The resilience and defiance shown by this young English side after conceding a ninety-third-minute equalizer against Colombia was an element that has been redundant in the past. The mental toughness to overcome the physical extremities that occurred during regular time was evident in extra-time, with both sides showing signs of the physical toll the conditions were causing. It was a grueling thirty minutes of additional time for both sets of players and with very little offensive activity, the dreaded penalty shoot-out beckoned.
After five successful penalties we witnessed Jordan Henderson’s penalty saved by David Ospina and with Colombia leading 3-2, it seemed the old narrative attached with the English national side was about to witnessed again by another generation. Yet, celebratory cheers rang out around the country as Mateus Uribe drove his penalty into the crossbar.
Kieran Trippier stepped forward wrestling the responsibility of possessing the most important penalty of the evening, which if converted would draw England level and send the game into a state of sudden death.
Trippier obliged with beautiful brutality in the process handing the baton of pressure back to the Colombian players. It was a rollercoaster of emotion as the mental warfare between the two sides were clearly having an effect.
With Colombia’s remaining penalty, Jordan Pickford produced a monumental hand to deny Carlos Bacca. Showcasing the strength and agility that we all observed seconds prior to Colombia’s equaliser, as he denied Mateus Uribe’s long range effort with potentially the save of the tournament.
Step forward Eric Dier, the twenty-four-year-old shackled with the hopes and aspirations of an entire nation. Dier had the responsibility of securing England’s first ever penalty shootout victory on the world stage, in the process putting to rest years of hurt. While sending a positive message for the next generation, eradicating the narrative that has burdened the country for generations.
It was a deserving win for Southgate’s side as they dominated the xG count, 2.35 to 0.62 (including extra-time). Colombia offered nothing of significance in the opening forty-five minutes, mustering an xG total of just 0.10. It was a tactical affair with neither side willing to divert from their game plan, which lead to some irrational behaviour from Wilmar Barrios.
The twenty-four-year-old was given a yellow card after forcing his head into Jordan Henderson’s chest and continuing the action towards Henderson’s jaw, it was a moment that topped a long list of irrational decisions from the Colombian players and coaching staff.
The Swede’s were involved in a slow intensity game against Switzerland, with neither side showing any fluidity through their transitions. It was a game lacking in any sort of quality and with neither side, willing/able to go through the gears it was a game that will be lost in the World Cup archives.
Yet the Swede’s won’t mind as they deservedly sit in the quarterfinals of a World Cup, it was a disappointing performance in comparison with the quality and attacking prowess they possessed against Mexico.
Although the conditions and circumstances were completely different, the hunger for Janne Andersson’s side to reproduce that quality is profound.
It was a deserved victory for the Swedish as they edged the Swiss out in the xG count 1.37 to 0.79. The Swiss xG count was constructed of an accumulation of chances rather than anything of significance, with their best chance falling to Josip Drmic in the eighty-sixth minute.
Although Emil Forsberg’s deflected shot was fortunate in giving Sweden the lead, the significance in the chances they created prior to their goal should have seen Janne Andersson and the Swedish fans celebrating sooner.
Albin Ekdal produced the largest ‘oh no’ moment of the game, when he managed to totally misjudge the flight of the ball in the forty-first minute. Isolated just yards from goal with a clear sight of the ball, the twenty-eight-year-old ended up slumped to the turf with his feet in a tangle. It was a huge opportunity for the Swede’s, an opportunity that should have made Janne Andersson’s halftime talk a little easier.
Observing the market’s current perception of England within the ‘Match Odds’ market appears to indicate an implied probability of 52.08%, which equates to odds of 1.92.
In 136 of the previous 265 games (51.32%) in which the market has possessed a perception on a team with an implied probability of between 50.00% and 59.88%, resulted in three or more goals occurring during regular time.
Therefore offering a rather significant discrepancy, in comparison with the current price on offer in the ‘Over/Under’ market.
The market has set the ‘Over/Under’ line at +2.0/-2.0 with the weight of the money currently situated on -2.0 line and with 53.19% of the market share it is evident what the public’s opinion on this game will be. Hence with the data on hand, I believe this is a beneficial opportunity in which to fade the public perception.
Asian Total Goals Betting Recommendation: Over 2.500 Goals at 2.760
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