THE last-16 continues on Sunday with Spain v Russia followed by Croatia v Denmark.
Saturday's games were tough to call but I like Spain and Croatia – although there are no certs the way this tournament has panned out.
Croatia v Denmark (7pm)
Before the World Cup I was asked to pick a dark horse and my first choice was Belgium. When told they were too short I then plumped for Croatia.
They were 40-1 and now a biggest 14-1 at Sky Bet after winning all of their group games.
Tomorrow’s last-16 opponents Denmark aren’t brilliant but are workmanlike and difficult to beat but the Croats look a confident bunch and have world-class performers such as Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic and Ivan Perisic playing well.
Their 3-0 defeat of Argentina was stunning and I can’t see them slipping up against the Danes and crucially they had the luxury of resting 10 players in their final game against Iceland.
Croatia can be backed at a best 5-6 with McBookie to win or even minus one goal at 12-5 with William Hill.
Picking a first-scorer isn’t easy but it’s likely to come from midfield. I’m plumping for Barcelona star Rakitic who is 14-1 at bet365 to break the deadlock and 6-1 to net.
Modric isn’t the golden boy of Croatian football and could face perjury charges in his homeland after the tournament. But if he scores they’ll cheer anyway. He takes pens and is 10-1 at bet365 to net first and 4-1 to score.
Denmark are 19-5 with McBookie while a draw pays 9-4 at 188BET. Their biggest goal threat is Christian Eriksen and the Spurs star is 5-1 at Unibet to score.
Spain v Russia (3pm)
Spain have stumbled through to the last 16 but should end the hosts’ party tomorrow.
Fernando Hierro was thrown into the job at the last minute and it started well with that 3-3 thriller against Portugal.
They stuttered past Iran and grabbed a last-gasp draw against Morocco so on paper there’s nothing for the Russians to fear.
However, we know Spain can perform and we’ve seen in glimpses the damage the likes of Isco, Diego Costa and Iago Aspas can do.
Russia’s expectations were low before thumping wins against Saudi Arabia and Egypt gave home fans belief.
But those two countries were among the poorest at the tournament and a 3-0 hammering by Uruguay has dampened spirits.
Atletico Madrid star Costa is a flat-track bully who frightens weak defences and is 10-3 at bet365 to hit the opener. Isco netted against Morocco and is 13-2 with Marathonbet.
They netted eight in two and made chances against Uruguay. Spain to win and both to score could trap at 3-1 with McBookie.
If the Russians are to hit the net it could come from Denis Cheryshev who is 27-5 at Unibet.
- Spain & btts (3-1, McBookie)
- Costa to score first (10-3, bet365)