By William Hill
Last Updated: 6th July 2018
Neymar. Romelu Lukaku. Gabriel Jesus. Eden Hazard. They’ll all feature in Brazil and Belgium’s World Cup 2018 quarter final, but Philippe Coutinho First Goalscorer is the form bet.
The midfield maestro has been sensational in guiding the five-time World Cup winners to another quarter final.
He opened the scoring against Switzerland and Costa Rica, is Brazil’s joint top scorer and has more goals than both the Selecao’s strikers, Jesus and Roberto Firmino, combined.
Despite playing in a deeper role, Coutinho’s overall World Cup performance even compares favourably to that of Belgium’s top scorer Lukaku.
The star men have had the same amount of touches in the penalty area – 18 each. The Barcelona playmaker has taken 17 shots, six more than Lukaku and has a better minutes-per-attempt average, registering a shot every 20.4 minutes.
It was also perhaps notable that one of the goals Belgium conceded against Japan – Takashi Inui’s effort – was from outside the box like Coutinho’s group-stage strike against Switzerland. If the Belgians give him similar time and space, expect the net to bulge.
Why Coutinho First Goalscorer holds more appeal than Lukaku
Lukaku currently trails Harry Kane alone at 10/1 to be Top Goalscorer despite sitting out a full match against England, boasting an impressive 59.8 minutes-per-goal ratio at this World Cup.
One key difference between Coutinho and Lukaku’s output in Russia though is that while the latter has fired twice as frequently (2-4), he trails the former Liverpool man 2-0 when it comes to first goals.
The Manchester United striker left Dries Mertens and Eden Hazard to do the lock picking in Group G, steaming in with braces once the door was open.
For that reason, Lukaku is arguably a better pick in the Anytime Goalscorer and 2 Or Markets, with Coutinho the value choice to grab the first.
The trends suggest a high-scoring quarter-final
Brazil vs Belgium is a clash between two sides that have registered the most shots so far – Brazil taking 77, the Red Devils 76. Likewise, their shots on target records of 29 and 28 are way ahead of the third best team, homebound Spain on 22.
Belgium have the South Americans beaten at this World Cup on one pretty important metric: goals scored. They’re top scorers in the tournament with 12, notching three more than anyone else, and five more than these opponents. Over 3.5 goals is priced at 12/5.