Safe to say, this World Cup has exceeded all expectations.

The fears of off the pitch trouble have thankfully proved unfounded, the Russian leadership as keen to keep their minority of trouble makers in check on home soil, as they were happy to see them run amok in France two years ago.

Whilst a minority have still travelled and appear to be having the time of their lives most of us are happy to make do with a constant TV diet in recent weeks.

As the group stage ends, the matches do become more strung out, but the importance and intensity grows as we near the sharp end of things.

I booked today (Friday) off work as I don’t think I have ever anticipated a weekend of football, that didn’t involve Newcastle United, quite as much as this one.

I honestly can’t wait, four excellent matches to look forward to, I just don’t want this World Cup to end.

Friday 3pm Uruguay v France

You can never write Uruguay off and they are one of those countries in a World Cup who always seem to put on a show. France put Argentina out in that superb 4-3 last 16 match and they are now opening up with their array of attacking talent. They will have too much for Uruguay but a creaking French defence will give the opposition hope.

I have to go for France in this one.

Uruguay v France Match Betting:

Uruguay win 10/3Draw 11/5France win 21/20

All Uruguay v France betting HERE

Friday 7pm Brazil v Belgium

For me, I will be amazed if this is not game of the tournament, so far. Brazil are bound to attack and this will suit Belgium perfectly as they are so quick on the counter. I find it impossible to think there won’t be goals for both sides here and I think it could all come down to who defends better.

For me Belgium are stronger in defence and I really fancy them to win this one. Whoever wins though, I think we will see a memorable match.

Brazil v Belgium Match Betting:

Brazil win 23/20Draw 5/2Belgium win 13/5

All Brazil v Belgium betting HERE

Saturday 3pm England v Sweden

This reminds me of when Newcastle got to the FA Cup final 20 years ago. I think we played Everton in the third round but then weak/lower league teams all the way to the final. We ran into a sublime Arsenal team that day but hopefully this World Cup will have a happier ending.

This is surely a dream draw and England will only have themselves to blame if not going through. I see this as a bit of a Tottenham v Huddersfield match in terms of the relative quality and not just because of how many Spurs players are in the team/squad.

England should win and will do, the only concern is that Southgate’s team look incapable of keeping a clean sheet, including against Panama and Tunisia.

England v Sweden Match Betting:

England win 9/10Draw 85/40Sweden win 18/5

All England v Sweden betting HERE

Saturday 7pm Russia v Croatia

The plucky hosts against the better quality Croats. Hopefully we will all be sitting back smoking our cigars by this point, waiting to see who England get in the semis.

Another dream draw for England no matter who gets through.

The vast majority of the Russian football public didn’t expect their team to get out of the group stage so they are already heroes having reached the quarters.

This is when their luck and stamina runs out though, Croatia will be too good.

Russia v Croatia Match Betting:

Russia win 11/4 – Draw 2/1 – Croatia win 23/20

All Russia v Croatia betting HERE

  • Paul Patterson

    I think game of the tournament has been. It was Argentina v France. I expect France v Brasil to be a cagey affair for most of it . .

    • Peaky

      …..if they play each other that is….

      • Dillon Tovak

        Yep, I’ve got a feeling Uruguay will squeeze them out.
        The most organised defence versus the supremely talented headless chickens.
        What a game we’ll have in store, I hope.

        • Peaky

          Godin is immense….best defender in the world…could be.

          • Dillon Tovak

            Jeez that’s a giant loss if he’s out, for the game too as he was a boss against Portugal.

          • Peaky

            Yes,as I’ve said on here previously,for me the best individual performance in the World Cup so far….huge loss if he’s out….the ‘lovable’ little Suarez will have to step up to the plate today….

          • Rich Lawson

            Nope,he’s been withdrawn and has returned to the UK to give biting lessons to Red,Clem and Goofy for next season.

          • Peaky


        • Kneebotherm8

          Uruguay will be tough cookies…….their defence won’t capitulate like Argentinas did……..mess of a team they were……

      • Kneebotherm8

        Should be in the semis if the bookies are right……but in this crazy,crazy World Cup…….who knows…

    • Desree

      Belgium Brazil has potential

  • Stephen

    The euphoria is growing
    England expects
    Maybe because I’m a Newcastle fan I have a lingering doubt.
    Deli Ali and Sterling have produced nothing close to their club form.
    Hopefully wrong but going to enjoy the day regardless

    • Peaky

      Would start with Rose & Rashford for Young & Sterling….

  • Peaky

    Bet Putin knew who was going to win the World Cup as soon as Russia were given it….just saying like but the lowest ranked team in the competition getting this far ??? That Spain performance was very unSpain like and why didn’t Iniesta start…..”there are more questions than answers” when sport & Russia collide……better cancel Zizzis….

    • Dillon Tovak

      The worst fixing I’ve ever witnessed was South Korea 2002!

      • Peaky

        Aye,know exactly what you’re saying.

      • Stephen

        Not remember San Marino to score 1st v England

  • Leazes.

    Come on Sweden

    • Kneebotherm8

      Hope Southgate doesn’t end up on the back page of the Sun with a swede superimposed over his head………..couldn’t happen could it?…….nah……. never in a million years……

      • Leazes.

        Nah he’s a C***ney (Watford…. it counts)…. the Murdoch media usually use it as an excuse to get rid of Northern managers because the don’t consider the North Country as England….. neither do I.

        Slothgate has it until the Euros 2020

        • Dillon Tovak

          Who will Sven be supporting? 🤔
          Whoever pays him the most probably.

          • Leazes.

            I don’t think he’ll have split loyalties.

        • Kneebotherm8

          Fair point…….owt north of Watford & ya goosed…..

  • Monkseaton Magpies

    Summers are for going to Benidorm and counting down the days to the Spurs game.

  • Rich Lawson

    Why do you need to include BetVictor’s odds in your post ?

  • Peaky

    Still not 100% convinced with Belgium….talented individuals no doubt but I’m not sure Martinez knows his starting eleven…..Hazard & De Bruyne don’t seem to gel in that system…..after saying all that they’ll probably now go on and win the whole competition.

    • Dillon Tovak

      It made me laugh all the pundits calling Martinez a genius for playing KDB in the position he’s excelled at all season.

      Is it just me or would John Carver be doing just as well with this Belgium team?
      (Bit harsh possibly 😂)

      • Peaky

        Exactly…they were immense last night….hard to pick their best player….Courtois,De Bruyne,Lukaku,Hazard were all superb but for me I think Fellaini just nicked it….going to miss the semi v France as in Manchester seeing a concert….gutted but never mind.

  • Tino11

    If we get Russia in the semis expect novichok incident 3!