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By Marathonbet Blog
21st June 2018 at 9:26am

Ian Abrahams in Russia – Ian’s World Cup Predictions – Week 2

As week two of the World Cup begins, broadcaster Ian Abrahams is in Russia and has given us his verdict on a defining set of games as sides look to book their place in the Round of 16.

 

Ian’s Week Two Predictions…

Denmark v Australia
Australia acquitted themselves well against France. Denmark weren’t brilliant but showed their experience in edging out Peru 1-0 and I can see them growing into the competition.

Ian’s score: 2-0
Actual score: 1-1

 

France v Peru
Everyone loves the Peruvians over here, they have brought fans in numbers and have been one of the major highlights of this World Cup. How they didn’t score against Denmark is beyond me, not helped by one of the worst penalty misses I’ve ever seen.

I was unimpressed with the French against the Aussies. They looked workmanlike before eventually grinding out the win they needed. It could be tight, but they should get a win here.

Ian’s score: 2-0
Actual score: 1-0

 

Argentina v Croatia
Argentina really need a win as they are little bit behind the eight ball now after their Iceland draw. I tipped them pre-tournament but they didn’t impress at all in that game.

I was expecting Lionel Messi to come to the party, but he misfired and would have been hauled off if he was any other player. Croatia look a very solid outfit so it could be more frustration for the Argentinians.

Ian’s score: 1-1
Actual score: 0-3

 

Brazil v Costa Rica
Brazil were another side who disappointed in their opener. It will be interesting to see if Neymar limping out of training will come to anything.

I can’t see anything but a Brazil win here either way, as Costa Rica have looked very average the last few times I’ve seen them.

Ian’s score: 2-0
Actual score: 2-0

 

Nigeria v Iceland
Iceland are a very canny side. Every players know exactly what they are doing for the team. The Argentina game showed them doing what they do best. The fairy-tale could continue here.

Ian’s score: 0-1 
Actual score: 2-0

 

Serbia v Switzerland
It’s been a great tournament in terms of goals, but the law of averages says there will be a stalemate sooner or later. We haven’t had one as things stand but this for me looks the most likely candidate.

Serbia certainly have goals in them but Switzerland can also keep things tight. They could cancel each other out.

Ian’s score: 0-0
Actual score: 1-2

 

Belgium v Tunisia
I’m expecting this to follow a similar pattern to Belgium’s first game. Roberto Martinez’s side may struggle to get the opening goal but I expect them to eventually power past a Tunisia side lacking in ambition.

Ian’s verdict: 2-0
Actual score: 5-2

 

South Korea v Mexico
Mexico looked very good against Germany and could go far in this competition. I can’t see South Korea causing them many problems in this one.

Ian’s verdict: 0-2
Actual score: 1-2

 

Sweden v Germany
I don’t think Sweden have enough about them to beat Germany, and the reigning champions will surely be shocked into life after losing their first group game.

I expect them to up their game quite a bit here. It’s time for Ozil in particular to grab a game by the scruff of the neck.

Ian’s verdict: 1-2
Actual score: 1-2

 

England v Panama
England started strongly against Tunisia, and if they can make a similarly energetic start here they will stroll this one.

Ian’s verdict: 3-0
Actual score: 6-1

 

Japan v Senegal
An interesting match-up between two teams who surprised in the first group game with a win. Both might settle for a point to keep up their decent starts to the competition.

Ian’s verdict: 1-1
Actual score: 2-2

 

Poland v Colombia
This is going to be one of the games of the second round as both teams really need a win. We’re now likely to lose at least one team many thought would be a surprise package in this tournament.

Who was I least impressed with from the first set of games? Poland.

Given Colombia had 10-men for much of their game, and James Rodriguez wasn’t fully fit, Colombia look like they have more room to improve.

Ian’s verdict: 1-2
Actual score: 0-3

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Ian on…

England’s opening game
It was the right result in the end – England played well and deserved their win, particularly with Harry Kane being manhandled every time a corner came in. In any World Cup, starting with a win is such a confidence boost so onwards and upwards.

Not much went wrong the other night, but I have my doubts with Raheem Sterling in an England shirt. His club form with Man City – 23 goals last year – is sensational, but I want to see him start producing that kind of form more regularly at international level, where every missed opportunity can be decisive.

Both him and Lingard were wasteful against Tunisia, and ideally I’d like to see Gareth Southgate play an out-and-out goalscorer in the next few games, whether that’s Rashford or Vardy alongside Kane.

The England manager could also have made some of his changes earlier when the Tunisia game looked as if it was drifting, but it’s encouraging that he made the right calls when it came to crunch time. Both Loftus-Cheek and Rashford performed well, and I hope he can find a role for Loftus-Cheek going forward.

Panama will be a chance to unleash some of our attacking talent but we may need to be patient. Belgium had to play a waiting game, but hopefully we can get an early goal to open the game up.

If England qualify from their group, I would worry about coming up against Senegal.

Aliou Cissé’s side look well organised, pacey and physical, and have a genuine matchwinner in Sadio Mané. You also can’t overlook their defensive discipline – keeping Robert Lewandowski quiet is no easy feat.

 

VAR…
I don’t like it and I’ve never been a fan from the beginning. Re-refereeing games takes something away from the occasion. The inconsistency in how it is being applied is also a problem – just look at Kane’s issues with the Tunisian defence.

When you are relying on human interpretation, mistakes will still be made, and it’s terrible for fans in the stadium. I was at Poland v Senegal where you just couldn’t tell if decisions were being referred back to VAR and the lack of communication between fans and the officials is another huge bugbear of mine.

Sadly, it looks as if it is going to be used everywhere sooner rather than later.

 

The big guns…
This tournament isn’t going to be the cakewalk for the likes of Brazil or Germany many have predicted.

This has been one of the most competitive starts to any World Cup I can remember. I expect a few of the big teams to kick on, but others could be very vulnerable. Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised as smaller teams are getting better and better at setting up against the traditional giants.

Could this be the year the World Cup goes to a team we hadn’t previously considered?

 

Do you agree with Ian’s predictions?

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