Football / Preview / World Cup Day Two

World Cup: Day Two

England v USA is the highlight of Saturday’s action which also includes South Korea v Greece and Argentina v Nigeria.

England's Wayne Rooney




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Korea Republic (Bettorlogic rank 38) v Greece (27) (Sat, 12:30)

These two teams have arguably produced the two biggest international shocks of the last 20 years – Korea Republic in reaching the semi-finals of the 2002 World Cup and Greece in winning Euro 2004. Unfortunately, they are also two of the most negative teams in world football.

Korea Republic are competing in their seventh consecutive World Cup, but if past trends are anything to go by they may struggle. They have won just one of 15 such games played outside of their home nation with nine defeats and six losses by two clear goals. Furthermore, they are winless in 10 World Cup fixtures against teams with a Bettorlogic rank of 11-30 and eight of the games settled the -2.5 goals market.

Greece’s only other appearance at the World Cup was USA 1994 when they lost all three group games, conceding 10 goals and scoring none. Including European Championships, Greece have won just one of 12 group stage finals matches since 1980 with nine defeats. Moreover, they have scored more than one goal on just one occasion – their 2-1 win over Portugal in 2004.

Recommendation: -2.0 goals 1.98, Ladbrokes


Argentina (10) v Nigeria (40) (Sat, 15:00)

Most people consider Argentina’s largest obstacle to be their manager Diego Maradona, however his experience, on a playing level at least, surely counts for something. It has also eluded some articles also that his team have been blessed with one of the kindest draws possible. This should give Maradona a chance to find his best XI, if he hasn’t already, while showcasing the wonderful attacking talents Argentina have to offer. Remember that Maradona can pick any two, three or possibly even four of Carlos Tevez Gonzalo Higuain, Diego Milito, Angel di Maria, Sergio Aguero and Ballon d’Or incumbent Lionel Messi..

Argentina have won 13/16 finals group stage matches since 1998 with nine W/Ws and eight victories by two clear goals. They have also been successful in eight consecutive finals games against teams ranked 31-50 and in all of their last three fixtures against African countries. In five of Argentina’s last six tournament finals they’ve scored three or more goals in at least one of their group matches and on four occasions they have netted more than seven times in their three games.

Nigeria scraped through qualifying to reach this year’s World Cup and although they reached the semis of the African Cup of Nations this year, they lost three of their six matches with just two wins; both of which came in the group stage against Benin and Mozambique. The Super Eagles have been beaten in four of five winless World Cup fixtures and they have won just one of five games against top-10 ranked teams. Their preparations for the tournament were dealt a severe blow when Chelsea’s John Obi Mikel was ruled out.

Recommendations: Argentina Win -1.5 2.15, Bet365
                                     Argentina to score 7+ group goals 2.38, Sportingbet


England (4) v USA (12) (Sat, 19:30)

England and the USA have not met at a World Cup since Brazil 1950 when the USA recorded a shock 1-0 victory in the group stage. Thankfully, England fans will not expect Fabio Capello to do as Walter Winterbottom did and leave his best player on the bench for the duration of the game. Wayne Rooney will surely play a more significant role in Rustenburg than Stanley Mathews did in Belo Horizonte.

England qualified with an unparalleled ease for South Africa, but they have since reverted to their third-choice captain following John Terry’s well-documented personal problems and more recently Rio Ferdinand’s knee injury. This will be England’s first finals match since they were knocked out on penalties by Portugal in Germany four years ago. England have won six of their 12 group stage fixtures this century and they have been leading at the break on eight occasions. They are also undefeated in their last seven finals matches against lower-ranked opposition with five wins and five HT leads. Interestingly, no top-five ranked side has drawn their opening World Cup game since 1990, with 14 wins and four defeats from 18 such games.

The USA are odds-on to qualify from Group C, but their price should drift if they lose their opener. As such, bettors planning on backing the Americans to progress to the second round should wait until after this game if they think, as most do, that England will emerge victorious. The USA have a dreadful finals record of W5-D5-L20 over the past two decades which has included 15 L/L doubles. Furthermore, they have been beaten in five of their last six such matches against top-10 ranked teams with four L/Ls and four losses-to-nil.

Recommendation: England W/W 2.38, Extrabet


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