Tuesday at the World Cup: Colombia to get off to flying start
Today sees the final group game in the first round of fixtures as Group H kicks off in style with Colombia v Japan and Poland v Senegal.
The second round of group games also begin as hosts Russia take on Egypt in Group A. You can read a full in-depth preview of that clash here.
But, for now, the Ladbrokes News crew delve into the opening two fixtures and a pair of interesting clashes.
Colombia v Japan, (1pm, BBC)
Another fixture that screams World Cup, Colombia will be looking to get off to a good start against Japan in Saransk. The Colombians are favourites here at 8/11, with Japan out at 17/4. The Draw is available at 12/5.
Jose Pekerman’s side made the quarter-finals of the last tournament, losing unluckily 2-1 to hosts Brazil. But Los Cafeteros’ development has continued since then and they could be the dark horses of this tournament.
Japan are surprisingly at 61 in the FIFA world rankings – lower than Panama. They’ve still some talented players like Shinji Kagawa. But they finished just one point above Saudi Arabia in qualifying.
For Colombia, James Rodriguez is still the star man. The Bayern Munich ace was top scorer at the last World Cup and scored six goals in qualifying. Plus throw Falcao back in the mix and the South Americans look dangerous.
Poland v Senegal, (4pm, ITV)
Along with Portugal v Spain, and Germany v Mexico, this could be one of the games of the group stage.
Poland are 13/10 for all three points, with Senegal out at 12/5. The Draw is available at 2/1. The Polish – as usual – will be heavily reliant on Robert Lewandowski to bag the goals.
The Bayern Munich striker has managed an incredible 21 goals in his last 15 international games. But it’s at the back that Adam Nawalka’s side has issues. Kamil Glik’s injury has caused a proper headache. The Monaco centre-back has been a staple of the back-line.
However, the Poles are a little dodgy at the back anyway. They conceded 14 goals in qualifying, the most from any side at the tournament.
And Senegal have talent in abundance. Names familiar to you will be the likes of Sadio Mane, Diafra Sahko, Idrissa Gueye, and Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly.
Plus Senegal’s own attacking talents, Aliou Cisse’s side could cause an upset in an attacking game. Senegal to win and Over 1.5 Goals is 4/1.
Click here for more World Cup odds
All Odds and Markets correct as of date of publication