are the exception to the rule, having won both of their matches, while Brazil, Colombia, Peru and Argentina have all had their issues. Still, two 1-0 wins against inferior teams doesn’t give us much confidence in Uruguay ahead of a home side that is playing out of their skins.
For this reason, we are modifying our original pick of Uruguay and going with Russia to make it three from three in this match. It should be tight given Uruguay’s excellent defensive performance so far, although we said that about Russia’s game against Egypt and look what happened…
Uruguay start at +149, while the hosts are slight outsiders at +199 and the draw is paying +209. We accept that there is a real prospect of a draw as the sides conserve energy for the second round, but given the lack of draws so far in this tournament we’re going for the Russians to win 1-0