Argentina v Switzerland
Arena Corinthians, São Paulo, Tuesday 5pm
- Argentina won their three group games but they were lucky against Iran and conceded twice against Nigeria.
- Sergio Aguero is out with an injury, which doesn’t surprise me. However, I get the impression Argentina’s best form is still to come and players such as Ezequiel Lavezzi, Angel di Maria and Gonzalo Higuain need to perform at a higher level.
- Messi, however, has really stepped up to the plate with four goals in three group games, and, crucially three of these have been winning goals.
- Likewise, Switzerland have relied heavily on a left-footer so far -Bayern’s Xherdan Shaqiri. But the Swiss are a workmanlike team without being special.
My correct score match prediction: 3-1 (Betting > Take Paul Scholes’ tip at 12/1)
- Scroll down for Paul’s take on Fellaini and Belgium v USA …
Belgium v USA
Arena Fonte Nova, Salvador, Tuesday 9pm
- I thought Mexico and Holland was tricky to call, but this is the trickiest yet.
- The USA are hardworking and run their legs off – Micheal Bradley ran 38km in the three group games. However, they are really limited in attack.
- Despite all the hype, and three group wins, I’m not convinced Belgium are a great team, or at least they have not shown their full potential yet. They have match-winners though who can create great moments and this leans me towards a narrow Belgium win.
- As a team, America play well. But they don’t have the outstanding quality of somebody such as Eden Hazard or Dries Mertens who are game changers. Marouane Fellaini is another who’s impressed me. He came off the bench to rescue Belgium in the group game against Algeria and played quite well against South Korea – he should start.
- The impact of substitutes has been a standout point in this World Cup. For Belgium, the Lille 19-year-old Divock Origi deserves his chance to start now (for the off-form Lukaku) after making a good impact three times as a substitute, including that goal against Russia.
My match prediction: Tight game, but Belgium on penalties (Betting > Take Paul Scholes’ tip at 9/1)
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