Thursday, 27 May 2010

FIFA World Cup 2010 - Group Stage Preview

Well, it’s almost here. 64 football matches, featuring some of the best players in the world, as well as some of the worst. I know half of the Scoop Troop have probably forgotten about this year’s World Cup in South Africa, owing to the fact that Scotland are shit and have once again failed to qualify, but hey, they’ll be used to it by now.

So anyway, here’s my preview of the 2010 FIFA World Cup group stages. Prices quoted are to win the World Cup outright unless specified otherwise and are best price at time of writing. Enjoy.

Group A:
France (20/1 - BetFred & StanJames; 21.00 - Betfair)
Mexico (100/1 - Ladbrokes; 110.00 - Betfair)
Uruguay (125/1 - Bwin; 170.00 - Betfair)
South Africa (150/1 - Bet365 & StanJames; 190.00 - Betfair)

Verdict: France are favourites for the group even though they shouldn’t be in South Africa. Still, they’re not exactly a force these days and will struggle to hold off Uruguay, who I fancy to surprise a few this year. With South Africa having the home advantage and Mexico looking a useful outfit in defeat to England, this is a tricky group. I’ll plump for Uruguay to top the group, with France in second.

Group B:
Argentina (15/2 - ExtraBet; 8.60 - Betfair)
Nigeria (150/1 - Bet365; 180.00 - Betfair)
South Korea (250/1 - Victor Chandler & BetFred; 310.00 - Betfair)
Greece (250/1 - Blue Square; 320.00 - Betfair)

Verdict: Argentina are far too good for this group and despite trying their best to fail qualify for South Africa 2010, I can’t see them losing a game at this stage. I quite fancy South Korea to upset the odds and fill second place at Nigeria’s expense.

Group C:
England (13/2 - Victor Chandler; 7.60 - Betfair)
USA (80/1 - SportingBet & ToteSport; 90.00 - Betfair)
Slovenia (400/1 - Bwin; 630.00 - Betfair)
Algeria (600/1 - PaddyPower; 770.00 - Betfair)

Verdict: England are clearly going to win this group, by virtue of being far less poor than the other three sides. I’ll be amazed if it’s not the USA filling the runner-up slot. No shocks here, should finish in market order.

Group D:
Germany (16/1 - Ladbrokes; 16.00 - Betfair)
Serbia (66/1 - ExtraBet & Ladbrokes; 75.00 - Betfair)
Ghana (80/1 - ToteSport & Victor Chandler; 110.00 - Betfair)
Australia (150/1 - Bet365; 200.00 - Betfair)

Verdict: I’ve seen a few folk waxing lyrical about Serbia after their qualifying campaign, but they did still manage to lose to France and Lithuania in a weak looking group. I personally fancy Germany for the group, with Australia, who are very unfairly priced for me, scraping through at Serbia’s expense, probably on goal difference.

Group E:
Holland (12/1 - Ladbrokes; 13.00 - Betfair)
Cameroon (125/1 - Bwin; 140.00 - Betfair)
Denmark (150/1 - Bet365; 190.00 - Betfair)
Japan (400/1 - Bwin; 740.00 - Betfair)

Verdict: World Cup underachievers Holland should stroll this group and my predictions have the group finishing in market order. Japan may have been the first side to qualify for the 2010 World Cup finals, but I can see them being one of the first out.

Group F:
Italy (14/1 - Ladbrokes & Victor Chandler; 16.00 - Betfair)
Paraguay (80/1 SportingBet & Bet365; 110.00 - Betfair)
Slovakia (400/1 - Bwin; 550.00 - Betfair)
New Zealand (2,500/1 - SportingBet; 1,000.00 - Betfair)

Verdict: Italy have got the easiest 2010 World Cup group by far and they will qualify in first place, with Paraguay in second. The season in New Zealand finishes in March and though they may be fresh, they won’t be sharp enough to cope. If Slovakia beat Paraguay, they will have a really good chance to qualify, but I can’t see it.

Group G:
Brazil (5/1 - Bet365 & BetFred; 6.20 - Betfair)
Portugal (28/1 - ToteSport & SportingBet; 32.00 - Betfair)
Ivory Coast (33/1 - Ladbrokes & Bet365; 44.00 - Betfair)
North Korea (2,000/1 - ToteSport & SportingBet; 1,000.00 - Betfair)

Verdict: North Korea, lol. Anyway, Brazil will widdle all over this group, while Portugal and the Ivory Coast do battle for second. It will be really close and go to the last game for sure, with Portugal needing a point against Brazil, or relying on Ivory Coast failing to beat North Korea by enough goals. Portugal it nick it, for me.

Group H:
Spain (4/1 - BoyleSports & StanJames; 5.30 - Betfair)
Chile (66/1 - Bet365 & SportingBet; 80.00 - Betfair)
Switzerland (200/1 - Bet365 & StanJames; 320.00 - Betfair)
Honduras (1,000/1 - Bet365 & StanJames; 1,000.00 - Betfair)

Verdict: World Cup favourites Spain will have no bother getting out of this group. I can’t see either Honduras or Switzerland having enough for a dangerous Chile outfit and I think they will have the second spot locked up after two games.

So is there anything worth having a bet on during the World Cup group stages?

I think the 11/10 about Uruguay (BoyleSports) to qualify from Group A is a great shout and although my own predictions have them topping the group, I don’t think I’m brave enough to take the best price 7/2 for them to win it.

I also like the 9/4 being offered by Bodog that England get exactly 7 points in their group. England have never finished a World Cup group on nine points and have only taken maximum points once, way back in 1982, when it was still two points for a win. They always find a way to draw and I reckon America are the likely candidates this time round.

Spain, Brazil, Italy and Holland are certainties to win their groups and I’ll be investing in the following group winner trebles on Betfair:

Brazil, Spain, Italy - 2.88
Brazil, Spain, Holland - 3.00
Brazil, Holland, Italy - 3.60
Spain, Italy, Holland - 2.92

For now at least, I’m totally undecided on who the FIFA World Cup 2010 winners are going to be. I can see a Brazil vs Holland Quarter-Final tie and the winner may well come from that, probably beating Spain in the final. The Spanish have finally proven they can do it on the big stage, but they’ve still never been beyond the Quarters in a World Cup and they may well bottle it.

I just can’t bring myself to back the Dutch, as they always fail to deliver too. It may be dull, but at this stage I’d probably go with Brazil, though I will wait until I’ve properly got my teeth into the Knockout-Stages before nailing my colours to the mast.

Watch this space and don't forget to check out the offers in the post below, if you're opening new accounts for World Cup betting.


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