Football / Preview / World Cup Day Four

World Cup: Day Four

Day four of the World Cup sees the opening matches in Group E while Italy start the defence of their title against Paraguay in the evening match.

Dutch players celebrating




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Netherlands (Bettorlogic Rank 3) v Denmark (20) (Mon, 12:30)

The Netherlands qualified with a perfect record and boast one of the most potent attacks in the competition with Robin van Persie, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Wesley Schneider and Arjen Robben all available to Bert van Marwijk, and Ruud van Nistelrooy not even making the squad.

The Dutch have only qualified for six of the past 10 World Cups but have always made it out of their group when they’ve done so; twice finishing runners-up, once third, once beaten quarter-finalists and twice last 16 exits. Overall they’ve won eight and lost only two of 18 group games and won half their 12 finals matches against teams with a Bettorlogic rank of 11-30 (W12-D4-L2) with five wins by two clear goals. Including European Championships since 1970, the Oranje have played seven opening finals matches against teams ranked 11-30 and are unbeaten with a perfect defensive record as they’ve recorded five wins-to-nil and six of the games have had fewer than three goals. Furthermore, they conceded just two goals in qualifying and have been one of the more impressive sides in recent warm-up matches.

This is Denmark’s fourth World Cup since 1986 and they’ve also qualified for the knockouts on each occasion. However, they’ve lost four of their six finals matches against top-10 teams and 10 of 17 such matches when also including European Championships, of which six have been to-nil and six by two clear goals. They’ve also failed to win any of five such matches when it’s been their opening game as they’ve failed to score four times. Moreover, while Denmark qualified above Portugal they scored just five goals in their last five games in what was a relatively poor group and they’ve suffered 1-0 defeats in their last two warm-up matches against Australia and South Africa.

Recommendation: Netherlands Win to nil 2.50, Ladbrokes


Japan (43) v Cameroon (33) (Mon, 15:00)

This is Japan’s fourth consecutive World Cup although they’ve only once made it through to the knockout stages – when they hosted in 2002. However, their opponents also have a poor record of making it out of the groups as the Indomitable Lions have advanced past the groups in just one of their previous five World Cups and these two are the outsiders to progress.

Japan are struggling for form having won only one of six matches this year – against Bahrain – and have recently been more prolific at finding their own net with three own goals in their last two friendlies. Worryingly for Japan, they’ve taken just one point from six group matches not on home soil, including defeats in both matches against teams ranked 31-50. However, they’ve been level at half-time in six of their 10 World Cup matches since 1998.

Cameroon’s hopes will largely sit on the shoulders of Samuel Eto’o – the all-time leading scorer in African Nations Cup – although his red card in a recent friendly against Portugal highlights the discipline problems that could derail Cameroon. However, they’ve lost only five of 17 finals matches (W3-D9-L5) including winning their only match that was against a team ranked outside the top 30. Including Cup of Nations matches Cameroon have played 10 finals matches against teams ranked 31-50 with eight being level at half-time.

Recommendation: HT Draw 2.10, Coral


Italy (6) v Paraguay (14) (Mon, 19:30)

Italy won their fourth World Cup four years ago in Germany and are the only nation other than Brazil to have had consecutive triumphs (in 1934 and 1938). Marcello Lippi can call on an experienced squad with a number of players from four years ago returning, including captain Fabio Cannavaro. However, the backline is largely made up of Juventus players and after a very forgettable season for the Old Lady the Azzurri defence may be beginning to creak.

Italy’s World Cup pedigree is unquestionable as they’ve made every World Cup since 1970, winning two, reaching two more finals and also two further semi-finals, while they’ve only once failed to make it past the first group stage (in 1974). They also have a good record against teams ranked 11-30 of 12 wins and only two defeats in 22 matches, although they’ve won only four of 12, with seven draws (six 1-1s), back to 1982 when on neutral soil, and just two of seven (W2-D5-L0) since 2002 including European Championships. Italy have also had fewer than three goals in 19 of their last 25 finals matches against teams ranked 11-30, although just six have had fewer than two. Furthermore, just four of the last 10 defending champions have won their opening match (W4-D3-L3) with two of those winners being Brazilian teams.

This is Paraguay’s fifth World Cup since 1986 and their fourth in a row, with them twice making the second round. Paraguay qualified third in the South American qualifiers, just one point behind Brazil and ahead of Argentina and Uruguay, as only Brazil had a better defensive record. Moreover, since 1998, they’ve lost only five of 18 group matches at World Cups and Copa Americas (W7-D6-L5). However, they’ve lost two of three World Cup group matches against top-10 ranked teams with one draw and two of the games had fewer than two goals.

Recommendation: Drawn match 3.30, Totesport

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