Sky sports world cup predictions

World Cup predictions: Paul Merson predicts Sweden v England and Russia v Croatia

Last Updated: 07/07/18 3:51pm

Things are hotting up in Russia with the World Cup quarter-finals – and Paul Merson is back with his latest round of predictions.

With England looking to continue their assault towards the latter stages against Sweden and host nation Russia taking on Croatia, the Soccer Saturday pundit has offered his views on how things will unfold.

Sweden v England

It’s a massive chance for England, but it’ll be a hard game. Sweden are very good defensively, and they’ll put men behind the ball. They won’t go anywhere, but they’ve got pace too. It will be hard, but I think England will just have enough about them.

Sweden will set up to play for penalties – England will have to be very patient, and not get caught on the counter-attack with a sucker punch.

Sweden won’t be as dirty as Colombia, but they’ll set up and they’re hard to break down. They won’t be fussed about having a lot of the ball, or having a go at England.

I think England will need to get two goals to be sure, but that’ll be hard.

Everyone has had troubles breaking teams down, defensively teams have generally been very sound. England put six past Panama but generally you’re not seeing teams being ripped apart.

MERSE PREDICTS: England to win 1-0 (9/1 with Sky Bet)

Russia v Croatia

Russia surprised me by beating Spain. Spain were a bit tippy-tappy, but it was a great result.

Croatia haven’t got bundles of pace in their team and Russia will be hard to beat, just like they were against Spain.

I think this is a hard one to call. I was disappointed with Croatia in the last round, they struggled really badly.

Without having much pace in the team, when Ivan Rakitic and Luka Modric get on the ball it’s hard to get teams down.

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Russia will try to take it all the way, I think. Again, it’ll be a very tight affair, with Russia being very patient and playing for penalties, which worked for them last time.

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Croatia beat Argentina, but they haven’t pulled up any trees. If you look at the teams they’ve beaten, they’re not ripping it up. It’s like taking a horse to the derby when they’ve only won at a little track.

MERSE PREDICTS: Croatia to win 1-0 (9/2 with Sky Bet)

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