Previous Day’s Record: 1-1-1
Here at Best Bets we believe in three pillars of life in sport nowadays: NBA commissioner Adam Silver is the best current commissioner or President in worldwide sports (and it isn’t close), you ain’t living if you bet the under, and VAR is the worst thing that could have happened to soccer in the past 150 years.
I don’t care what they say. If there was a ticky-tack foul at midfield and then the team that scored made eight passes both forward and laterally for 28 seconds after that foul, the play should stand and there is nothing “direct” about that foul that led to the subsequent goal.
If common sense had prevailed, Messi’s goal would have been valid after a gorgeous play and both Argentina and us would have won 2-1. Instead, we had to settle for the bitter taste of a draw.
There isn’t much going on today (if you are looking for my Monday Night Football pick, click here), so let’s take a look at the slate of exciting soccer matches we have on deck for Tuesday.
UEFA NATIONS LEAGUE – MATCHDAY 6
SPAIN (8 points, 2nd place in Group A4) vs GERMANY (9 points, 1st place in Group A4)
A spot in the Nations League Final Four is on the line in this clash between European powerhouses, as Spain and Germany meet in the final group stage match in Seville. They had allowed fans there during a women’s soccer match three weeks ago, but the recent COVID-19 spikes will prompt this match to be played in front of empty stands.
Spain squandered a major opportunity on Saturday missing not one but two penalty kicks in a 1-1 draw against Switzerland which, combined with Germany´s 3-1 win over Ukraine, left then on the outside looking in and needing a win at home to advance. A Germany win or draw allows Joachim Low´s squad to claim their supremacy in Group A4.
Germany barely hung on to a 1-1 draw with Spain back in Matchday 1, but Luis Enrique seems to be tinkering too much with his youth movement. I lean towards Germany´s experience to earn another tough draw in Spanish soil.
My pick: Germany advances after an exciting 2-2 draw
UEFA NATIONS LEAGUE – MATCHDAY 6
CROATIA (3 points, 4th place in Group A4) vs PORTUGAL (10 points, 2nd place in GROUP A3)
We move on from the pursuit of continental glory to the dread of potential relegation. Portugal has nothing to play for as it is firmly stuck in second place of Group A3 after losing to France, but Croatia must win or draw and wait for Sweden to obtain a worse result in order to avoid falling to Zone B (the Nations League Second Division, there are four in total going from the top-tier A to the cellar-dwelling D).
Cristiano Ronaldo is slated to play unless something drastic happens in the next few hours, but the desperation of the 2018 World Cup finalists to avoid the ultimate humiliation at home will prove to be the spark the underperforming Croatians need to pull through and wait for a helping hand in France.
My pick: Croatia wins 2-1 and avoids relegation. I hope that the Swedes who read this column can forgive me.
CONMEBOL WORLD CUP QUALIFYING – MATCHDAY 4
URUGUAY (6 points, 4th place) vs BRAZIL (9 points, 1st place)
Expect goals, expect at least one red card worthy foul, and expect 2-1-0 Uruguay to pull of the upset against an underwhelming 3-0-0 Brazil.
La Celeste put on a clinic in Colombia last Friday as they earned a 3-0 win to bounce back from the humiliating 4-2 loss in the altitude of Ecuador in Matchday 2. Their midfield core is arguably the best in South America and striker Luis Suarez has converted all four of his penalty kicks so far to be the WCQ top scorer at the moment (and that, folks, is coming full circle with a narrative).
Brazil, meanwhile, is without an injured Neymar and won by the bare minimum at home leaving much to be desired against lowly 0-0-3 Venezuela. Add the fact that they struggled mightily in their lone road contest with Neymar as VAR gifted them a questionable penalty on their way to a 4-2 victory in Peru, and I’m not liking their chances in Montevideo.
Uruguay always plays Brazil tough, but now they will actually come out on top at the Estadio Centenario against their rivals for the first time since July 1, 2001.
My pick: Uruguay 2-1 Brazil.
-- by El Hombre