Best bet for Ecuador-Senegal
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On Tuesday, the pressure rises a notch at the 2022 World Cup, and teams start getting sent home! It will be the final group matches in Group A and Group B.
In Group B, I must mention my England team in their all-British clash with Wales. It is not a game I can bring myself to bet on, but it will be a tense affair for both sides for different reasons. England must improve after a poor performance in their 0-0 draw with the USA. Captain Harry Kane looks injured to me and a shadow of himself. Star man Phil Foden, left on the bench so far, will surely play, and if he does, I believe England will win.
Wales will be pumped up to beat the old enemy in a game they have to win to have any chance of qualification. That will be easier said than done after their woeful performance in the 2-0 defeat to Iran. Star man Gareth Bale looks badly out of form, which is no surprise as he plays so little football. Without their talisman performing, England should have too much for them, but the odds look spot on to recommend a bet
My pick, however, is in Group A in Ecuador’s match with Senegal match, and we are playing the overs at 4.5 cards at -108. This is a huge game with Ecuador having four points and Senegal three—a classic winner-take-all situation with the winner guaranteed to qualify. World Cup history tells us yellow cards become far more likely when everything is on the line. In fact, in the last three World Cups, there have been 11 final group stage matches which meant something such as qualification for either side, and in eight of those games, the over 4.5 cashed. When it’s all on the line, some players will cross that line, and in this game, there are plenty of combative midfielders who will be tackling hard.
There have been yellow cards in every game featuring these two teams, with Ecuador versus Netherlands and Qatar clocking up one and six cards, respectively. Senegal’s fixtures with Netherlands and Qatar racked up three and six cards. This is a bigger game, a real pressure cooker situation, and both coaches will have the players fired up to start fast and give no quarter. That will mean challenges early, so the card count could begin in the first ten minutes.
Referee Clément Turpin only averages 2.83 cards per game this season and clearly is in more forgiving mood than the previous two seasons in which he averaged 3.60 last season, and 3.83 the season before. This will be the biggest game he has officiated in those three years, and I see this being way above his average score for cards given the stakes.
Qualification to the knockout stages would be a huge achievement for these two countries. This is likely to be a tense and bad-tempered affair with Clément Turpin reaching into his pocket to produce a yellow at least five times!
The World Cup gets more tense and more exciting from this day as nobody wants to go home, me included! But unfortunately, I have to leave today.
Pick: Over 4.5 cards at -108