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COMFORTABLE WINNERS of their opening game against Jamaica, Croatia will not find life as easy against Japan in Nantes this afternoon but are still fancied to emerge victorious (perhaps 2-1).

Despite a few injuries in the run-up to the tournament, Croatia still looked a pretty solid outfit against the West Indian side and should just edge out Japan, plucky 1-0 losers to Argentina in their first match. Davor Suker looks the best bet for first goalscorer.

The match between Belgium and Mexico in Bordeaux looks booked for a draw (maybe 1-1).

Mexico put three past the moderate South Korea in their first game but will not find life so easy against a dour Belgium, who ground out a 0- 0 draw with the mighty Netherlands in their first game.

Mexico's Luis Hernandez - who got two in their first game - looks the best bet to score the opening goal in what promises to be a close game.

The Netherlands should hammer South Korea (maybe 4-0) in Marseilles this evening. The Dutch were frankly a bit disappointing against Belgium in their first match but, on that evidence, seem unlikely to miss Patrick Kluivert and will be helped by having Dennis Bergkamp - best bet for first goalscorer - starting the match.

He should combine with his Arsenal team-mate Marc Overmars to cause South Korea no end of problems.

Ian Davies