After a group stage battle of the 2018 FIFA World Cup that lasts in the previous two weeks, the best 16 teams will continue with the knock-out phase starting from this Saturday, June 30th, 2018, when France meets Argentina, while Uruguay faces Portugal. Some teams are having problems with injured players, while the others have some yellow card suspensions among the squad, so let’s take a look at the latest injury update and teams’ news that could help the bettors to wager on the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Who’s Struggling With Injuries
The vast majority of the teams that made it to the last 16 were pretty lucky to keep their key guys healthy, but one team has a huge problem ahead of the Round of 16. Colombia’s best player James Rodriguez is struggling with a calf injury, also having some muscular problems, so he’s listed as a doubtful for the last-16 clash against England. The 26-year old playmaker was substituted just 30 minutes into the third-round match of the group stage against Senegal, while he also started off the bench in the opening game against Japan. James is an essential part of Los Cafeteros, and his absence would be a massive blow to Jose Pekerman’s side.
Brazil is another side who’s missing some players due to injury problems, and the latest issue is Marcelo’s back spasm. The left-back had to leave the pitch in the final clash of the group stage against Serbia, while the reason for his spasm is quite bizarre, as the doctors blame on a hotel mattress. The right-back Danilo is still doubtful with a thigh injury, while the winger Douglas Costa will probably miss the Round of 16 due to a hamstring injury.
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England’s Dele Alli had to miss all three games of the group phase because of the thigh injury, and the team doctors are trying to enable him for the clash against Colombia in the Round of 16. Alli was an important part of the Three Lions’ starting eleven until the start of the 2018 World Cup, and he’s certainly disappointed that he cannot help his teammates in the decisive game of the tournament so far. Belgium’s Romelu Lukaku scored a couple of braces in the first two games against Panama and Tunisia, but he had to miss the match with England due to an ankle injury. However, it seems like the manager Roberto Martinez wanted to rest his best striker, and Lukaku will be ready for the further challenges at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Who’s Dealing With Suspensions
Mexico will face Brazil in the Round of 16 as a huge +700 out-of-towner to overcome Selecao, and in this match, the Mexicans will miss their defensive rock Hector Moreno due to a yellow card suspension. Moreno put on some excellent displays in the first two games of the group stage when Mexico has beaten the defending champions Germany 1-0, and South Korea 2-1, so his absence against Selecao would be a big problem for the head coach Juan Carlos Osorio.
Switzerland is another team who has huge problems ahead of the Round 16, as the Nati will miss a defensive duo Stephan Lichtsteiner and Fabian Schar due to a yellow card suspension. Stephan Lichtsteiner is the team’s captain and the first option on the right-back, so his absence would be a huge blow for the Nati, although his replacement Michael Lang is a solid player. Fabian Schar is a strong centre-back, but his leave should be less painful. The Swiss will meet Sweden in the Round of 16 as a slight +170 favorite to win the clash, according to Delaware Park.