And then there were eight. We are now down to the quarter-finals stage of this summer’s tournament and fans are dreaming of a famous World Cup triumph.
Those dreams will become a reality for one of these nations on July 15th but all eight will be fully focused on the task at hand; reaching the semi-finals.
England will face Sweden in Saturday’s afternoon fixture and plenty of punters will fancy the Three Lions to prevail in that encounter.
Gareth Southgate’s men are 19/20 to win this clash in 90 minutes and that is a decent price considering the quality in England’s squad – click here for a full preview ahead of that match.
Hosts Russia go up against Croatia in the later game and it would take a brave man to write Stanislav Cherchesov’s side off.
Nobody expected Russia to get this far but that victory over Spain has got supporters dreaming. It should be an open, end-to-end affair and England fans will be keeping a close eye on the outcome if the Three Lions get past Sweden.
SWEDEN vs ENGLAND
With five clean sheets in their last six matches, Sweden are built on defensive stability and the onus will be on England to break the Scandinavian side down.
Janne Andersson’s men have been superb so far this summer – sticking to a game plan that quite clearly works for them. 888sport have opened with Sweden at 8/11 to grab a goal on Saturday afternoon.
Meanwhile, England were desperately unlucky not to defeat Colombia in normal time but the Three Lions did manage to finish the job on penalties. Yes, that’s right – England won a penalty shootout.
Fans will be hoping that Gareth Southgate’s side can wrap this one up in normal time and England are available at an appealing 13/10 to score two or more goals.
We are now into the business stage of the competition and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see goals. An early opener for England could set the tone for the rest of the contest whilst Sweden will be looking to make the most of set-pieces.
13/8 for over 2.5 goals is well worth considering despite Sweden’s defensive prowess – this England side may have too much firepower for their opponents.
TIP: Over 2.5 goals @ 13/8
CORRECT SCORE: Sweden 1-2 England (Priced at 17/2 with 888sport)
RUSSIA vs CROATIA
Russia’s defence stood strong against Spain and the hosts may adopt a similar approach for this fixture. It wasn’t pretty but it was effective in that last-16 clash and Cherchesov will be wary of Croatia’s threat in attack.
By the same token, this Russia side have the quality in the final third to cause problems for Croatia and both teams to score is worth a punt at 6/5.
Dangerous in the first half but laboured in the second, Croatia were very 'Jekyll and Hyde' against Denmark. Like England, Zlatko Dalic’s men also needed penalties to reach the quarter-finals and Croatia fans will demand an improved effort here.
A repeat of that second half performance could see the European outfit exit the competition. If Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic play well, the 11/20 available for Croatia to advance to the next round could look huge...
Backing against Croatia would be foolish despite the obvious concerns. Russia will have the vast majority of the Sochi crowd behind them and Dalic’s side must try to weather the early storm.
Croatia will have chances to score though and I fancy them to advance to the next round - 17/10 for two or more goals in their favour represents good value. For Russia, this could be the end of the road...
TIP: Croatia to score two or more goals @ 17/10
CORRECT SCORE: Russia 1-2 Croatia (Priced at 9/1 with 888sport)
*Odds subject to change - correct at time of writing*