DURBAN – Wow, it’s been a classic World Cup! Some of the usual suspects have tumbled - it really is a global game, after all. Who would have thought Germany would be watching this penalty feast with beer and regrets from their armchairs - along with the Italians, Dutch and, lest we forget, the whole of Africa. Senegal tied on points with Japan, but are knocked out on a "Fair Play” rule. It’s always Africa, ne!
So, it’s South America versus Europe - with a sprinkling of Asia to spice things up a wink. Will we have a bunch more penalties? How about VAR? No so-called upsets at this stage, as it takes a second to score a goal. Sneaky, outside money bets are the likes of Denmark and Mexico.
One of the favourites, France, duel with Messi and Maradona’s Argentina. There is no better game to start the knockout rounds, as it will set the tone.
Uruguay then take on Portugal, which is one hell of a paella! Two deadly strikers, but one team doesn’t completely depend on their superstar. Does Ronaldo have the juice to stand up? I suspect he does.
Spain vs Russia; these bones feel that tiki-taka will prevail here,but the home team will not make it an easy ride. An early goal will open this up to be a tasty treat.
Let’s look at a scoreline here or a match bet into total goals - that usually has tasty odds of anything between 2 to 1 and 15 to 2. Then it’s the European underdogs in the competition, with an ever impressive Croatia clashing heads with the unassuming Danes. This could be a tight encounter, but favour the Croats - with Bones smelling a sneaky 2-1 scoreline.
The Samba boys from Brazil danced their way into sweet 16 and take on the hombres from Mexico. For my Mexican bros, we hope they had their last bad game against Sweden a couple of days ago. The Bones see the hombres coming close here - even a young, green greasing and a potential upset. Yebo, I said it! Belgium were through even before their last game last night (after going to print), but they will make the quarters, regardless of who they meet next.
Sweden vs Switzerland is a titanic battle of teams that are quite average, however let’s not discount the flashes of “goodness” they have shown thus far.
This may surprise in entertainment value; it’s two well-matched sides who will consider the tourney a success by reaching the quarter-finals. Kane’s England are through and seem to be a better bunch than we have seen in recent history. Bet on the boys in white to take one more step - and then stumble.
Finally, Super Rugby is back with some tasty match-ups. It seems disjointed but, nonetheless, let’s move on. This morning’s game is Blues vs Reds. It’s top-notch brunch grubby, but let’s hope Tana Umaga’s fellas turn up the heat and show up Queensland’s Reds in Auckland.
Rebels host the Waratahs, and we like this derby as it will determine who takes top honours in Oz. We fancy a home win by a couple.
Highlanders take on the Chiefs in a classic Kiwi derby and, once again, we say go with the home team by a couple of points. Brumbies will attempt to contain Hurricanes - it won’t work.
Take the Canes on the spread. Sunwolves host the Bulls, and we see a Bulls wen hier, maar hierdie mense van Japan are not to be messed with - especially with their footballers giving the inspiration from Russia! Look into the spread - on the + side of life. Our local sauce is Sharks vs Lions. Home ALL the way, by a handful.
Jaguares vs Stormers, we go with the Saffas. Sangoma bowing out. Enjoy the footy!