Chris Sutton predicts the last 16 games

Chris Sutton's predictions

Chris Sutton’s predictions

FIFA World Cup

Host nation: Qatar At your place: November 20-December 18 Coverage: Live on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer, BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, BBC Sounds and the BBC Sport website and app. Daily TV Listings – Full coverage details

Half of the 32 teams are heading home, but which of the teams left standing will survive until the World Cup final at Lusail Stadium on December 18?

The hopes of eight other nations will bite the dust after the first knockout round, which includes England against Senegal and BBC football pundit Chris Sutton’s adoptive nation, Japan.

Sutton is probably even more popular in the Land of the Rising Sun than on these shores after correctly predicting that Japan would beat Germany and also knock the four-time winners out of the tournament.

He is making a prediction for every match in Qatar and has correctly guessed the outcome of 26 of the 48 group matches.

Before the tournament, Sutton singled 12 of the 16 teams who have passed the first knockout stage, inclusive France, his pick to win the tournament, e England, whoever believes will reach the quarterfinals.

Last 16 games


Sutton’s prediction

Saturday 3 Dec

Netherlands versus United States



Argentina versus Australia



Sunday 4th Dec

France versus Poland



England versus Senegal



Monday 5th Dec

Japan v Croatia


2-1 DST*

Brazil v South Korea



Tuesday 6 Dec

Morocco versus Spain



Portugal versus Switzerland


1-1 P**

*After extra time

** Switzerland win on penalties

Saturday 3 December

Netherlands versus United States

Netherlands versus United States

Netherlands – USA (Khalifa International Stadium, 15:00 GMT)

Holland sailed in their own group, but I don’t think they look special. In fact, they’ve been pretty disappointing so far.

They are my left hand pick to win this World Cup but, to even get close to that, they will have to improve on what they have shown us so far.

I’m not sure that will happen, and this could be another game where the Dutch find a way to win, rather than surprise us.

The danger for them is if they take the United States too lightly, because many England fans thought we would beat them easily and the reality was very different.

The United States is not only well organized, they are young and hungry and I like the way they play. My only concern for them is that they don’t have a goalscorer in their squad.

Christian Pulisic is a doubt about injuries, and if he makes a mistake it’s a big problem for them. They still have a hard time finding the net.

Sutton’s prediction: 2-1

Argentina versus Australia

Argentina versus Australia

Argentina – Australia (Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium, 19:00)

Reaching the round of 16 by Australia was one of the best moments in their footballing history: bunting took place in Brisbane and confetti in Canberra. It was good to see.

The Australians have done very well and I don’t want to patronize them, but getting to this point is like England winning the World Cup final.

We thank their boss Graham Arnold for organizing them so well, but they are limited and I don’t think they have any hope of going any further in this tournament.

Also, I don’t think they will celebrate much when Argentina is done with them.

I watched Argentina a couple of times and against Poland they seemed to be playing their game. They could have scored six or seven that night.

I went big here with my expected score, but you have to remember that it’s all or nothing for the teams now, so they can’t sit down against one of the favorites and protect their goal difference like they do in the groups.

Australia will have to try if they go behind and this will leave more room for Argentina to exploit.

Sutton’s prediction: 5-0

Sunday 4th December

France versus Poland

France versus Poland

France – Poland (Al Thumama Stadium, 15:00 GMT)

Based on what I’ve seen so far, if Poland enter the France half, they will be lucky. They just don’t seem able to get the ball upfield to Robert Lewandowski, who is so isolated.

The Poles are big and slow and I think they were lucky to get out of group C.

France can put in a poor performance every once in a while and I know this has been a shock World Cup so I ask to put the egg on my face… but I see it will only go one way.

Sutton’s prediction: 4-0

England versus Senegal

England versus Senegal

England vs Senegal (Al Bayt Stadium, 19:00 GMT)

I went to watch England train on Thursday and, since the warm-up, I feel they are going a long way in this competition.

Seriously, though, I’m confident in their chances, although I don’t think Senegal will let them have everything their way.

The African champions were quite disappointing when they faced the Dutch but, when it really mattered, they showed up against Ecuador.

England’s starting XI will be interesting, and there’s always a big debate about it, but I think strength on the bench will make all the difference for Gareth Southgate, whoever starts the game.

Sutton’s prediction: 2-1

Monday 5th December

Japan v Croatia

Japan v Croatia

Japan – Croatia (Al Janoub Stadium, 15:00 GMT)

Nobody predicted that Japan would drop out of their group or that Germany would be eliminated – well, nobody but me.

I don’t think Blue Samurai are done in this tournament yet, although I can see this tie going the distance and into overtime before I win it.

Maybe I’m being a bit romantic here, I know, because Croatia has some astute operators and fantastic players.

Japan is probably a better team than they think they are, with the technical players they have. At the moment they play patches but that could still be enough.

Sutton’s prediction: 1-1 after 90 minutes. Japan wins 2-1 after extra time.

Brazil v South Korea

Brazil v South Korea

Brazil – South Korea (Stadium 974, 19:00 GMT)

South Korea started very late to get here but the dramatic way they qualified from Group H means their World Cup was a memorable one no matter what comes next.

They will try well and against Portugal they showed how well organized they are in defense but I don’t think they have enough at the other end to bother Brazil.

How close that is might depend on whether Neymar is back from injury, and the noises coming off the Brazilian pitch aren’t particularly promising there, but I still think Brazil will win even if they have to do it without him.

Sutton’s prediction: 2-0

Tuesday 6th December

Morocco versus Spain

Morocco versus Spain

Morocco v Spain (Education City, 15:00 GMT)

Spain is the best soccer team in this tournament.

I really like their style and nice passing patterns but they always try to play against people and if the teams are sitting deep they can find it difficult.

I watched them against Japan on Thursday and they had all the ball but didn’t seem to want to score even when they were desperate – maybe Guillem Balague was right about their lack of goals after all.

So, this will be close. Morocco are probably stronger, physically, but I don’t think they will chase the ball high up the pitch – instead they will probably sit down and pick their moments, a bit like Japan did against Spain.

Sutton’s prediction: 0-1

Portugal versus Serbia

Portugal versus Serbia

Portugal – Switzerland (Lusail Stadium, 19:00 GMT)

Switzerland were very passive against Brazil and failed to shoot on goal, but their other games in Qatar give us a better idea of ​​what to expect from them here.

Portugal have some excellent players, but the Swiss will be full of confidence here after the way they overcame Serbia to reach the last 16, and also beat Portugal when they faced them in the Nations League in June.

This will be close and I have a feeling that Cristiano Ronaldo will have a big say in the result, although not necessarily in a good way.

It’s a risk versus reward scenario for Portugal if they choose Ronaldo, because his influence on the team is huge but they could have a better starter who should be in the squad.

If this draw goes the distance, how long should he be on the pitch?

Sutton’s prediction: 1-1 – Switzerland wins on penalties after extra time – Ronaldo misses the decisive spot kick

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