Ian Abrahams’ World Cup Diary


Ian Abrahams’ World Cup Diary

Broadcaster Ian Abrahams in in Russia for the duration of World Cup 2018, and has given Marathonbet his thoughts on England’s chances after their 6-1 win over Panama, as well as some predictions as the group stages draw to a close…

Ian on…

Harry Kane…
If anyone wasn’t aware of just how good Harry Kane, they certainly will do now.

He’s a world superstar now – walking the streets of Moscow he really is the talk of the tournament when you speak to fans of other countries.

I said before the tournament he could bag himself plenty of goals against Tunisia and Panama and he now looks really good for the Golden Boot.

His goals alone can help fire England to the Quarter Finals.

England v Belgium…
It looks as if Martinez is resting players – it could be anything from six to the entire team. That can only be a good thing for England.

Southgate is a bit damned if you do damned if you don’t in terms of the team he should pick – does he go for momentum or freshening up the pack? I’d definitely give some of the fringe players game time – they will need to have played more than just 5-10 minutes if we need to call on them later in the tournament.

England expects…
Everyone should enjoy the fact England have won these last two games, especially given recent tournaments. It’s not often that you have that feelgood factor. Obviously the one big caveat is that all the big guns are still here; we could lose a couple but it’s not a given. Let’s not get too excited just yet then – there’s still time for that!

Sometimes you can end up tripping up if you try and plot a ‘best route’ through – just look at the Iceland game in Euro 2016. Let’s just take it one game at a time as you can’t hope things will automatically fall your way.

It’s time to stop worrying about who we play against – let them worry about stopping Harry Kane.

England’s rivals…
I was very impressed with Belgium’s attacking play against Tunisia. Hazard was terrific, Lukaku looked dangerous and is probably Kane’s main rival.

Germany did what we’ve come to expect – they find a way time and time again. The Swedes were very naïve in their approach and ultimately architects of their own downfall.

Argentina have got a tall order to qualify now. Messi owes them so they still have a chance, but it’ll be extremely tough.

Portugal are the archetypal one-man team – Ronaldo is scoring freely but not playing particularly well so I still think they need to be very careful.

Even Spain have looked lacklustre so far, so at the halfway stage, it’s safe to say this is still shaping up to be the most competitive World Cup we’ve ever seen.

The refreshing lack of 0-0s…
It’s amazing to get over halfway through without a 0-0 draw. That could change as teams become less gung-ho once we get to the knockout stages.

Fingers crossed the standard remains high.



Ian Abrahams in Russia

Ian’s Quickfire Predictions

Australia v Peru
Both these teams have played well and been unlucky in a tough group. Sadly we’ll be waving both goodbye.
Ian’s score: 1-1
Actual score: 0-2

Denmark v France
France haven’t played that well but have glided through – they surely must improve at some stage. Denmark have been steady eddies as per normal.
Ian’s score: 1-1
Actual score: 0-0

Nigeria v Argentina
Nigeria looked really good against Iceland. They will be playing without any fear and there’s trouble in the Argentine camp if you believe the rumours – especially when Maradona is offering to take charge! I’m going for a draw – ending Argentine interest.
Ian’s score: 1-1
Actual score: 1-2

Croatia v Iceland
Much depends on Croatia’s team – I would certainly rest Modric. Even if they do, they should have enough to see off Iceland.
Ian’s score: 2-0
Actual score: 2-1

Mexico v Sweden
Mexico have done so well but still have a little work to do. Sweden need to win the game, but I think the Mexicans should get the point they need.
Ian’s score: 1-1
Actual score: 0-3

South Korea v Germany
A comfortable win for Germany. I love Heung-Min Son but he told me himself last year that his side would struggle to make an impact this time around. It looks like he’s been proved right.
Ian’s score: 0-2
Actual score: 2-0

Switzerland v Costa Rica
Switzerland looked fairly ordinary until some blinding second half goals against Serbia, but Costa Rica are very beatable.
Ian’s score: 1-0
Actual score: 2-2

Serbia v Brazil
I can’t see Brazil faltering at this stage. Yes, it was a late, late show but they looked comfortable against Costa Rica and I fancy them to get going now. They need to justify their reputation and I can see things clicking into place for them against a Serbia side that can be difficult to break down.
Ian’s score: 0-2
Actual score: 0-2

Senegal v Colombia
A tight group, especially after Colombia took the Poles apart. Senegal are a physical side, but I can see Colombia sneaking the victory.
Ian’s score: 1-2
Actual score: 0-1

Japan v Poland
Poland only have pride to play for, but Japan need a point. With the pressure off for Poland, this could be entertaining.
Ian’s score: 2-2
Actual score: 0-1

England v Belgium
It all depends on the team sheets, but Belgium look like they will field a weakened team. I can see it being a draw.
Ian’s score: 1-1
Actual score: 0-1

Panama v Tunisia
The game everyone wants to see this week! Tunisia have injury troubles but should be able to overpower Panama.

I was so disappointed with the latter. Even without my England hat on, I like to see an underdog give it a go but Panama have added nothing to this tournament – a team that just want to kick you.
Ian’s score: 1-3
Actual score: 1-2


Do you agree with Ian’s predictions?

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