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Top scorers in Group D: Brazil is the sole favorite to take the group, but it gets remarkably more interesting after that. The consensus would put Switzerland second, but in Accuscore simulations its Serbia more likely to qualify. Top scorers in Group E: Mexico is also a likely qualifier, but they will receive a lot of pressure from the minnows Korea and Sweden.
Without Zlatan, Sweden is a question mark, but they play with big hearts and are hard to break down. The Koreans are easy to underestimate, but they play with such pace and tireless mentality, they are also tough to crack. Top scorers in Group F: Interesting top duo and not so interesting bottom pair.
They are likely to beat England to group title. Also, Harry Kane can win games on his own. Tunisia and Panama were handed a tough draw and they are merely to provide some sparring for the top teams — their overall quality is close to the worst in the tournament, despite a couple of top-notch individuals. If AccuScore group stage simulations are in fact gospel, here are the pairs for the Round of As we all know penalties in football can be tricky, but in general the better team wins. Argentina and Spain have the easiest task ousting Denmark and Russia respectively, while Germany and Colombia have tough time against Serbia and England.
Moving forward in the knockout stage, we finally get some surprising results. One of the biggest favorites, France will take on Uruguay and the South Americans prevail with around 60 percent probability. Other pairs finish up with similar numbers, with Brazil beating Belgium, Germany sending Colombia home and Argentina besting Spain.
When only the top four remain, the games get tougher and tougher. In the all South American final, it is Argentina against Brazil.
One of the most interesting games inside the games is the winner of the Golden Boot, given to the best goal scorer of the tournament. Even if the finalists' teams play eight games, rarely has a a player scored more than five or six goals. Neymar is back with a bang and has looked amazing. Having a sluggish year at Bayern Munchen has reportedly made him uneasy at the club, so what better stage to show off for the future employers?
Practically the only player on the team that is more likely to score than not. Both teams love the ball and like to play offense, so this should be an entertaining, even match with each team scoring a couple of goals. Belgium, surprisingly has more in-form weapons on offense; Brazil striker Gabriel Jesus has yet to score in the tournament. Not having the suspended Casemiro in the bottom of the midfield will be a blow, however. Accuscore simulations show a 52 percent probability of Belgium surprising Brazil.
Sweden has pushed through to the top eight despite being counted out various times before and during the tournament. The squad's tactics have been top-notch and it is playing to its strengths.
As long as their game plan holds and they're able to keep their net untouched, anything is possible. That is exactly what happened in their narrow victory over Switzerland. The young Three Lions did what was deemed impossible; win a penalty shootout in the World Cup. Manager Gareth Southgate has a lot to think about before this match: England will have its work cut out for it to break through and not leave its back exposed to the counterattacks Sweden is likely to try to create. This is a tough matchup for England, but it should have the offensive prowess to do what Switzerland couldn't, which is to create a goal or two.
That, in turn, would force Sweden out of its comfort zone and into the attack. Accuscore simulations indicate, with 77 percent probability, that Sweden's run will end and England will qualify. The Russians held their ground while being pounded by Spain for minutes the Spaniards had the ball for 75 percent of the match and then got the prize after two saved penalties by Igor Akinfeev.
Making the top eight is an unbelievable achievement — they were half expected to fall in the group stage. Their next opponent is likely to exploit their slow defense and all the space in the midfield much more effectively than Spain did. Croatia recovered quickly from a nightmare start to its match vs.