World Cup: Cunning Coutinho

Brazil kick today’s World Cup football off with a game against Costa Rica that they really need to win.

The Samba kings were held by Switzerland in their first game, and may well use the Central Americans as shooting practice to vent their frustrations.

Star forward Neymar took a few kicks in that opening game and may miss this one. But such is their attacking talent that his absence shouldn’t make much of a difference.

Instead, we look to Barcelona’s (as a Liverpool fan it still hurts to write that) Philippe Coutinho to take most of the set pieces, curling them in with his magic right foot. The 4/1 for him to be named man of the match is tempting, but he scored once in the first game and we’ll take the 11/1 that he doubles that today.

Next up Iceland play Nigeria, and this is a tricky game to call.

Iceland delighted everyone (well most people!) with the draw against the might  of Argentina in their first game, and now have a serious chance of their first World Cup win. This is because Nigeria have been weak of late.

That said, the Africans do have talent and we’re reluctant to write them off completely. Consequently, we won’t touch the match result, and are tempted by Iceland’s Gylfi Sigurdsson scoring. But we’re going to take a real punt on big defender Kari Arnason scoring at anytime given Iceland’s predilection to set pieces.

The final game sees Switzerland take on Serbia.

One of these two teams will probably accompany Brazil into the knockout rounds and as Serbia won their first game they have the edge. They will be reluctant to throw this advantage away with a carefree approach.

Switzerland are on one point after drawing with Brazil but also know they face the group’s weakest team, Costa Rica, in their final match. They can’t afford to lose today, as that would put Serbia through.

A draw awaits.

Recommendations:

Brazil/Costa Rica: Coutinho to score at least two, 1 pt, at 11/1, Paddy Power

Iceland/Nigeria: Arnason to score anytime, 1 pt, at 16/1, Unibet

Switzerland/Serbia: A draw, 2 pts, at 2/1, widely available 

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