We are now just DAYS away from the opening fixture of the 2018 World Cup and excitement is growing for this summer’s tournament.
In this latest piece, we’ll be looking at five players who could shine for their respective nations – the World Cup is the ideal chance for gifted footballers to prove themselves on the biggest stage. Without further ado, let’s get down to the five players…
Serbia are well placed to enjoy a successful tournament this summer and Newcastle United man Mitrovic can be their focal point in attack.
The 23-year-old spent last season on loan at Fulham, helping the Cottagers to secure promotion to the Premier League with 12 goals in 20 Championship games.
He continued his fine run of form with a hat-trick in Serbia’s final warm up match ahead of the World Cup and Mitrovic will relish the chance to lead the line with the likes of Nemanja Matic, Dusan Tadic and talented youngster Sergej Milinkovic-Savic playing in behind.
At 7/4 to score two or more goals this summer, he is well worth a small wager.
A man who needs no introduction, Hazard will be relishing the chance to show off his silky skills this summer.
The Belgium winger has been linked with a move to Real Madrid and Los Blancos will be keeping a close eye on Hazard’s performances – he could be set for a huge tournament.
At the time of writing, the Chelsea man is 20/1 to finish with the most assists this summer and plenty of punters will be keen to back Hazard at that price.
Belgium are likely to create lots of chances in their fixtures against Panama and Tunisia; and Hazard could rack up a lead in the race to record most assists.
Roy Hodgson had Kane on corner-taking duty at the 2016 European Championships and we have a 2/1 special for the Tottenham man to take a corner this summer.
That experiment failed two years ago but 2/1 for Kane to take one is worth considering – for the satirical side of things if nothing else.
The 7/2 for Kane to score a hat-trick during the competition is short; especially considering England’s woeful record at major tournaments.
One price that does catch the eye is 75/1 for Kane to be England’s only scorer this summer. Two relatively straightforward group fixtures won’t help but if England fall short, this high odds wager comes into play.
Described by many as the brightest young talent in football, Mbappe is expected to shine in Russia this summer.
However, France are blessed with quality and it might be a case of ‘too many cooks’ for the Paris Saint-Germain forward. His record in a France shirt is impressive, with four goals in his 15 appearances for the national team so far.
However, I think the EVENS for Mbappe to score less than three goals this summer is worth taking. He looks destined to enjoy a successful career at the summit of world football but I just don’t see any value in taking the 7/10 for three or more goals.
This is a risky one though as France have the potential to go all the way to the final…
Last but not least, the 16/1 for Ramos to be the most carded player this summer represents solid value given his disciplinary record.
The Real Madrid man has come under scrutiny for his ‘role’ in Mohamed Salah’s injury in the Champions League final and fans will be on his back throughout the competition.
Ramos has a tendency to implode and he could find himself receiving yellow cards left, right and centre in Russia.
Referees will be red hot on answering back and Ramos will need to keep his mouth shut to avoid picking up any unnecessary cautions. Watch this space, we could have a 16/1 winner on our hands.
*Odds subject to change - correct at time of writing*