WORLD CUP PREVIEW – MONDAY

SWEDEN vs SOUTH KOREA
Group F – 1pm BST – Novgorod

RECENT FORM

Sweden – With no win in their last 4 and no goals in their last 3, Zlatan may have a point to feel aggrieved at not featuring in the squad. With Germany losing to Mexico, this is a must win if Sweden are to progress.

South Korea – The Koreans are in similar form to Sweden. They have only won 1 in 6 with recent defeats to Senegal and Bosnia a concern.

LIKELY LINE UPS

Sweden – (4-4-2) Olsen; Lustig, Lindelof, Granqvist, Augustinsson; Claesson, Ekdal, Larsson, Forsberg; Toivonen, Berg

South Korea – (4-4-2) Seung-Gyu; Hyun-Soo, Kyung-Won, Young-Gwon, Joo-Ho; Sung-Yeung, Ja-Cheol, Chul, Jae-Sung; Hee-Chan, Son

PREDICTIONS

A tough game to predict as neither team look particularly good going in to the tournament. Both will be desperate for a win after Mexico shocking Germany. I have a feeling South Korea will surprise a few people here and grab an unexpected win. Sweden 1-2 South Korea

TIPS

South Korea 2-1 – 18/1

Son first goalscorer – 13/2

Forsberg and Son 2+ shots on target each – 8/1

BELGIUM vs PANAMA
Group G – 4pm BST – Sochi

RECENT FORM

Belgium – Belgium go in to the World Cup 19 games unbeaten. In recent friendlies they have hammered Costa Rica, Egypt and Saudi Arabia (4-1, 3-0 and 4-0 respectively) and gained a credible draw with Portugal.

Panama – Warm up games for Panama haven’t been quite as good as they were for Belgium to say the least. However, since losing 6-0 to Switzerland back in March, they have tightened up the defence. Results since then have produced a 1-0 win over Trinidad & Tobago, a 0-0 draw with Northern Ireland and a 1-0 loss to Norway.

LIKELY LINE UPS

Belgium – (3-5-2) Courtois; Vertonghen, Boyata, Alderweireld; Witsel, De Bruyne, Carrasco, Meunier, Mertens; Hazard, Lukaku

Panama – (4-5-1) Penedo; Torres, Escobar, Davis, Murillo; Gomez, Godoy, Cooper, Barcenas, Rodriguez; Perez

PREDICTIONS

I can’t see anything other than a comfortable Belgium victory. Panama’s only hope is that they can keep the score down to 0-0 at half time and Belgium begin to get desperate. If the Belgians can get an early goal, it could be a long 90 minutes for Panama. Belgium 4-0 Panama

TIPS

Belgium 4-0 – 9/1

Lukaku to score a brace – 11/4

Belgium to win to nil – 4/7

TUNISIA vs ENGLAND

Group G – 7pm BST – Volgograd

RECENT FORM

Tunisia – England fans may not be pleased to know that Tunisia have been no pushovers in recent friendlies against top opposition. Spain only beat them 1-0 with a late winner and Portugal were held to a 2-2 draw. Before the defeat to Spain, Tunisia were unbeaten in 9 games.

England – In the 2 warm up games, England looked very impressive. Their first half performance against Nigeria in a 2-1 win was hugely encouraging as was the way they brushed past Costa Rica 2-0. England are unbeaten in 10.

LIKELY LINE UPS

Tunisia – (4-2-3-1) Mathlouthi; Nagguez, Meriah, Youssef, Maaloul; Skhiri, Sassi; Khazri, Khaoui, Sliti; Youssef

England – (5-3-2) Pickford; Trippier, Walker, Stones, Maguire, Young; Dier, Lingard, Alli; Kane, Sterling

PREDICTION

Tunisia may be a tricky opener for England. Southgate’s men will be expected to win and win well but Tunisia are no pushovers. If England can continue the performances they produced in recent friendlies they should be able to get the job done. Tunisia 0-2 England

TIPS

England 2-0 – 11/2

Kane to score and England to win – 1/1

Kane to score, England win, over 2.5 goals and Sassi carded – 12/1

– Robert Shiers

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