England v Sweden (3pm)
England sacrificied momentum to sidestep Brazil and the decision could pay off with a World Cup semi-final place at least.
Losing to Belgium in the groups handed Gareth Southgate’s men an “easier” route against Colombia, Sweden and either Russia or Croatia.
It wasn’t so straightforward against Colombia as England scraped through on penalties.
Maybe conceding an injury-time equaliser and finally winning a shootout will in a strange way make England super confident and more resilient.
On paper they are superior to Sweden and are 10-11 favourites at William Hill – a similar price to what they were against the Colombians in the quarters.
But they can’t underestimate their opponents who are the type cast of stubborn rivals they’ve stumbled against in past tourneys. Remember Iceland!
Ex-England boss Sven Goran Eriksson branded Sweden “the world champions of team spirit” and Southgate’s men will need to be up for a dogfight.
England usually start at a high tempo and if they score early could win comfortably as the Swedes play best on the counter.
Harry Kane has six goals to his name and will be again well backed to score first at 31-10 with Marathonbet. He is decent value at 21-20 with bet365 to net at any time.
John Stones and Harry Maguire continue to pose a threat from set-pieces and even Kieran
Trippier went close against Colombia. Any of them could be backed to net at any time.
Sweden’s goal hero with a deflected effort against the Swiss was Emil Forsberg and he is 7-1 at Betway to net again.
The RB Leipzig striker is clearly their star man and is 16-1 to break the deadlock.
A special from Sky Bet is 7-2 Kane to have two shots plus on target and Forsberg to have at least one. It’s worth backing.
I tipped under 2.5 goals against Colombia and it’s a real possibility but just 40-85 at McBookie.
Not sure how many England fans can stomach another shoot-out but to go to penalties pays 9-2 at Sky Bet. England to win on pens – and their record in World Cups is now one out of four – is 10-1 with 188BET.
Sweden, who have won one out of one, are 11-1 at sportingbet to progress by a shootout.
England have been awarded three penalties in normal time and Kane has confidently converted all three – plus one in the shoot-out – and Sky Bet go 4-1 they are given another in 90 minutes.
A spot-kick to be missed by England is 18-1 at bet365 while Sweden to fail from 12 yards pays 28-1.
Cards were given out like confetti to Colombians and the Swedes will be more honest but just as hard.
There is a real chance of a red card in the match and that pays 4-1 at bet365.
- Kane to score
- Kane 2+ shots on target, Forsberg 1+
- Red card in match
Russia v Croatia (7pm)
THIS is a quarter-final no one could have predicted. Russia were expected to be flop hosts and tipped to crash out at the group stage to Uruguay and Egypt.
But they got off to a flyer as Saudi Arabia defended like schoolboys then took advantage of Mo Salah not being 100 per cent fit – and while they lost 3-0 to Uruguay they were already through.
Then came the biggest surprise as they beat Spain on penalties although their opponents hardly sparkled.
Croatia cruised the groups but struggled against Denmark before also winning on penalties. From what we've seen the Croats are deserved favourites to win but by no means certs to progress.
They are a best 23-20 with McBookie while Russia are 3-1 at bet365 with the draw 21-20 – two of the three meetings between the sides have been 0-0 with other a 3-1 Croatia victory.
Neither side has conceded a goal from open play so a Croatia win and under 2.5 goals has a chance at 37-13 with 188BET.
If Croatia hit top form – and that means big displays from Luka Modric, left, Ivan Rakitic and Mario Mandzukic – they should win.
But if they're as passive as they were against the Danes my money would be on a draw and Russia will be happy to take this all the way to penalties if required.
Both teams are 9-1 at 188BET to win on spot-kicks – and it was Russia who were the most impressive takers in the last 16.
Modric missed in 90 minutes against Denmark but luckily netted in the shootout and is 9-1 at bet365 to break the deadlock but I prefer Rakitic at 14-1.
Artem Dyzuba converted from the spot against Spain and is 7-1 at bet365 to score first.
- Croatia & under 2.5 goals
- Rakitic to score