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World Cup Bitcoin Betting Guide Round of 16 Part II

Monday's second round matches could bring us one of the biggest shocks of the tournament. Brazil are the favourites to progress to the World Cup semi-final by beating both Mexico and Belgium, but there game against American opposition is by no means a foregone conclusion. In our world cup bitcoin betting guide, we take a deeper look into the tactics that we'll likely see.

Germany's 1-0 defeat to a ruthless Mexico side shows just what could happen to Brazil if they don't show up, or, more likely, if the pressure gets to them. The Brazilians have looked nervous throughout the group stage: is this the moment they collapse? Find out in the second part of our Round of 16 preview.

Brazil v Mexico July 2nd 14:00

Most pundits were shaking their heads at Brazil’s inability to play with dynamism or traditional Brazilian flair in their three group games at the 2018 World Cup, but to do so is to misunderstand how tournament football works. Most World Cup winners start slowly, grind their way through the group unscathed, and gradually build momentum. Brazil are doing just fine.

That’s not to say they will definitely win their last-16 game against Mexico. The Central American side have been a Jekyll and Hyde team so far in Russia, but that is partly because their preferred method – to sit deep and hit opponents on the counter – works most effectively against big nations like Germany. This match will go right to the wire.

Brazil will no doubt be allowed to dominate possession as Mexico look to draw their opponents forward.

Tactics & line-up:

The 1-0 win over Germany is a perfect example of how Juan Carlos Osorio will approach this game, and so once again Mexico will leave three players up front from Brazil set-pieces, showing great bravery in surging forward. Javier Hernandez, Hirving Lozano, and Carlos Vela will be crucial players in this one.

Tite’s side could do with a little more swagger, although their 4-3-3 formation is helping get the best out of Neymar – indirectly, that is. All the focus on the Paris Saint-Germain star has allowed Philippe Coutinho to go under the radar, both psychologically (he is better when not under pressure to lead a team) and tactically; he can burst into pockets of space left open by opposition players drawn towards Neymar.

Things to look out for:

The most important decision to be made on Monday is whether to start Paulinho, who underwhelmed against Serbia, or Fernandinho, the Manchester City defensive midfielder that could help stamp out Mexico’s counter-attacks. Tite is unlikely to go for the latter, which hands Mexico an advantage - as does Marcelo’s injury update.

The Real Madrid left-back is likely to be passed fit to play, which means there will be space in behind on this flank for one of those ruthless Mexican counter-attacks. Opinion is split in Brazil over the efficacy of right-winger Willian, who works hard tracking back but hasn’t quite found his range in a creative sense. His personal battle on that flank with Jesus Gallardo – excellent against Germany but poor against Sweden – should be a fascinating one.

Back Brazil to win (at 90 mins) at 1.5*

Belgium v Japan June 2nd 18:00

Belgium are one of just three nations to have won all of their group games, which should have filled the camp with confidence as the knockout rounds get underway. However, like England, they haven't really been tested yet and remain an unknown entity. Easy wins against Panama and Tunisia were followed up with a nothing game against England in which two B-teams played out the most pointless match in World Cup history.

Japan have overachieved by getting out of Group G, with few expecting them to get even a single point from that tough group.

Their cautious 1-0 defeat to Poland in the final group game showed they are one of the weakest nations left in the competition, although there is clearly a lot of fight in this group of players. Anything but an easy win for Belgium will come as a huge shock.

Tactics & line-up:

Roberto Martinez's side entered the tournament as dark horses but with one major caveat: that his defence is too leaky to go all the way. Fortunately for the Belgians, their poor defending is unlikely to be tested on Monday, with Japan set to play in a cagey, defensive 4-4-2 formation that tries desperately to limit the influence of Kevin de Bruyne and Eden Hazard.

These two, playing as inside forwards in Belgium's 3-4-2-1, are very difficult to track and will look to dominate the space in central attacking midfield. Japan's formation means they might struggle to prevent both players from running riot.

Things to look out for:

Shinji Kagawa has been very disappointing so far, but the Borussia Dortmund midfielder could fancy his chances on the counter-attack against Belgium's flaky midfield. Alex Witsel tends to patrol in front of the back three alone, which should make for an interesting individual battle between those two. However, Martinez won't be too worried by anything Japan have shown in the competition so far.

Romelu Lukaku has already scored three goals in two World Cup games, showing once again that he is a clinical finisher against lower-ranking teams; the Manchester United forward will expect to get on the score sheet here, particularly having been rested for the England game.

Back Lukaku anytime goalscorer at 1.81*

Sweden v Switzerland June 3rd, 14:00

On paper this is surely the least interesting match of the round of 16.

Sweden qualified ahead of Germany in Group F and were unfortunate not to win at least a point against the holders, while Switzerland showed their grit and determination by coming from a goal down to beat Serbia 2-1. The Swiss are ranked sixth in the world but will likely stutter against such a physical Sweden side. It'll be close.

Tactics & line-up:

Switzerland's 4-2-3-1 formation relies upon power, with Granit Xhaka and Valon Behrami providing clout at the base of midfield. They attack predominantly down the flanks via Xherdan Shaqiri and Steven Zuber, a Hoffenheim left winger who has been their standout player so far. Although Switzerland's simplified tactical approach and relative strength in midfield has served them well so far, they are much better at grinding out results against more dominant nations (such as in the 1-1 draw with Brazil) than when expected to play on the front foot.

This could prove problematic when the face Sweden on Tuesday.

The Swedes have the most direct, route-one tactical strategy in the competition.

They punt long balls up to the two tall strikers Marcus Berg and Ola Toivonen in the hope of scoring set-piece goals. We can expect a highly physical battle in Saint Petersburg in which quality, and goals, will be hard to come by.

Things to look out for:

Switzerland have struggled to create chances so far in Russia and their first-choice striker, Haris Seferovic, is yet to find the net. This problem is likely to continue against a sturdy Sweden defence (Andreas Granqvist has particularly impressed) unless they can score from outside the box. Shaqiri's long-range threat is worth looking out for.

Sweden like to pepper the box with corners and freekicks, and so Switzerland must ensure they keep fouling to a minimum. Mexico were hit on the counter far too often, leading to numerous corners, chances, and goals in their 3-0 defeat to the Swedes.

Back the draw at 90 minutes at 2.91*

England v Colombia June 3rd 18:00

England are yet to really impress at the 2018 World Cup despite the optimism in the camp. They were confident against Tunisia, although the African nation's subsequent performances suggest this wasn't much of an achievement, while absolutely nothing can be learned from the Panama or Belgium games. There is simply no way of knowing whether England are capable of going all the way or not.

Colombia have been hit and miss so far, impressing in short burst but clearly toiling in all three of their group matches against Poland, Japan, and Senegal. Then again, they played 84 minutes with ten men in the defeat to Japan and beat the other two with clean sheets. England v Colombia is a mystery.

Tactics & line-up:

The England team is mostly known, although Southgate has a difficult choice to make between Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Dele Alli, the latter having failed to make an impact so far. Raheem Sterling has also made a slow start, although Marcus Rashford didn't take his chance against Belgium. England will play in the same 3-5-2 shape as usual, dominating possession and looking to Harry Kane – or set-pieces – for goals.

Keep an eye on the battle between Kieran Trippier and left-back Johan Mojica.

Colombia's 4-2-3-1 is settled in attack, but their two-man midfield is a bit of a mess. Manager Jose Pekerman has deployed a different partnership in every match, using five players out of a possible maximum of six. England's use of two false-eights could cause havoc in this area, particularly if Jesse Lingard is as incisive as he was against Tunisia and Panama.

Things to look out for:

England might struggle to prevent counter-attacks, largely because Jordan Henderson is alone at the base of midfield and is not particularly good at screening a defence. This is particularly worrying because Juan Quintero has been superb so far from central attacking midfield, creating numerous chances for the wider attackers James Rodriguez and Juan Cuadrado. Southgate might need to play Eric Dier alongside Henderson to cope with this threat.

At the other end, Davinson Sanchez knows all about his Tottenham Hotspur team-mate Harry Kane, while significant height in the Colombian ranks may limit England's effectiveness at set-pieces.

Trippier has completed more crosses (4.5 per match) than any other player at the World Cup, while Mojica struggled to contain Sadio Mane in the 1-0 defeat of Senegal.

Back Harry Kane anytime goalscorer at 2.61*

*Odds subject to change, all match times in UTC.

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