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Wales v Iran
Wales didn’t kick off their World Cup campaign in the way they would have hoped, they were slow out of the blocks and looked vastly inferior to the USA in the first half. Rob Page’s team talk clearly helped the team as Wales looked like a different side in the second half, the Dragons received a penalty after a rash challenge from Walker Zimmerman and it was comfortably put away by Gareth Bale.
Iran were humiliated in their first match, a 6-2 defeat to England was their worst result in World Cup history and the first time they had been beaten by more than three goals in their 16 games at the World Cup. They were poor on the day, though their recent record of W17-D2-L3 still holds strong and they’ll be determined to get something from this.
Now that both teams have played their opening game, we expect to see the players more comfortable and less nervy, though we think Wales will have the edge. The Dragons cant afford to drop points here, and since 1990, in World Cup matches where a side has drawn their opener going up against a team coming off the back of a defeat, they have a W13-D5-L3 record. Furthermore, in major tournaments since Copa America 1997, nine sides have conceded at least five goals in their opening game, and all nine have gone on to lose their next. That leaves Wales at a good price at odds against, though we think Iran will put a lot of bodies behind the ball and Wales may find it difficult to break down, and we’ll couple with the unders to add more value.
WALES TO WIN AND UNDER 2.5 GOALS
Qatar v Senegal
A poor showing in Qatar’s first match against Ecuador means that they sit at the bottom of Group A and are unlikely to move from that spot for the rest of the tournament. It almost seemed like Ecuador stopped playing in the second half because they knew that Qatar posed absolutely no threat up top.
Senegal held on to the bitter end against Netherlands but sadly it wasn’t to be as the Dutch scored two late goals to turn the match in their favour. It couldn’t have been more evident that Senegal were missing their key man on the attacking end of the field in Sadio Mane, they just lacked that creative spark that they required.
Senegal looked defensively solid against Netherlands and they even manufactured some good changes against a strong defensive line that included van Dijk, Ake and De Ligt. We think that if Senegal play in a similar manner to how they played against the Dutch, they will easily walk away with the win here. Qatar’s record since their last win against a side going to the World Cup (back in 2019 when they beat Japan 3-1 in the Asia Cup) record has been W0-D1-L13.
SENEGAL TO WIN
Netherlands v Ecuador
The Dutch started their campaign is they mean to go on and after beating Senegal in their opening match they look destined to top the group. Cody Gakpo broke the deadlock in the 84th minute with a fantastic header but also some questionable goalkeeping from Chelsea’s Edouard Mendy.
Ecuador also got off to a strong start after beating the hosts Qatar 2-0 in rather dominant fashion. There was a lack of energy shown by Ecuador in the second half, but we think this is mainly down to how much better they were than the hosts. They will need carry on their efforts throughout the full 90 if they are to get a result against the Dutch here.
Both sides opening games finished with under 2.5 goals and six of the ten matches so far in the World Cup had the same result. Only one of Ecuador’s last 13 matches has finished with over 2.5 goals and whilst the same can’t be said for Netherlands with only four of their last eight yielding the same result. Enner Valencia is doubtful for this one and this will definitely benefit us as he seems to the key attacking man in the Ecuador side.
UNDER 2.5 GOALS
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