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Saudi Arabia vs North Korea Predictions

  • 16:00
  • Expired
  • Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum
Saudi Arabia
North Korea

odds when tipped

odds when tipped

Tip Reasoning

Despite showing glimpses of promise, Saudi Arabia failed to make much headway at the World Cup in the summer, but they can compete at this level. In fact, Juan Antonio Pizzi’s men come into the tournament as fifth-favourites, so they’re not to be taken lightly.

Tuesday’s favourites, who can be backed at no bigger than 4/6 to win this match, have steadily built momentum over the last few months. Since leaving Russia in June, they’ve lost just one of their six matches, while they come into this tournament unbeaten in four. It would be wrong to say that they’ve created an overly positive impression, but they certainly haven’t created a negative one. They’ve done the business against some weak sides, while they even avoided embarrassment when losing by just two goals against Brazil. Last time out, Saudi Arabia drew 0-0 against Korea Republic, who’re currently second favourites to win this tournament.

Even at the World Cup, the wider footballing audience, saw that the Saudi Arabians have got a few tricks up their sleeve. They were admittedly outclassed by the tournament hosts on match-day one, but they acquitted themselves well when losing by just a single goal against a useful Uruguay side, while they improved further when beating Egypt in their last match in Russia.

Against the Egyptians, the Green Falcons showed themselves to be capable of taking advantage of poor defences by scoring twice and mustering a very pleasing 2.84 expected goals. They’ve since clocked 2.53 expected goals for against Bolivia and 2.27 against Yemen. Such performances bode well ahead of a match against a defensively inept North Korean side.

Unlike their opponents on Tuesday, North Korea warmed up for this competition by losing 4-0 against Bahrain. Such a result isn’t what the doctor ordered just one week before a major tournament.

Unsurprisingly, the North Koreans have generally struggled to get going. They shipped four against Bahrain last time out, while they’ve won just one of their last seven on the road. Prior to losing a week ago, Kim Yon-jun’s men hadn’t been conceding too many goals, but they haven’t come up against a half-decent side such as Saudi Arabia in some time.

In all honesty, Juan Antonio Pizzi’s Green Falcons couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity at the tournament. If they can put in a performance not dissimilar to the one that they delivered against Egypt in Russia, then it would be a surprise if the visitors coped. Having shown plenty of attacking promise both at the World Cup and since, clocking 2.0+ expected goals on three occasions, the bet that stands out is ‘Saudi Arabia to Score Over 1.5 Goals’. Against a North Korean side that took a hammering in their final warm-up game, the Saudi Arabians can hit their stride right from the word go in the United Arab Emirates.

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