Two huge quarter-final games take place on Friday, as Brazil play Colombia and France take on Germany.
A flurry of bets will be placed by football fans worldwide as they look to predict which sides will progress to the semi-finals.
The knockout stages of any World Cup are normally tight affairs, as we witnessed in the round of 16, but this tournament has been full of drama, if not surprises.
However, with two of the pre-tournament favourites— Brazil and Germany—struggling for form, those possible shocks may be about to materialise on day 23 of the tournament.
Here are Friday's fixtures and their current betting odds, via OddsShark.com, as well as predictions for both matches:
|Match||Odds Home Win||Odds Away Win||Odds Draw||Predicted Score|
|France v Germany||54-25||37-25||21-10||2-2 (France win on pens)|
|Brazil v Colombia||5-6||193-50||271-100||1-2|
France To Eliminate Germany
The Germans started their campaign in some style as they faced off against Cristiano Ronaldo and his Portuguese team-mates. Thomas Mueller banged in a hat-trick as his side dismantled CR7 and company, walking away with a 4-0 victory in the bag.
But since then Germany have been in slight decline, and this was perfectly on show in the round of 16 as they struggled against an inferior Algerian side. The Africans took the Europeans deep into extra time before a Mesut Ozil goal killed the game off.
Now they face a French team who are on form and in the ascendancy. Didier Deschamps has his team in great shape and at betting odds of 54-25, there appears to be some value in their numbers.
However, the real value in 90 minutes lies with the draw at 21-10. It will be difficult to separate these two great sides and extra time is a distinct possibility in the game.
Germany are, of course, specialists when it comes to penalty shootouts as we have seen countless times over the years.
However, they have to lose one purely by the laws of probability soon and with a slip in their recent performance, this could be the World Cup where they crash out via this method.
Many felt the European nations would suffer in the Brazilian heat, but that has not been true of France—or Germany, initially. The Daily Telegraph's Paul Hayward highlighted this as he tweeted:
Two great quarter-finals on Friday. Brazil v Colombia in Fortaleza and Germany v France in the Maracana. Europe's best holding their end up.— Paul Hayward (@_PaulHayward) June 30, 2014
France's form has been somewhat of a surprise, but this now could be a significant renaissance in their football standing if they drive forward to the semi-finals.
They have looked efficient and deadly in the last third of the pitch, and now they need to make sure their defence—which does not have the same quality as their attack—stands firm on Friday and sees the job through.
Colombia To End The Romance Of Brazil
Neutrals across the globe are willing Brazil to reach the final and make it a romantic occasion in Rio De Janeiro in front of the Maracana crowd.
But to get there, Brazil must perform—and perform well.
That is something we are truly yet to see, and now they face a Colombian side who are motivated to dispose of the Selecao on their own soil.
Colombia currently are at the frankly crazy odds of 193-50 and are surely worth a bet by any punter. Form does not dictate the long price, and on the day of the match it will definitely fall as the intelligent money is placed.
Will Colombia eliminate Brazil?
Early bets will certainly get the best value on Friday. Colombia are on a hot streak at the moment, and they will not be intimidated by Neymar and company.
In James Rodriguez they have a player who sits on the edge of greatness as he treads the boards that were meant for Radamel Falcao.
James has the depth of quality in his all-round game to cause David Luiz nightmares in the Brazil defence. The big defender might be valued as one of the world's best, but he has a mistake lurking in his game in almost every match he plays in.
Colombia will end the Brazilian dream of lifting the World Cup at the Maracana on Friday, positioning themselves as potential winners with their wonderful attack and trademark dancing celebrations.