Jul 4, 1007 days ago

2014 World Cup – Quarter Final preview

2014 World Cup – Quarter Final preview

There are now just eight teams left in a brilliant World Cup and there are some intriguing fixtures to look forward to. There’s a curious combination of big guns and dark horses left in the tournament and picking a potential winner remains as hard as it’s been for a couple of weeks.

Here’s our preview of the 2014 World Cup quarter finals.

South Americans bid to make last four

Before last week’s round of 16 match we predicted that Brazil might find the going tough against talented South American opponents. On that occasion they managed to squeeze past Chile on penalties but they face another difficult match in the quarter finals as they take on Colombia.

The hosts have yet to convince in any of their matches and have had to rely on the brilliance of Neymar more than once. Fred has become the focus of much of the criticism but Phil Scolari is unlikely to make major changes despite his team’s mediocre form.

Colombia have been brilliant so far and it’s frightening to think quite how good they may have been if star striker Radamel Falcao had been fit. In his absence it has been James Rodriguez that has been their inspiration and the Monaco midfielder scored a magnificent goal in their 2-0 win over Uruguay.

On current form, the 7/2 available on a Colombia win looks superb value.

Argentina have been reliant on the brilliance of Lionel Messi this summer and the tournament second favourites will need to improve if they are to win their third World Cup. Their opponents in the quarter final are Belgium who made it four wins out of four with a 2-1 victory against the USA in a terrific last 16 match.

I have yet to be entirely convinced by either of these sides and so this is a tough match to call. I wouldn’t be surprised to see it go the distance and the draw is available at 12/5.

European heavyweights continue bid to become first UEFA winner in South America

Three of Europe’s heavyweights have made it through to the quarter finals and there will be a clash of styles as the Netherlands face Costa Rica and France play Germany.

Having seen all the first round matches it is the Dutch that my money is on to win the tournament. Admittedly they were lucky to overcome Mexico but they are unlikely to face that heat and humidity again before the final. Costa Rica have been the story of this tournament, eliminating three previous World Cup winners and a European champion on the way to the quarter-final and they are likely to make life tough for Holland.

I fancy the Netherlands to progress but there’s not much value in the win at 1/2.

If Germany play to the best of their ability then they will win the tournament but, apart from an hour or so against Portugal, this is yet to happen. Their defence was all over the place in their draw with Ghana and narrow win over Algeria and when they face better strikers they could well be punished.

France have scored plenty of goals and look to be one of the best team units left in the competition. If they can be patient and hit Germany on the break then they can cause them real trouble and the 2/1 on Les Bleus looks like good value.

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