The Confederations Cup has filled the void caused by a lack of footballing action this summer with some really exciting games and plenty of goals. The next installment sees the eight contestants face off in the second round of group stage matches, and there are some cracking contests in the offing. Here we preview all four:
Russia v Portugal
Russia started their campaign with a comfortable victory over a poor New Zealand side that looked well out of its depth. But they face a far sterner test here against European champions Portugal and their in-demand forward Cristiano Ronaldo. The Real Madrid forward’s future has been subject to intense speculation and some of the world’s leading clubs are said to be eyeing up a bid for him, and he will probably welcome the distraction of playing in this game. He set up the opener in Portugal’s 2-2 draw with Mexico in their opening group match and will be annoyed not to get on the score sheet himself. He looks a good option to get off the mark in this game and is 11/10 with 10Bet to score at any time. It should be a close game and Russia will defend doggedly, but Portugal’s superior quality should shine through eventually and the even money on offer at William Hill and Ladbrokes for a Portugal looks a good bet.
Mexico v New Zealand
Mexico are typically very strong in the group stages of major tournaments and emerged with a very creditable draw against Portugal. They should beat New Zealand with ease. The Kiwis shot themselves in the foot against Russia by letting in an own-goal after half an hour and finally succumbed to a second half strike from Fyodor Smolov. The scoreline could have been greater as New Zealand rarely threatened and looked disorganised defensively, and Mexico will punish those deficiencies. They are dangerous going forwards and have an excellent striker in Javier Hernandez, who has terrorised defences in the Premiership, La Liga and the Bundesliga. Mexico -2 Asian handicap at 7/9 with 188Bet looks a good option. A small stake on Mexico to win 3-0 at 9/1 with Bet365 also looks interesting.
Cameroon v Australia
Cameroon were poor in losing 2-0 to Chile as they looked blunt in attack. They will have to raise their game to take three points against from an Australia team that battled admirably against Germany as they lost 3-2. But Cameroon are the better side and there is no great shame in losing to nil to Chile as they are a fantastic side, frequently keeping clean sheets thanks to their relentless pressing and high-energy approach. Cameroon now have a chance to show the sort of dorm they displayed in winning the African Cup of Nations and should get the better of Australia in what should prove a tight game. At 13/10 with 10Bet and various others, the odds on a Cameroon victory look very attractive.
Germany v Chile
Two of the biggest teams in this tournament meet on June 22 as world champions Germany face South American champions Chile. The Chileans have sent a full side out to Russia for this tournament, but Germany have rested most of their key players.
Despite that, Germany still have a strong side as the nation is blessed with amazing strength in depth, but they will need to drastically improve on their performance against Australia if they are to win here. Chile could be hampered by the absence of star player Alexis Sanchez. The Arsenal forward came off the bench to set up both goals in their 2-0 win over Cameroon, but then posted a picture of his very swollen ankle on social media, and that could force him to miss this game. It might be worth waiting to see if he starts before placing a bet on this game, as he is so vital for Chile and really sets the tempo for their all-action game. It is difficult to call it either way, so a special bet market like both teams to score and over 2.5 goals might be a better option, given the way Germany defended against Australia. Coral has 17/20 on this.