Australia vs Peru (26 June, 2018 3:00pm)
Australia still have a fighting chance of progressing but it’s not only in their hands, they must win here and hope France does God’s plan in the other fixture that would kick off at the same time. Australia have a squad that fights for everything, undone by a fortuitous Paul Pogba goal in their group opener and laboured to a point against Denmark having gone down to a Christian Eriksen strike, their task is simple, at least the one in their hands, beat Peru. Talking Peru, lots of energy, talent and desire but with weak end product, Peru will be heading home after this game, still yet to score a goal but they can fix that in this fixture, they have been absent on the big stage for quite a long time and they seem to have forgotten how to do it here, no pressure here, nothing serious, just pride and fun. This leaves it for Australia to do what they have to do and expect France to complete the job at the other end, Tim Cahill is yet to sparkle, relying on penalties from Mile Jedinak seems outdated as main goal outlet… Aussie must deliver here.
Verdict: Australia to win
Denmark vs France (25 June, 2018 3:00pm)
Denmark have a very simple task on their hands, pick a point against France and they can start preparing for life in the second round, whichever way it comes, a point is enough but some dreamers in yellow across town would be hoping France doesn’t let them breathe. In 2002, when France last met Denmark in a group game, John Dahl Tommasson led the Danes to a 2:0 victory, that result was improbable as the French team were probably the most talented of all the teams that turned up but they failed in epic fashion, Denmark would look to re-enact that mean feat on Tuesday. France are through regardless of what happens in this fixture, unlike in 2002 when they were under pressure and without Thierry Henry who was sent off against Uruguay in the second group game, they will relax and enjoy the turf but they wouldn’t want to come second and face a stronger Uruguay who are still yet to concede in this tournament. How will France line up? Whichever way they do, they won’t lose here.
Verdict: France to win
Iceland vs Croatia (25 June, 2018 3:00pm)
Iceland can still qualify, but they have it all to do against one of the most performing sides of this tourney so far, after losing to a spirited Nigerian side in their second group game, the heroics of day 1 where they held almighty Argentina to a 1:1 draw meant nothing and they now have to fight for their lives. Croatia are very likely to rest key players, after demolishing Argentina 3:0, giving them maximum six points, the likes of Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic and Mario Mandzukic can all rest while fringe players run the turf. There are very little chances that Croatia will lose top spot, in fact, only Nigeria can knock them off and it would take the performance of their lives to make such happen, with superior goals, a whooping +5, Croatia can start preparing for whoever comes second in group C. Gylfi Siggurdson has questions to answer, his penalty miss against Nigeria needs atonement, he must take responsibility here and drive these strong debutants to a result here.
Verdict: Iceland to win or draw
Nigeria vs Argentina (25 June, 2018 3:00pm)
The entire continent of Africa await this fixture like families of a pregnant woman in the labour room, after watching agonizingly as Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia crashed out, all hopes are on Nigeria who could be through with a point and Senegal who also need a point to be safe against Colombia. Nigeria did themselves good favours when they dusted Iceland in their second group game, with forward Ahmed Musa becoming the first ever Nigerian to score in two World Cup tournaments. Argentina are on the brink of a shock exit from the World Cup, the draw against Iceland remains the only point to show for their efforts in two games, Lionel Messi is staring at a shameful end to his Argentina tales as this could be his last hurray, he and the rest of the bunch can still salvage something, but they must beat Nigeria silly to stand a chance, it may not matter should Iceland beat Croatia by a stronger margin than theirs, but while going forward to get the goals, Argentina must be wary of the runs in behind their ageing defence by the fleet footed Nigerian forwards, counter attack could be their albatross.
Verdict: Full time draw
Strictly the writer’s opinion… Gamble responsibly