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FIFA WORLD CUP: Bilicki and Chapman’s picks for Nov. 29

Netherlands forward Cody Gakpo runs for the ball against Ecuador.
Netherlands forward Cody Gakpo runs for the ball against Ecuador. Getty Images

Dan Bilicki’s picks

Senegal 1, Ecuador 0

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With Enner Valencia’s status in doubt after suffering an injury late last game, it’s too much to ask for the South Americans to pull out a result against the talented West Africans. Even if Ecuador’s ‘Superman’ plays, it will be hard to be effective against such a stout opponent.

Netherlands 3, Qatar 0

After some opening night jitters, the hosts played much better in their second game, but still lost and are eliminated. The Dutch would love to get all three points here to potentially avoid England in the next round and have the talent to get it done.

United States 2, Iran 1

This young American team is going to make a lot of fans with its hard-working style, which was on full display against England. While Iran has provided a nice story with all of the political turmoil back in their home country, the Americans get the win here and advance.

England 1, Wales 0

If you don’t think that Wales will be fired up for this game, you’re crazy. It’s going to be another rough and tough outing for Gareth Southgate’s men, but the quality is there to oust their rivals. The Three Lions are all but through to the next round but need to grab the top seed for an easier route forward.

Paul Chapman’s picks

Ecuador 0, Senegal 0

Senegal needs a win to go through. Ecuador has been one of the pleasant surprises of the tournament and with it knowing it only needs a draw, expect it to park the bus. Senegal’s best hope would be an early goal to force them to come out. Ecuador’s Enner Valencia is having the kind of World Cup that’s going to see someone make a hugely inflated offer for his services in January.

Netherlands 2, Qatar 0

The Dutch could lose and still go through, though they need a point to make sure. Qatar, frankly, aren’t up to the standard of the World Cup. It’s hard to see it breaking through on the Dutch defence. Like Valencia, the Netherlands’ Cody Gakpo has been one of the stars of the tournament, fueling rumours of a move to the Premiership in January. His tail’s up and he’s dangerous going forward, I’d expect another goal or two against the Qatari defence.

Iran 0, USA 0

As is the case in these final group games, caution often reigns. Iran can get through with a draw as long as Wales doesn’t beat England. And that’s why they play the final games at the same time. Iran has showed spirit amidst a horrendous political backdrop. The U.S. has had one good half, their first action against Wales. While England took the brunt of criticism and ridicule in their 0-0 draw with the U.S., the Yanks were equally dire. Not sure they have enough firepower to force their way past a resolute Iranian squad.

England 1, Wales 0

After a big win in the opener against Iraq, people were expecting so much more from England against the U.S. Instead manager Gareth Southgate exhibited a cowardly approach wanting not to lose rather than win. His squad selection, leaving out Phil Foden and Trent Alexander-Arnold was telling, and bringing on Jordan Henderson, primarily more of a defensive force, to play alongside true defensive midfielder Declan Rice was a sign he was OK at 0-0. Wales needs to win by four to go through and that’s not happening.

Postmedia’s soccer expert Derek Van Diest is on the ground in Qatar to cover every kickoff of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Subscribe today and get access to all his coverage.

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