The United States of America has qualified for each of the last seven FIFA World Cup tournaments and it can take a big step towards the 2018 event in Russia by beating Costa Rica on American soil for the second time in six weeks.
Unbeaten in its last 14 games, the United States of America scored twice in the final 20 minutes of its CONCACAF Gold Cup match against Costa Rica in Arlington to post a 2-0 victory. The United States of America went on to win the CONCACAF Gold Cup final, beating Jamaica by a 2-1 margin.
Costa Rica was the most recent team to get the better of the United States of America and the Ticos defeated the Stars and Stripes decisively. But Costa Rica’s 4-0 FIFA World Cup triumph over the United States of America in November took place in San Jose, a long way from the land of Uncle Sam. Only Mexico has beaten the United States of America in a FIFA World Cup qualifier on American soil since 2001, with the Stars and Stripes going 30-2-1 over the last 16 years.
Unibet and William Hill are offering odds of -125 about the United States of America defeating Costa Rica in Harrison on Friday and drawing level on 11 points with the Ticos. That price makes the United States of America worthy of a wager.
UEFA Group A of FIFA World Cup qualifying is up for grabs after France’s horror 1-2 loss at Sweden in which Blues goalkeeper Hugo Lloris lost his marble in stoppage time. Undoubtedly, France is the strongest side in the section and it rates worthy of financial support at odds of -143 with SkyBet to beat The Netherlands in Paris on Thursday.
France had the better of its UEFA Group A game at Sweden, not withstanding the inexplicable brainfade of Lloris that enabled Ola Toivonen to score the winning goal in the 93rd minute. France would be three points clear at the summit of UEFA Group A if its goalkeeper had not made the biggest error of his career. France defeated The Netherlands 1-0 when the Blues and the Oranges met in Amsterdam last year, Paul Pogba converting a 30th-minute chance that Dimitri Payet created. The Netherlands is a team that is living on its reputation, which is terrific news for punters who are able to assess matches logically. One’s opinion is that The Netherlands has not toppled a genuine heavyweight of the sport in a competitive game since it beat Brazil 3-0 in the third-place play-off match during the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
If you are looking for a FIFA World Cup qualifying banker then look no further than Brazil, which is available at odds of -333 with William Hill, Bwin and Marathonbet to accrue three CONMEBOL points against Ecuador on Thursday night/Friday morning.
Brazil bashed Ecuador 3-0 in last year’s reverse CONMEBOL fixture, leading 1-0 through a Neymar penalty kick before Juan Carlos Paredes received his marching orders and Gabriel Jesus helped himself to a late brace. Brazil has not lost a FIFA World Cup qualifying home match this century, whereas Ecuador has earned just one point from its last five FIFA World Cup qualifying away games, conceding at least two goals in each of those matches. Brazil was the first side to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia but one cannot see the five-time champion being complacent in Porto Alegre.
USA to beat Costa Rica
Friday 1st September, 23:55 GMT
France to beat Holland
Thursday 31st August, 19:45 GMT
Brazil to beat Ecuador
Friday 1st September, 01:45 GMT