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The three World Cup games to watch this weekend

22 June 2018
With favourites Argentina and Germany already in danger of being sent home after the group phase, the FIFA World Cup in Russia has truly commenced. In this blog we offer an analytical and statistical look on three games that will be played this weekend.

Match predictions according to the Remiqz model:

Group E: Serbia – Switzerland

Group E features favourites Brazil, but it is Serbia that is leading this group after beating a very rigid Costa Rica team from a free kick by Aleksandr Kolarov. Serbia can field a very technical squad and is also experienced at the back, with 34-year-old Branislav Ivanović going up and down the flank like it is still 2008!

Switzerland drew against Brazil and did so in the fashion of this World Cup: by closing the lines in their own half and scoring from a set piece. It is still to be seen whether this was the real Switzerland, or that they played extra defensive because they where facing Brazil. Against Serbia, it can be expected that they want the ball more and play a lot more attacking.

If Serbia wins this game they progress to the knockout-phase and this can be considered a huge accomplishment because it would be the first time. Remiqz’ model gives them a 36% chance.

Group F: Germany – Sweden

Germany is in trouble. In their opening game against Mexico the Germans were very prone to counter-attacking. Their midfield of Kroos, Khedira and Ozil wasn’t able to create a lot of big chances and failed to press well when the ball was lost. The German midfield looked like a playground at times for the Mexican midfielders and attackers who launched counter attack after counter attack.

Even if the Germans win against Sweden, who looked very poor against South Korea despite winning, there will be concerns about. It remains to be seen how they fare against stronger opposition.

Our model only gives the Swedes a 15% chance of winning against Germany.

Group H: Japan – Senegal

Group H is considered to be the true World Cup group of this edition, because it features a wide variety of countries from four different continents. The Asian and African delegations will clash on Sunday afternoon both having won their opening game. This means that a ticket to the next round is available for the team that wins.

Japan played against Colombia, who received a red card after only three minutes. Playing against ten men for 87 minutes is always a good way to look better than you are. Even though they had a numerical advantage for most of the match, the Japanese only managed a narrow win after a corner kick goal from Yuya Osako.

Senegal beat a lacklustre Poland. They are a well-drilled team who set up in a very narrow 4-4-2 while counter-attacking with Sadio Mané and Ismaïla Sarr. This seems to be a match in which Japan will have more of the ball and Senegal will sit back to break on the counter. If the match is still level after 75 or 80 minutes, don’t be surprised to see some idle passes at the back; both teams will be very happy to go into their last games with four points from two games.

Our model gives Senegal the best chances of winning: 38%

(Images by Pro Shots)