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    Brazil and football are synonymes. They won the world cup
    five times and came close on most other occasions. There
    have been 19 world cups so far and only once or twice did
    they playe mediocre.
    This time they are hosts plus their theoretical rating is
    the highest of all. So it will be a surprise and indeed a
    probable political crisis if they fail to win the trophy.

    Spain’s achievement of the last six years is an amazing
    all time world record. Bagged two consecutive Euro cups
    and the world cup of 2010 in between.
    Will they carry on ? Some worries are expressed.
    But in the preliminaries there was no sign of decline as
    they topped the group leaving second place to France and
    dropped only four points (20 out of 24 maximum).

    Considered a force to reckon with as they finished second
    in the South American preliminaries (Argentina were first
    and Brazil did n’t play of course).
    Their star player is the great Falcao.

    The premier is the world’s most popular league but it is
    a mixture of many nationalities and the relation to the
    national team’s strengths is not a one to one relation.
    So England topped the group in the preliminaries but did
    not excite (against Ukraine, Montenegro, Poland, Moldova
    and San Marino).

    Strange how them -and Italy- have gone down in the rate
    scale the last 5-6 years.
    In the preliminaries they finished an easy second but as
    Spain was in group and there can be no complaints about
    that. The necessary play off was however a questionable
    affair as they went down 2-0 in Ukraine and they had to
    perform some heroics to win 3-0 in the return leg.
    Overall France continues to be uninspiring but we sense
    a revival is on the air.

    One of the world’s superpowers featuring Lionel Messi.
    They play much better in South America than in Europe.
    In the South American preliminaries they finished first
    in a group that produced five qualifying nations.

    The power factory of Europe. The one Euro win and two
    world cup third places achieved during the course of the
    last 8 years are considered defeats for Germany.
    If nationalmeinschaft play their true game they fear no
    evil. Reasonably speaking it’s only the home advantage of
    the Brazilians Germans should fear and respect.
    They finished first in the preliminaries, 8 points ahead
    of Sweden and with only one point lost in 10 matches.

    Belgium impressed the world only in 1986 (in Mexico) and
    it was a downward slide afterwards. But lately they have
    been doing remarkably well and many of their players play
    for top European clubs. Their rating may therefore be an
    underestimate of their true power as happens oftenly when
    there is fresh talent in a football team.


    Profile photo of stephen

    Hello all Wed June 18th

    Group B
    Australia v Holland
    Holland were a revelation when hammering World Cup holders Spain last week, and if they get anywhere near that performance they should comfortably beat a spirited, but limited Australia.
    It’s possible the Dutch won’t perform at the same heights they managed in the second half last Friday, but there is a large gap in quality, and surely that will tell here.
    Australia put up a good fight against Chile and caused them problems at the back, especially with Tim Cahill’s prowess in the air, but their own defence is vulnerable, and Robin Van Persie will be looking to add to his tally.
    BETS-Over 2.5 Goals in the match (47)
    R.Van Persie to score anytime (815)

    Chile v Spain
    This should be a cracker, with holders Spain in grave danger of not making it through the Group stage.
    They began well against Holland, but inexplicably fell apart in the second half, and suffered a very rare thrashing.
    Maybe they became complacent, perhaps they are past their best, we should find out more in this game against a lively Chile side.
    Chile have been impressive over the last two years, and won a lot of friends with their attacking football.They were not totally convincing in beating Australia, but if they play to their best this will be a great game.
    It’s doubtful that Spain have become a bad team overnight, and if they dictate the midfield they should get the victory they need.They are 813 to do so. Hopefully this game will live up to expectations.
    BET-Both Teams To Score (710)

    Group A
    Cameroon v Croatia
    Croatia were unlucky to lose their opening game against Brazil, falling foul of some dubious refereeing decisions, and being denied a deserved point.
    Their midfield in particular was superb against the hosts, and with top striker Mario Mandzukic returning from suspension, they should get the three points.Mandzukic is 92 to score first.
    Cameroon were fortunate to lose just 1-0 to Mexico, and while they are capable of better, it’s doubtful that they possess the quality needed to beat the Croats.
    BETS-Croatia to beat Cameroon (34)
    M Mandzukic to score at anytime (75)

    Profile photo of stephen

    Hello all Thursday June 19th
    Thursday’s games
    Group C
    Colombia v Ivory Coast

    Both sides won their opening game, Colombia comfortably against a poor Greece team, and Ivory Coast less so, as they had to come from behind to beat Japan.
    Colombia have plenty of goals in them despite the absenco of star striker Falcao to injury. They are slick going forward and scored three times against Greece, who were supposedly one of the best defensive teams at these Finals.
    Ivory Coast are athletic and powerful in midfield, and sharp up front.
    There should be goals in this game as both teams are better attacking than defending, and Colombia might just edge it at 1110.
    Colombia to win and both teams to score is tempting at 72.
    Both Teams To Score (45)

    Japan v Greece
    Greece were very disappointing against Colombia, uncharacteristically conceding three goals.
    Japan were pacy and energetic against Ivory Coast, but their vulnerability at the back cost them dear. This is now a must win game for both countries, and with Greece pretty toothless in attack, preference is just for Japan to come out on top.
    Greece will have to go for it, and even they might score against a defensively poor Japan side.
    BET Both Teams To Score (1011)

    Group D
    England v Uruguay
    This is a must win game for both sides, after first game defeats, and is very hard to call.
    Uruguay welcome back the mercurial Luis Suarez-but how fit is he? There must be some doubt that he will be at his sharpest, as he wasn’t brought off the bench in Uruguay’s opening game even though they were losing.
    Fully fit, he and Cavani would cause big problems for a shaky England defence.
    Yet they were terrible defensively in their opening game, conceding three goals to the mighty Costa Rica. With England’s pace and aerial ability at set pieces, surely they are capable of scoring at least a couple.
    The game is taking place in Sao Paulo which should be a lot better for England after the conditions of Manaus.
    England could well get a victory, and take a big step to the next round.
    BETS England to beat Uruguay (54)
    First Scorer-G Cahill (E/W 331) Paddy Power offer 13 of price for first five goals
    Both Teams To Score (45)

    Try a treble on Both teams To Score in all 3 matches (51)

    Also Columbia, Japan & England Double Chance(Win/Draw Cover) at 65

    Profile photo of stephen

    Hello all Fri June 20th
    There are another three games today
    Group D
    Costa Rica v Italy
    With tonight’s win for Uruguay putting them back in the mix, Italy will be looking to secure their passage through to the last 16 before both countries meet next Tuesday.
    Costa Rica were suoerb in beating a lack-lustre Uruguay in their opening game, and their bright attacking play may cause a few problems for Italy.
    However Italy should prevail and make it six points from two games.
    Marco Ballotelli was the match winner against England, and he has now scored in five of his last six competitive matches for Italy.
    BETS-Italy to beat Costa Rica (8/15)
    M Ballotelli to Score at Anytime (5/4-Bet365)

    Group E
    France v Switzerland
    Both of these countries won their opening game, France rather more comfortably against an indisciplined Honduras side, who were reduced to ten men fairly early in the match.
    The French have a solid spine, a strong midfield, and Benzema on form up front-he scored twice in the opener.
    Switzerland were unbeaten in qualifying, but struggled to overcome Ecuador last week, needing an injury-time winner to get the points.
    They are a fine side, gifted in midfield, with two classy full-backs always ready to get forward. They are perhaps just lacking a star striker, but they are very well coached, and can cause problems for France.
    The winners of this Group will more than likely avoid Argentina in the next phase, and is an added incentive for both teams to go for the win.
    It should be an intriguing encounter with France’s extra firepower giving them the edge.
    BET France to beat Switzerland (5/6)

    Ecuador v Honduras
    These two countries lost their opening games, and are very likely to be heading home after the Group Stage.
    Ecuador look the more potent side, and should have enough attacking quality to get the win.
    Honduras were terrible against France, and may well put on an improved display, but they look very limited throughout the side.
    BET Ecuador to beat Honduras (7/10)

    Profile photo of stephen

    Hi all Sat/Sun June 21/22
    There are six games over the weekend. and we preview all of them in this one message.
    Group F
    Argentina v Iran
    Argentina were awful in the first half against Bosnia, where they tried a new formation. They quickly reverted to their familiar 4-3-3 after the break, and put in a much more fluid performance.
    Iran’s goalless draw with Nigeria was very dull, and no doubt they will try to stifle the opposition again on Saturday.
    Argentina are somewhat more potent than Nigeria however, and in Messi, Di Maria and Aguero they possess probably the best forward line in these Finals.
    There have been a number of surprising results in this tournament so far. Don’t expect one here.
    BETS Argentina To Win To Nil (4/7)
    L Messi To Score First

    Bosnia v Nigeria
    Bosnia can take a big step to reaching the next stage with a victory over a limited Nigeria.
    Bosnia have a solid spine, a creative midfield with Pjanic pulling the strings. and two dangerous forwards in Dzeko and Ibisevic.
    Nigeria lacked the guile to open up a stubborn Iran defence in their opener, and for all their energy, they lack quality.
    BET-Bosnia to beat Nigeria (19/20)

    Group G
    Germany v Ghana
    Germany made short work of a poor Portugal side, helped by the sending-off of the idiotic Pepe.
    They scored four times even without a recognised striker in the line-up, with Thomas Muller staking an early claim for the Golden Boot with a well-taken hat-trick.
    Ghana were surprisingly beaten by USA, but could cause Germany a few problems at the back, with the experienced Gyan supported by a classy midfield.
    BET T Muller To Score At Anytime (4/5)
    Saturday Double Argentina & Germany Both To Win (8/15)

    Group H
    Belgium v Russia
    The talented Belgians struggled in their opening game against Algeria, before showing the depth of their squad, with both substitutes scoring late on to win the match.
    Russia looked very ordinary in a dull draw with South Korea, and despite being well-organised, they lack creativity.
    If Belgium are on their game from the first whistle, they should have enough quality to break down the Russian defence, and take a big step towards the last 16.
    BET Belgium to beat Russia (21/20)

    Algeria v South Korea
    Second place is up for grabs in this Group, and both of these sides will fancy their chances of progressing with a win in this match.
    Hopefully that will lead to an open game, and a few goals.
    Algeria played very well against Belgium, and could edge this at a good price of 5/2. For those more cautious they are 813 to avoid defeat (Double Chance) .
    BETS Algeria to bt South Korea (5/2)
    Both Teams To Score (11/10)

    Group G
    Portugal v USA
    Portugal were uncharacteristically shambolic in their hammering by Germany, and seemed to throw the towel in long before the end.Their qualification was based on a solid defence, a hard-working midfield, and a superstar forward.None of these was in evidence in that game, and surely a big improvement will be forthcoming.
    A lot depends obviously, on the fitness of Ronaldo, he looked well off the pace on Monday.
    USA surprised us all with their victory over Ghana, as we thought they would struggle in this Group, and they will have their eyes on second place behind Germany.
    The attitude of the Portuguese will be all-important, and if they are up for the challenge, then their extra quality should secure them the win.
    BETS Portugal to bt USA (5/)
    Both Teams To Score (4/5)
    Ronaldo To Score At Anytime (8/11-Bet365)

    Profile photo of stephen

    This week will see the final games of the group stages, with four games per day up to Thursday.
    Group A
    Brazil v Cameroon
    Brazil haven’t hit the heights yet, and shouldn’t need to against a poor Cameroon side. The host nation should win comfortably and are a very short price to do so, and finding a value bet is difficult.
    Neymar is 5/2 to score first, and 8/15 to net within the ninety minutes, and Brazil are 4/9 to win on the handicap giving up one goal.. All of these are very possible, but we’ll risk Paulinho getting on the scoresheet, as he has an eye for goal. Also Cameroon have failed to score in their two games, and aren’t likely to have too many opportunities to change that.
    BETS Brazil To Win To Nil (8/13)
    Paulinho To Score At Anytime (10/3)

    Croatia v Mexico
    Croatia need to win to leapfrog Mexico and reach the last 16, whereas a draw will suit the Mexicans. They achieved that against Brazil, thanks mainly to the heroics of their ‘keeper, and he could be in for another busy match against the talented Croats.
    Mario Mandzukic returned in Croatia’s comfortable victory against Cameroon, and will fancy his chances of adding to his tally, with the brilliant Modric and excellent Rakitic looking to control the midfield.
    They were unlucky not to get a point in their opener against Brazil, but they have enough quality to overcome a spirited Mexico side, and reach the next phase.
    BETS Croatia To Beat Mexico (17/10)
    Mandzukic To Score Anytime (7/4)

    Group B
    Australia v Spain
    Spain have been awful, with even their famed passing game deserting them, and it’s difficult to know if they have the heart for this final game.
    Australia , by contrast, have been excellent and entertaining, though they will miss their talisman, Tim Cahill, through suspension.They deserve to get something out of this tournament, and they may get it against the holders.
    BET Both Teams To Score (4/5)

    Chile v Holland
    Both of these are through, but with the winners of the Group likely to avoid Brazil in the next round, there is a lot at stake.
    Holland were sensational against Spain, but rather less so against Australia, and will be without Robin Van Persie due to suspension.
    Chile were excellent against Spain-all through the side-and a repeat of that performance will see them win this, and top the group.
    BET Chile To Beat Holland (15/8)

    It may pay to cover the draw in the Croatia and Chile games, and add Brazil to win to make a treble.

    BET-Brazil To Win
    Croatia To Win/Draw (Double Chance)
    Chile To Win/Draw (Double Chance)
    Treble pays 7/5

    Profile photo of stephen

    Hi all Tues June 24th
    Groups C & D play their final games on Tuesday.
    Group C
    Greece v Ivory Coast
    The ultra-defensive Greeks followed up a 3-0 defeat to Colombia with a dull, but gutsy goalless draw with Japan, having been reduced to ten men early on.
    They didn’t show any ambition to win the game, and now need to beat Ivory Coast to have a chance of making the last 16.
    A point would see the Ivorians through, and they have enough forward strength, and midfield quality to get all three,
    BET Ivory Coast to beat Greece (11/10)

    Japan v Colombia
    Colombia have comfortably qualified for the next stage after two wins, and should see off a disappointing Japan side, who failed to break down a stubborn Greek team despite having a man advantage for most of the match.
    Japan’s forward play is normally their strength, and both teams to score is 4/5.
    Colombia might rest a few players , but bthey should still be too strong, and look a decent price to make it nine points.
    BET Colombia to beat Japan (7/5)

    Group D
    Costa Rica v England
    Costa Rica have been the surprise package of these Finals, deservedly beating the mighty Uruguay and Italy.Their teamwork, energy and attacking quality has seen them belie odds of 101 to qualify from this Group-they were 501 to win it!
    England have been let down by defensive errors, and a lack of creativity and guile going forward.Roy Hodgson has made a lot of changes for this game, bringing in the youngsters, and if Costa Rica rest a few of their players then England might well get the win.
    There should be a few goals and if Adam Lallana plays just behind Sturridge, he is good value to score anytime at 5/1.
    BETS England to beat Costa Rica (10/11)
    D Sturridge to score anytime (85)
    Both Teams To Score (4/5)

    Uruguay v Italy
    Uruguay put a dismal performance against Costa Rica behind them to beat England,
    Italy played well against England, but were shocking against Costa Rica.They just need a point to make the last 16, and are past masters at playing for a draw.
    However, Uruguay have Suarez and Cavani on their side, and most of the crowd, and that might tip the balance in their favour.
    BET Uruguay to beat Italy (15/8)

    BET Colombia & Uruguay Double Chance (Win/Draw Cover)
    Double Pays 11/10

    Profile photo of stephen

    Hi all Wed June 25th
    Group E
    France v Ecuador
    France have been one of the most impressive teams so far, starting quickly and scoring plenty of goals-eight so far.One of our tips for top scorer, Karim Benzema(33/1) has scored three times already, missed a penalty, and had another disallowed.He should relish playing against the suspect Ecuador defence, and France should make it nine points out of nine.
    Ecuador are lively going forward with Enner Valencia also amongst the goals.
    France to win and both teams to score is a tempting 11/4.
    BET France to beat Switzerland (5/6)
    K Benzema to score anytime (Evens)

    Honduras v Switzerland
    Switzerland took a beating from France last time, going 5-0 down before a couple of late goals made the scoreline slightly more respectable.Unbeaten in qualifying, Switzerland would have got a wake-up call from that defeat, and should see off Honduras, and so progress to the last 16.
    Honduras put on an improved display against Ecuador, after being thrashed by France, and their physical approach might cause Switzerland a few problems. but the Swiss should win.
    BEt Switzerland to beat Honduras (4/9)

    Group F
    Bosnia v Iran
    Surprisingly the talented Bosnians are out, and unfancied Iran are still in with a shout of progressing to the next stage.
    They need to win this and hope Argentina beat Nigeria-no forlorn hope.
    Iran are built on sound defence, and have only been breached once in the opening two games-a bit of Messi magic in added time.They were dangerous on the break in that Argentina game, and if Bosnia are not up for this they may well get the win they need.
    I’d rather back Iran at 11/4 than Bosnia at 23/20.
    Iran to win 1-0 is also good value at 9/1.
    Ibisevic has looked dangerous coming off the bench for Bosnia, and if he starts he looks most blikely to score for them (13/2 1st scorer, 11/5 anytime)
    This is hard to call but we think Iran have showed enough to avoid defeat at least.
    BET Iran Double Chance (Draw/Win Cover) at 3/4.

    Argentina v Nigeria
    Argentina have not produced their best form yet, and needed a wonder strike from Lionel Messi to get the victory over Iran on Saturday.
    Nigeria are solid, if unspectacular, and improved on their first game to beat Bosnia. They just need a point to reach the last 16.
    However, Argentina will have massive support, and their attacking quality should see them secure all three points.
    BET Argentina to beat Nigeria (4/7)
    L Messi to score anytime (4/5)

    Profile photo of Darren

    Good write ups Stephen, some winners in there I see, are you up or down?

    Profile photo of stephen

    Hi all Thurs June 26th
    So now we’ve reached the end of the first stage, with the final games of Groups G & H.
    Group G
    USa v Germany
    A draw would see both sides progress to the last 16, but don’t expect any contrived result even though both managers are German.
    USA have been one of the surprises of the tournament, and would already be through, but for conceding a last minute equaliser to Portugal on Sunday.
    Germany were excellent against Portugal, but a bit sloppy in their draw with Ghana-Miroslav Klose coming off the bench to salvage a point.
    There should be goals (Both To Score is 8/11) and Germany’s extra quality should see them win and top the Group.(German Win & Both To Score is 11/4)
    BET Germany to beat USA (8/11)

    Portugal v Ghana
    Portugal have been disappointing and would already be out , but for rescuing a point against USA in the last minute.As it is they would need an unlikely turnaround in goal difference to progress. even if they beat Ghana.That’s not a given with Ronaldo not looking fully fit, and yet to score.
    Ghana are always likely to get goals, and there should be a few in this match.
    BET Both Teams To Score (4/7)
    Ronaldo To Score Anytime (10/11)

    Group H
    Algeria v Russia
    Algeria bounced back from their slightly unlucky defeat to Belgium, with a fine 4-2 win over South Korea, and now require just one point to reach the next stage.
    Russia have been hard to beat, but uninspiring, and are the favourites to beat Algeria and leapfrog them to the last 16.
    We don’t see it that way, and would rather back Algeria to win at 114, than 54 the Russians. The momentum is with them, and they should do enough to secure second place in the Group.
    BET Algeria Double Chance (Win/Draw Cover) at 3/4.

    South Korea v Belgium
    Belgium have acquired six points without looking entirely convincing, and should beat a defensively poor South Korea.
    Both teams to score is (10/11) and Belgium to win with both teams scoring is 3/1,both possible, as the Koreans are good going forward, but conceding four goals against the hardly prolific Algeria, doesn’t read too well defensively.
    BET Belgium to beat South Korea (3/4)

    up just

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