Australia v Peru Both teams to Score – 8/11
The Aussies have plenty to play for here. A win gives them a chance at qualification for the last 16 for just the second time their World Cup history. Their performances so far have earned them one point, though it could’ve been more, the unfortunate own goal in their opening versus France making their task tougher.
A win here would give them four points. Should the French dismiss Denmark in the other Group C game, both sides would be on four points, with FIFA’s list of tie-breakers deciding who goes through.
Peru do not have as much at stake. They’ve won a lot of fans for their spirited displays and attacking football – not that they need more, their supporters travelling in huge numbers to cheer them on in Russia – but haven’t picked up a result yet, and haven’t even managed a goal despite their industry.
For a team that finished with the third most goals in South American qualifying and who make so many half-chances, that is a huge disappointment. They will surely not want to leave Russia without giving their huge support something to celebrate.
Both of Australia’s goals have come from penalties. It’s unlikely they can rely on another Mile Jedinak conversion from the spot in this game, but with so much riding on it, they’ll have to be more attacking, especially if Peru can get ahead.
Peru’s pride should not be underestimated. We like this to be a competitive game, and both teams to score 8/11 looks reasonable.
Denmark v France: Christian Eriksen +1 shots on target – 13/8
The Danes are well placed to progress thanks to their win over Peru and Christian Eriksen’s exquisite strike against Australia. That goal was his eleventh good in his last eleven international games. He is, beyond doubt, their most important player, and anything good they do in this game will surely involve him.
They play the top-seeds here and may fancy their chance to win against a French side that showed its potential against an open Peruvian team for 45 minutes, but their second half performance was less convincing. That should give the Scandinavian side reason to believe they could steal the top spot here to avoid Group D’s winners, most likely Croatia.
That also means Didier Deschamps should field his strongest team here even though France are already through. The question remains as to whether he knows it or not. As it stands, Olivier Giroud has shown his worth to the manager in a substitute appearance and start in their opening games.
He will likely start again as the focal point of the French attack. He could be added to Eriksen to get a shot on target at 13/8, but his importance to the side is more in a playmaking role than as a striker, and he hasn’t had a shot on target in either game so far, so we’ll prefer a safer play on Eriksen to get +1 shots on target in the game at 4/6.
Nigeria v Argentina Anytime Goalscorer: Ahmed Musa – 10/3
We’ll abandon the pursuit of a Messi goal at these championships (though 8/11 anytime is tempting, and our Money Back Special makes it more interesting) and instead look for Nigeria’s speedy Leicester squad player Ahmed Musa to continue his Icelandic hot-streak against a frost-bitten Argentine defence.
Croatia’s demolition of the 1986 champions came through Willy Cabellero’s cock up and Messi’s shrinkage on the big stage as his teammates impotently toiled to complete simple passes.
— Paddy Power (@paddypower) June 21, 2018
Talk around the South American squad is of mutiny against the Coach Jorge Sampaoli and his range of much-too-small t-shirts. The compass in this situation can go in two directions. Maybe the Argentines are galvanised into a respectable side without their manager and his mindboggling team selections, in which case they could give the Super Eagles a game and have a chance of scraping second spot in the group.
Or maybe the ‘end of a mismatched five-a-side’ vibe persists from the closing twenty minutes of their Croatian calamity, in which case Musa’s speed can muster another strike against a leaden-footed Albiceleste rear guard with questionable motivation. The speedster is 10/3 anytime, which really juices up the price on a treble.
*All odds correct at time of posting