Portugal’s weak defence will be exposed by Croatia on the first day of Last 16 action, writes The Money Man.
The Money Man takes a look at today’s three games:
Game #1 3:00pm
Switzerland vs Poland
We are now in the knockout stages of Euro 2016 and don’t expect many goals in this encounter! Poland have yet to concede a goal and Switzerland have only given up 1 themselves. Add to this the fact they have not exactly been bulging the twine with only 2 goals scored by each team. I expect a cagey affair and history may bear me out on this one. These teams have drawn 5/10 times they have played in the past and with stakes so high for both sides it may be a case of both trying not to lose this fixture instead of going out and trying to win it. I like a 0-0 draw or 1-1 draw as a score line but will be backing a draw none the less at 19/10. Remember that although there has to be a winner tomorrow the draw is still a betting possibility over 90 minutes.
Game #2 6:00pm
Wales vs Northern Ireland
Being from Wales my interests in this game are more emotional than your average punter. While we were hammering Russia much to my own disbelief a friend asked who we were playing if we topped the group. I looked at him like a person would who, had supported a team who had never even qualified for a major tournament in my life time. Utter disbelief, it’s not a reality I had ever considered. That is the beauty of sports and why it has such appeal. Northern Ireland on paper should hold very little opposition to Gareth Bale and his merry men, but don’t expect this game to be one for the purists, NI will throw 11 men behind the ball and try to counter attack. Against Germany this served them well and they qualified by only losing 1-0. Germany’s finishing was shocking and the score should have been 5-0. I don’t expect the same charity from Wales. Wales are a team gelling at the right time and all reports are good regarding team morale and couple this with the fact we never take any nation for granted when it comes to soccer and it points to a 1-0 or 2-0 victory for Wales. An outright Welsh victory is available at even money; which means if you put R500 you receive back R1000.
Game #3 9pm
Portugal v Croatia
Croatia should win this game, they are better than any team Portugal have faced to date. Iceland, Hungary and Austria don’t exactly leave the football elite quaking in their soccer boots. Croatia on the other hand topped the group of death and beat both Spain and Turkey and drew with a credible Czech Republic side. Look for Croatia to win this game 3-1. I do expect goals and if one comes early there could be many to follow. The Portuguese are not the strongest in defence and Croatia have also leaked 4 goals, so there should be a few tomorrow in what should be an exciting day of football.