World Cup: When Harry met a cross…

Saturday’s footballing extravaganza starts with England facing Sweden for the right to play in a World Cup semifinal.

The two sides have played each other 25 times, with Sweden winning seven and England eight. And the two previous World Cup meetings have been draws. So expect a tight game.

The key to England’s success in this tournament has been well prepared set pieces – of the nine goals they have scored only two have come from open play. We think this can continue.

We’ve been keen on Harry Maguire scoring from the start of the tournament, yet it’s been his defensive partner John Stones who has netted twice. Still, while running the risk that we sound boring, we are going to stick with Leicester’s big central defender to score at any time.

The evening game sees Croatia take on Russia.

The hosts have exceeded all expectations in this tournament, and held on magnificently to take Spain to penalties last time out. However, that would have taken a lot out of the players and it’s debatable they can do it again.

Yet they must because Croatia are a talented side, with in particular a midfield full of quality. It’s difficult to see the Russians holding onto the ball for prolonged periods of time, and we think eventually Croatia’s quality will come to the fore.

With this in mind, we’ll take the draw at half time followed by Croatia winning at full time.

Recommendations:

England/Sweden: Maguire to score at anytime, 1 pt, at 16/1, bet365 

Croatia/Russia: Draw at half time, Croatia at full time, 1 pt, at 4/1, widely available 

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