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Match Previews


20 June 2014

With England now relying on the results of others to remain at the World Cup all eyes will be on the 5pm kick-off on Friday.

Italy (4/7) take on Costa Rica (11/2) in Group D and Roy Hodgson’s side will be watching it knowing that if the two sides draw (3/1), England will be on the first flight home on Wednesday. 

Andrea Pirlo had an outstanding game for Italy last Saturday against England and he orchestrated their opening goal. 

Despite not being known for his goal scoring ability the highly popular Italian is 10/1 to score first. 

Costa Rica really surprised everyone at the World Cup last week when they came from behind to beat Uruguay 3-1.

However, the question that is on the lips of many, was that win a fluke?

Only time will tell.

For Friday evening’s match they are 22/1 to win the match by exactly two goals while they are 50/1 to win the match 3-1.

A win for the Italians, which is the best result for England if we are still to be in with a chance of progressing into the next round, is the most likely outcome with the bookmakers.

For Italy to win 2-1 SkyBet are offering odds of 15/2 while a 4-0 victory, which will seriously dent Costa Rica’s goal difference is 25/1.

Friday’s second fixture at the World Cup sees Switzerland take on France in Group E.

Didier Deschamps’ side obliterated Honduras in their opening group game and they are odds on favourites to win their second match.

They are 10/11 to win while Switzerland are 100/30 for the victory and the draw is 5/2. 

France have one of the tightest defences in international football having only conceded one goal in their last six matches.

The 1998 World Cup winners are 21/10 to keep a sixth clean sheet in seven matches and they are 16/1 to win the match 3-0.

Karim Benzema scored a brace during the 3-0 win over Honduras last week and he is 5/1 to do that again. 

The last time France and Switzerland met in a World Cup the match ended in a goalless draw while the past three meetings have all ended in stalemate. 

A 1-1, 2-2 or 3-3 draw is priced at 7/2 in the group betting while any other draw is also priced at 7/2.

The 11pm kick-off on Friday sees Honduras take on Ecuador.  

The physical Honduras side could be heading out of the World Cup with a defeat and all the odds are stacked against them.

Honduras are 9/2 outsiders, while Ecuador are 8/13 favourites and the draw is 3/1. 

England played both these sides in are part of their World Cup warm up schedule and drew them both. 

Therefore if both sides are on their game tonight a tight contest is expected.

A scoreless draw is priced at 10/1 while a 1-1 draw is 6/1.

Moving on to the first of Saturday’s matches and it should be a routine win for Argentina who face Iran.

The South American side are heavy favourites at 1/10 while Carlos Queiroz’s side are highly priced at 25/1 and the draw is 15/2.

Queiroz, who will leave his post as manager of Iran after the World Cup, saw his side unexpectedly hold Nigeria to a draw in their opening game. 

With Lionel Messi in the ranks of the Argentina squad they could run riot tonight. 

Any Argentina win and Messi to score at any time is 4/9.

However SkyBet have priced them at 80/1 for Messi to score first and Argentina to win 7-0. 

It’s unlikely, as the price suggests, but anything can happen at the World Cup.

The 8pm kick-off on Saturday sees a highly favoured Germany side take on Ghana. 

Germany thrashed Portugal 4-0 in their opening game last week and another high scoring game could be on the cards against a Ghanaian side that lost to the underdogs Americans. 

Germany are 2/7 for the win while Ghana are 8/1 and the draw is 4/1. 

Thomas Muller, who was lucky not to be sent off against Portugal, scored a hat-trick. He is 14/1 to score his second hat-trick of the tournament while he is 11/4 to score the first goal. 

Both Germany’s and Ghana’s first matches in the tournament saw over 2.5 goals. 

It is odds (8/15) on with SkyBet that we’ll see over 2.5 goals again this weekend while it’s 11/8 that we’ll see less than 2.5 goals. 

Saturday’s final match sees Bosnia and Herzegovina take on Nigeria. 

The European side that came close against Argentina are favourites for the match at 4/5 while Nigeria are 100/30 outsiders. 

The draw is 13/5. 

Edin Dzeko had an excellent season for Manchester City as they won the Premier League title and he is the clear favourite to score the opening goal on Saturday night. 

He is 7/2 to score the first or last goal of the game and he is 10/11 to score in the 90 minutes. 

For Nigeria Peter Odemwingie is one of the favourites to score the first goal, however, he has struggled to find the back of the net over the past 12 months. 

He is 8/1 to score first and 16/1 to score a brace. 

Following the three matches on Sunday every team at this summer’s tournament will have played two matches.

The 5pm kick-off on Sunday sees Belgium take on Russia.

The highly fancied European side came from behind to win in their opening game. 

Belgium are 10/11 to win while Russia are 3/1 to claim maximum points and the draw is priced at 12/5.

Marc Wilmots’ side are 14/1 to win the match 3-0 while Fabio Capello’s Russia are 12/1 to win 2-1.

Romelu Lukaku has been in top form for club and country over the past year and he is 7/2 to score the opening goal of the game. 

The penultimate game in the second round of fixtures features South Korea and Algeria. 

Korea are the ante-post favourites at 13/10 while Algeria are 21/10 and the draw is 9/4. 

Both sides need a win to give themselves the best chance of progressing into the second round. 

That could make for an interesting game and SkyBet have priced it at 33/1 for Algeria to lead at half time and South Korea to win the match. 

South Korea are priced at 3/1 to win the match and with less than 2.5 goals to be scored during the game while the price is 4/1 for exactly the same outcome but for Algeria to win the game.

The final game of the weekend sees the USA take on Portugal. 

Despite suffering a 4-0 thrashing in their first game Portugal remain odds on favourites for the game. 

They are 8/11 to win the game while the USA are 7/2 for the win.

The draw is priced at 14/5.

With Cristiano Ronaldo an injury concern for Portugal they might find goals hard to come by. 

An under 2.5 goals during in the game bet has odds of 10/11 and an over 2.5 goals bet is priced at 4/5. 

Once these games are completed we will have a clearer idea of what teams are likely to progressing through to the next round of the World Cup.

Tournament Tips: 
GROUP D: Italy v Costa Rica: Italy to win to nil – 6/4
GROUP E: Switzerland v France: France to win by exactly two goals – 4/1
       Ecuador v Honduras: Draw 1-1 – 11/2
GROUP F: Argentina v Iran: Argentina to score five or more goals – 9/2
        Nigeria v Bosnia and Herzegovina: Bosnia to win 2-1 – 15/2
GROUP G: Germany v Ghana: Germany to win 3-0 – 15/2
       USA v Portugal: United States to win – 7/2
GROUP H: Belgium v Russia: Belgium to win and less than 2.5 goals to be scored - /2
       South Korea v Algeria: Algeria to win 2-1 – 10/1

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