The 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar enters its second week, with the group stage beginning to come to an end. As the Round of 16 commences on Saturday, the next few days will be crucial as different nations scamper to make the qualification places.
Ecuador v Senegal – 29th October (15:00)
Ecuador find themselves in a perhaps surprisingly luxurious position of just needing to avoid defeat to qualify for the knockout stages when they face Senegal on Tuesday, the double chance for which is priced at 4/11. Their draw against Group A favourites Netherlands earned them that right, with Senegal paying the price for their 2-0 defeat to the Dutch in their tournament opener.
Many would have predicted Senegal to progress from this group when the draw was made, but an injury to star player Sadio Mane has certainly numbed some of their attacking potency, while Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy had a questionable display in their late defeat to the Dutch. Only a win will do for Senegal, who are considered outsiders at 11/5 to achieve that outcome.
Such is the pressing need for Senegal to score in this game that both sides finding the back of the net could well be a possibility, and can be backed at a price of 21/20. In terms of personnel, Enner Valencia is currently the tournament’s joint-top scorer alongside Kylian Mbappe with three, and is 9/2 to open the scoring on Tuesday.
Iran v USA – 29th October (19:00)
Group B seems to be a little bit more complicated in terms of who will qualify, with all four teams in with a shout of advancing to the next round. A win for either Iran or the USA will see them qualify at the expense of the other, whilst a draw would be enough for Iran as long as Wales don’t record an unlikely victory over England. Only a win will see the Americans through, and they are considered favourites at 21/20 to do so.
Iran were unrecognisable from the team that got dismantled against England when they beat Wales on Friday, and perhaps seem generously priced at 14/5 given the spirit and quality they have in their squad. It should be a tight affair, especially given the Iranians just need a draw, so under 2.5 goals seems appropriately priced at 8/13.
Christian Pulisic was arguably the most threatening USA player against England on Friday night, and is 23/10 to find the net anytime in this crucial encounter. Meanwhile, Mehdi Taremi remains Iran’s top scorer in the tournament after his brace against England, and can be backed at 29/10 to take his tally to three on Tuesday evening.
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Poland v Argentina – 30th November (19:00)
Poland and Argentina were both 2-0 winners in their second round group fixtures, which propelled both nations into the qualifying places at the expense of Saudi Arabia and Mexico. Given they meet in Wednesday’s group decider, there is however, a good chance one will be eliminated. Poland will be guaranteed qualification with a win or a draw, which seems well priced at 17/10 to happen.
Argentina took a heavy blow in their tournament opener to Saudi Arabia, but their subsequent victory over Mexico has put them back in with a shout at 15/2 to lift the trophy. They will start the game as firm 1/2 favourites, which would see them progress to the knockout stages, though they will likewise qualify with a draw (3/1) if Mexico draw with Saudi Arabia. A win for Poland is deemed highly unlikely at 13/2.
Lionel Messi has opened the scoring in each of Argentina’s two group games so far, and is 13/5 to repeat the feat on Wednesday, whilst Barcelona’s Robert Lewandowski is 11/4 to add to his first ever World Cup goal he scored against Saudi Arabia.
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