cnotes Posts:33375 Followers:38
On 06/04/2014 10:45 PM in NFL

Cnotes WCup - Group Breakdown

WCup - Group Breakdown

May 27, 2014

Confederation Breakdown

Now that we have laid out which teams are in this year’s competition & broken down which confederations have the most success let’s jump into group analysis. In this article we are going to examine each team and give some color behind their chances this year.

Group A
Prior World Cup Finishes
Country Region 2010 2006 2002 1998 1994 Rank
MEXICO CONCACAF 16 16 16 16 - 19

Brazil heads into this year’s competition as the host nation & clearly the favorite to hoist the trophy – especially considering the pounding they put on Spain in Brazil last summer. Brazil has failed to meet expectations in each of the last two World Cups bowing out in the QF round each time – and will be a hungry nation this year – in a relatively weak group expect them to advance. The 2nd team to advance from this group could really be any of the other three, with Cameroon the least likely. Mexico has reached the knockout stage in each of the last four World Cups and thus is likely the favorite to finish 2nd – however they certainly played a less than inspiring qualification having to compete vs. New Zealand in a playoff to earn the final spot. Croatia missed out on the last World Cup & has failed to reach the knockout stage since their 1998 team lost in the semifinals – but they are the only UEFA team in this group which could give them a small edge in chances of advancing. I expect that second spot to come down to the final game of group stage, June 23rd between Mexico & Croatia and give Croatia the edge.

Group B
Prior World Cup Finishes
Country Region 2010 2006 2002 1998 1994 Rank
CHILE CONMEBOL 16 - - 16 - 13
AUSTRALIA OFC G 16 - - - 59

In one of the stronger groups sans Australia Group B will be very competitive with Chile likely trying to bounce one of the two UEFA powerhouses to reach the knockout stage. Australia did shock the world by advancing to the knockout stage in 2006 Germany, but the deck is really stacked against them this time around. Defending World Cup & UEFA Champions Spain are currently ranked #1, and despite more failures than successes in the World Cup they finally broke through in South Africa to win the title – and thus with virtually the same team have to be considered one of the favorites again. Netherlands, who lost to Spain in the 2010 Championship game, are the 2nd UEFA team in this group but actually have a lower FIFA rank than Chile; these two figure to battle it out for the 2nd knockout stage bid from this group, and Chile may have the slight advantage with lots of home fans & what figures to be a weather edge playing in some hot & steamy conditions most likely.

Group C
Prior World Cup Finishes
Country Region 2010 2006 2002 1998 1994 Rank
GREECE UEFA G - - - G 10
JAPAN AFC 16 G 16 G - 47

Group C is clearly one of the weaker groups on paper with a team reaching the knockout stage in just 2 of 20 chances (going back five World Cups) – and one of those was the year the Cup was played in Japan & Japan advanced losing in the Round of 16. No team has reached the Quarterfinal round of the World Cup since at least 1990 – so we will have two very happy countries once this year’s group stage is played out. Colombia is the top ranked team according to FIFA checking in at #5 in the World, yet they have not played in a World Cup since 1998 France! Greece checks in at #10 in the World & has had some recent success reaching the group stage in 2010 South Africa & being the last team not named Spain to win Euro (2004). But let’s be honest – that success isn’t overbearing or too relevant considering that Euro title was 10 years ago! Ivory Coast has reached the group stage in each of the last two competitions, but has failed to advance. Japan is the only team that has advanced past a group stage, doing so last time in 2010 South Africa & in 2002 Japan – but they easily have the worst FIFA ranking checking in at #47. This group really is wide open but at this moment I would give the edges to advancing to Greece & Colombia considering CAF has only had one team advance in each of the last 5 World Cups (I believe Nigeria & Cameroon have better chances at advancing than Ivory Coast), and Japan seems to have overachieved in two of the last three World Cups meaning they may fall back some.

Group D
Prior World Cup Finishes
Country Region 2010 2006 2002 1998 1994 Rank

Group D is the 2nd strongest when taking a pure average of the FIFA rankings, but on paper they certainly have the most name recognition and dangerous squads – but are the teams as good as the names suggest this time around? I am not so sure. Uruguay figures to be a dangerous squad with how well Suarez is playing, their success in 2010 South Africa & the fact this year’s competition will take place in South America – but how come they struggled so mightily in qualification, needing to win a playoff to secure their spot? England & Italy are two powerhouse names from UEFA, but when taking a closer look outside Italy’s win in 2006 Germany neither has advanced past the Quarterfinal round since Italy’s 2nd place finish in 1994 USA. Italy has a lot of roster turnover of late, especially when comparing to their 2006 Championship team, and may be too young & inexperienced to battle for a championship this year. England also has a changed roster from recent competitions, but some of their key pieces are still in place – albeit aging. Costa Rica could be a dangerous team in this group, clearly perceived as the worst of the group having missed out on qualifying from the last World Cup & being eliminated in the group stage in the two Cups before that. This is another tough group to call, but right now I will give the edge to Uruguay to win the group, with Italy likely to secure the other bid to the knockout stage – but I frankly would not be shocked seeing any of these 4 teams advance to the next stage.

Group E
Prior World Cup Finishes
Country Region 2010 2006 2002 1998 1994 Rank

This is another group I would classify as relatively weak despite it rating mid-class when using FIFA rankings compared to other groups. Switzerland is rated tops in this group but hasn’t had any success in the World Cup to write home about – they have only made the competition three times of the last five (granted they have reached the last two), topping out in the Round of 16 at Germany in 2006. France, another UEFA squad, is certainly on the downswing of late, checking in the FIFA rankings at #16, failing to get out of the group stage in 2 of their last 3 appearances since winning it all at home in 1998. The group is rounded out with CONMEBOL country Ecuador, who has made the competition only twice of the last five including missing it last time, while Honduras is making its second appearance since 1994, going out in the group stage of 2010 South Africa. I could really see any of these four teams advancing here – and will likely be playing whoever has the best odds to advance (my next article, as mentioned above, will focus on odds and good bets). For this exercise I will project France & Switzerland to advance.

Group F
Prior World Cup Finishes
Country Region 2010 2006 2002 1998 1994 Rank
BOS & HERZ UEFA - - - - - 25
IRAN AFC - G - G - 37
NIGERIA CAF G - G 16 16 44

Group F is easily the weakest group when using the FIFA rankings as Argentina is the only team ranked in the Top 24 of the world, and also the only team that has advanced to the knockout stage since Nigeria reached the single elimination tournament in 1998 & 1994. There is no question to me Argentina has some demons to exercise in this year’s competition & will play well leading to an easy advance – perhaps the easiest of any team. The 2nd spot from this group is likely to come from the winner of the middle game on June 21 between Bosnia & Herzegovina vs. Nigeria; I would give the slight edge to Nigeria considering they are the more experienced team & have underachieved in the last few World Cups.

Group G
Prior World Cup Finishes
Country Region 2010 2006 2002 1998 1994 Rank
GHANA CAF QF 16 - - - 38

In the toughest region if using average FIFA world rank as the metric Group G is this year’s “Group of Death” – frankly an overused term but I will join the rank & file by using it here. UEFA power Germany leads this group checking in at #2 in the world, having reached at least the QF round in each of the last 5 World Cups including playing in the SF round or Championship game in the last three years. With much of the same team I expect Germany to certainly advance to the knockout stage. The 2nd spot could arguably come from any of the remaining three teams with each reaching the knockout stage in the last World Cup, and each competing in the last two World Cups. Ghana has to be considered the longest shot considering the success of CAF teams recently, and a low FIFA ranking of #38. Portugal should be hungry after only reaching the Round of 16 last time out following a SF loss in 2006 Germany, while the Americans are seeking to at least reach the QF round for the first time since Japan 2002. I like this US team – I certainly feel this is the best team we have put forth perhaps ever, but the group will do us no favors. At least one CONCACAF team has advanced to the knockout stage in each of the last 5 World Cups, thus I will project USA to come in 2nd here (Mexico has been far too inconsistent for my liking).

Group H
Prior World Cup Finishes
Country Region 2010 2006 2002 1998 1994 Rank
BELGIUM UEFA - - 16 G 16 12
ALGERIA CAF G - - - - 25
RUSSIA UEFA - - G - G 18

In the 2nd easiest group (only to Group F) according to FIFA rankings – but perhaps the easiest considering how much Argentina is impacting the average ranking of Group F – Group H is wide open and ironically the lowest ranked team in the competition South Korea has enjoyed the most success by far of the four teams in this group! Over the last two World Cups outside the aforementioned South Korea only one of the other three teams Algeria has even played in a World Cup – and they were knocked out in the group stage in 2010 South Africa. Belgium is making its first appearance since 2002 Japan & they are led by Vincent Kompany – who led Manchester City to BPL titles in 2 of the last 3 years. Russia is also a dangerous team from UEFA checking in at #18 in the FIFA world rankings despite not making a World Cup appearance since Japan 2002 where it bowed out in the group stage. At the end of the day despite not having much recent success I feel both UEFA teams are the ones to beat here – and they will ultimately advance to the knockout stage with Belgium winning the group.

Based on those predictions here is what the knockout stage bracket would look like:

Round of 16:
Brazil vs. Chile
Greece vs. Italy
France vs Nigeria
Germany vs. Russia
Spain vs. Croatia
Uruguay vs. Colombia
Argentina vs. Switzerland
Belgium vs. USA

Brazil vs. Italy
Nigeria vs. Germany
Spain vs. Uruguay
Argentina vs. Belgium

Brazil vs. Germany
Uruguay vs. Argentina

Brazil vs. Argentina (Winner - Brazil)

Not only did I lay out what the bracket would look like based on my projections for the group stage I also went ahead and predicted the outcome of each game in the knockout stage leading to the champion being Brazil. Nothing bold there certainly, but I really feel like this is the year Brazil breaks through and wins its first title since 2002. Here is the breakdown by region for my 2014 projections using the matrix I introduced in the beginning of this article:

2014 Predictions
CONCACAF 1 1 - - -
CONMEBOL 5 3 3 2 1
UEFA 9 3 1 - -
AFC - - - - -
CAF 1 1 - - -
OFC - - - - -

As you can see & compare to above it’s very similar to the breakdowns we have seen in the past – which is an important exercise to visually see making it “more likely” your projections have a chance at coming true. Sure many of the UEFA teams feel like favorites & they will be tough outs – but we will likely see about half the Round of 16 made of UEFA teams – the rest coming from other regions.

Weather could play a big part in this year’s Cup because it’s likely to be very hot & humid – something the European teams aren’t familiar with playing in often. That is likely to be an edge to CAF & CONMEBOL squads – meaning we could see a surprise or two from those two regions advancing deep into the knockout stage.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33375 Followers:38
06/04/2014 10:47 PM

U.S. World Cup Props

June 1, 2014

The 2014 World Cup from Brazil begins on Thursday June 12 with group play as 32 teams go head-to-head on the soccer pitch.

The United States will open its group play on Monday June 16 against Ghana from Natal, Brazil.

Based on the numbers below, oddsmakers at expect the first game for the U.S. to be very tight. Ghana has eliminated the United States in both of the last two World Cups – in the group stage of 2006 and in the Round of 16 during the 2010 tournament.

World Cup 2014 Lines (6/16/14)
Ghana +150
USA +140
DRAW +220
Over 2.5 (+140)
Under 2.5 (-160)

Prior to the opening game, bettors can take advantage of proposition wagers for the United States at

Odds to win Group G
Germany 4/7
Portugal 27/10
USA 9/1
Ghana 10/1

Will USA qualify from Group G?
YES +250
NO -450

Stage of Elimination
Group Stage3/10
2nd Round11/4
Quarter Final14/1
Semi- Final40/1
Runner Up125/1

Total Group G points for USA
0 - Point7/2
1 - Point10/3
2 - Points15/2
3 - Points10/3
4 - Points4/1
5 - Points20/1
6 - Points12/1
7 - Points28/1
9 - Points105/1

Over/Under Group G Points for USA
Over 2.5 (-145)
Under 2.5 (+105)

Over/Under Group Stage Goals Scored for USA
Over 2.5 (-130)
Under 2.5 (+100)

Over/Under Group Stage Goals Allowed for USA
Over 4.5 (-125)
Under 4.5 (-110)

Top Goal Scorer for USA
Clint Dempsey 15/8
Jozy Altidore 4/1
Chris Wondolowski 6/1
No USA Goalscorer 12/1
Michael Bradley 16/1
Aron Johannsson 16/1
Kyle Beckerman 25/1
Da Marcus Beasley 30/1
Mikkel Diskerud 30/1
Graham Zusi 30/1
Omar Gonzalez 33/1
Brad Davis 33/1
Jermaine Jones 40/1
Julian Green 40/1
Matt Besler 40/1
John Brooks 40/1
Alejandro Bedoya 50/1
Timmy Chandler 66/1
Fabian johnson 66/1
DeAndre Yedlin 66/1
Geoff Cameron 66/1

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33375 Followers:38
06/04/2014 10:51 PM

Tickets for top WCup matches sell out fast

June 4, 2014

SAO PAULO (AP) - The remaining tickets for the most important World Cup matches were sold out fast on Wednesday, disappointing hundreds of fans who waited in line across Brazil.

Tickets for the opener, the final and the two semifinals were sold out shortly after becoming available on FIFA's website at midnight Wednesday Brazilian time (0300 GMT). All matches in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro also sold out quickly online.

The tickets not sold online would be put on sale at ticket centers across the country the following morning. However, only matches between less prominent teams were still available by the time the centers opened, prompting complaints from many fans who spent the night in line to get a ticket.

About 180,000 extra tickets were made available by FIFA for all 64 matches of the monthlong tournament that begins next week.

There were long waits for people trying to purchase the tickets on FIFA's website. Fans were put on virtual waiting lines before being redirected to the actual ticketing site. Some people had to wait nearly two hours to get in, and by then most of the top tickets had already gone.

Tickets for the June 12 opener between Brazil and Croatia in Sao Paulo were sold out in about an hour, as were all those for the July 13 final at the Maracana Stadium.

There were also long lines at the ticket centers in the 12 host cities, with some fans arriving overnight to try to secure one of the remaining tickets.

Many complained that organizers were not prepared for the amount of people that showed up.

''They talk about the disorganization of the Brazilian people but they are those disorganized,'' Brazilian Alexander Barbosa told APTN in Rio de Janeiro. ''Sadly the disorganization is from FIFA and not from the Brazilian people.''

By the end of the day on Wednesday, there were tickets left for only about 15 matches. The games with the most tickets still available included Bosnia-Iran in the northeastern city of Salvador on June 25 and Greece-Ivory Coast in the nearby city of Fortaleza on June 24.

A total of about 3.3 million tickets will be sold for the first World Cup in Brazil since 1950, according to FIFA. More than 2.5 million tickets had already been allocated, including through FIFA's hospitality programs.

The game's governing body couldn't put all tickets on sale earlier because it didn't have all the seating charts at the most delayed stadiums in Brazil.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33375 Followers:38
06/13/2014 01:05 AM

World Cup Predictions

June 6, 2014

Golden Boot Predictions

Argentina to rule in Rio

The World Cup is only days away. Punters and soccer fanatics all over the world have done their research. Everyone has their favourites, but in the end there will only be one team left to rule supreme over the others, and I think that team will be Argentina.

The well-documented major strength of Argentina is their incredible forward line. Their front four of Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain, Sergio Aguero and Angel Di Maria, is comfortably the most formidable in the world. All of them are coming off the back of excellent seasons. Having been handed a fairly straightforward route to the final (Nigeria, Bosnia and Iran in the group, and a likely clash with either Switzerland or Ecuador in the last 16), I'm happy to take the 4/1 offered by on the Argentines to win their first World Cup since 1986.

The man to watch is Angel Di Maria, of Real Madrid. He has moved into a narrower, deeper role this year, and it has resulted in the season of his life. Di Maria was the star man in the Champions League final and, in contrast to many players who play in Europe, Di Maria got better and better as the season went on. By May he was virtually unplayable. 50/1 on him to win the Player of the Tournament award looks a fantastic bet.

So what lies behind that front four? The deeper lying midfield duo of Javier Mascherano and Fernando Gago are just as good at their jobs as the Messi and co. While Mascherano is often deployed as a centre-back for Barcelona, at international level he is very much the battling midfield terrier he was before moving to Catalonia. Gago, the playmaker, is someone who seems to play better for country than for club. His excellent understanding with Messi is one the main reasons coach Alejandro Sabella is so keen on him.

There is a myth that Lionel Messi can't perform for Argentina. Let's just bust that one right now. Under the frankly incompetent Diego Maradona, he was shunted out wide and not given the key role a man of his quality deserves. However, once Sabella made the shrewd decision to hand Messi the captaincy - a sign that he was to be the focal point of the team, he flourished. Since the first World Cup qualifier in September 2011, Messi has scored 20 in 22 games for Argentina.

The main weakness is the defence. This has as much to do with Argentina's cavalier approach that can leave the defence exposed, as the quality of the defenders themselves. The extent to which this is a weakness has been overstated. Pablo Zabaleta is the right-back - he has been a regular with a top European club in Manchester City for several years. Ezequiel Garay, who had a superb season with Benfica, partners Federico Fernandez, who was part of a mean defence at Napoli. The weak link is Marcos Rojo at left-back, who is naturally a centre-back, while Sergio Romero does not inspire great confidence in goal.

The 3/1 favourites are Brazil. They are the rightful favourites after a fantastic year where Luis Felipe Scolari has really got his team in shape. They play the same first XI every game (4-2-3-1 Julio Cesar; Dani Alves, Thiago Silva, David Luiz, Marcelo; Luiz Gustavo, Paulinho; Hulk, Oscar, Neymar; Fred). It is not a stellar team, but Scolari has fostered a club-like team spirit that is very hard to replicate at international level, with such limited time available.

Their strengths are the great understanding between star man Neymar and unfairly-maligned forward Fred, and the attacking menace of their full-backs. However there is a slight lack of game-changing attacking quality off the bench, with young Bernard the only real option. 3/1 is just a shade too short to get involved.

Bookies have a clear 'big four' with two South Americans and two Europeans. The most appealing of the Europeans are the 13/2 holders Spain. This is a team that knows how to win. This alone means they cannot be discounted. However the last two years has seen several high-profile matches where teams have beaten teams playing the Spanish passing style. Think of Bayern Munich's 7-0 aggregate defeat against Barcelona, and then this season Real Madrid's 4-0 win at a Bayern Munich side who, under Pep Guardiola, played the 'Spanish way'.

People have worked out how to beat this style of football. A refusal to compromise their principles will, I think, cost Spain.

The most opposable team in the 'big four' are Germany, who seem far too short at 5/1. They play all three games in the daytime, in cities near the Equator, which will inevitably curb their fast attacking style and leave them drained for the later stages. Their group is difficult, they are likely to face Argentina in the quarter-finals, and their best recognised striker is 36 year-old Miroslav Klose. After coming so close in every tournament since Euro 2004, I feel the Germans may have missed their chance.

So what of the outsiders? Belgium can be immediately dismissed at 13/1, while I am not as keen on 20/1 shots Colombia as I would have been a year ago. The injury to Falcao, along with a creaking defence, mean I cannot see them getting beyond the quarters.

France are an interesting option. Since an almighty scare in their play-off against Ukraine, they have put in some excellent performances. Even with doubts over Franck Ribery's fitness, the French have some superb attacking options in Karim Benzema and Mathieu Valbuena, while young centre-midfielder Paul Pogba is tipped by many to be a future Best Player in the World. At 22/1 they are appealingly priced.

However, the best bet outside the big four comes in the shape of 30/1 shots Portugal. Of all the Europeans they will feel most at home in Brazil, and in Cristiano Ronaldo, they have the Ballon d'Or winner. Much will depend on Ronaldo's fitness, but if 100% fit he wins matches on his own. They are 3/1 to beat Germany in their opening game, which is hugely attractive.

Top Bets

Argentina to win the World Cup at 4/1

France to win the World Cup at 22/1

Portugal to win the World Cup at 30/1

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33375 Followers:38
06/13/2014 01:06 AM

WCup Top Bets - Group E-H

June 8, 2014

Top Group Bets: A - B - C - D

Group E

Group E is possibly the weakest group at the World Cup, and France are the 20/29 favourites to win it with However I’d be wary of going in too hard at this price. While I expect the French to do well, they never seem to nail the group stages. In Euro 2012 they surrendered top spot to England thanks to a defeat to Sweden, and even when they reached the World Cup final in ’06, they stumbled through a similarly weak group with just five points. The loss of Franck Ribéry will hit Les Bleus hard, but in Karim Benzema they have a striker on top form, while Paul Pogba is touted by many as a future great.

The bookmakers make Switzerland the 2/3 favourites to qualify with the French. They have a team packed with flair: Xherdan Shaqiri on the right wing is the star, while Granit Xhaka, Ricardo Rodriguez and Josip Drmic all have great potential. Their opening clash with Ecuador in Brasília will be crucial. Ecuador’s main strength is their excellent wide men Antonio Valencia and Jefferson Montero, but their defence could let them down. However I’m happy to take even on them qualifying, as I think home advantage could be crucial.

Honduras are a physical side, but at 6/1 to qualify I expect their contribution to be more about denting other side’s prospects with doughty draws than winning themselves.

Group E - Top Bets:
Ecuador to Qualify at even (+100)

Group F

Group F looks like a fairly straightforward affair for Argentina, who are my pick to win the World Cup. Alejandro Cabella’s side are1/4 favourites to win the group. Their three opponents all look shaky at the back, and Argentina’s devastating front three of Gonzalo Higuain, Lionel Messi and Sergio Aguero look set to plunder plenty of goals in this section. They are evens to score over 6.5 goals in these three games.

The main match in this group will be Bosnia-Herzegovina’s match against Nigeria, and bookmakers are correct in making Bosnia (the only debutants in Brazil) the 5/7 favourites. They scored 30 goals in 10 games in qualifying with the deadly duo of Vedad Ibisevic and Edin Dzeko scoring eighteen of them. Even if defence is a concern, between the sticks they have the excellent Asmir Begovic. I’m very keen on them scoring over 3.5 group goals at 20/23.

Nigeria look one of the strongest of the five African sides represented, and in Stephen Keshi they have an excellent home-grown coach. However like Cameroon, they have a shortage of creativity in a largely workmanlike midfield, which is why I’m backing Bosnia ahead of the 7/5 Super Eagles. Iran look, on paper, the weakest side at the competition. They got through the Asian qualifying section thanks to good defending (eight goals scored and only two conceded in eight games), but that defence could be found out. The attack looks toothless, and 5/4 on them to score under 1.5 group goals looks a banker.

Group F - Top Bets:
Bosnia-Herzegovina to score over 3.5 Group Stage Goals at 20/23
Iran to score under 1.5 Group Stage Goals at 5/4

Group G

Group G is split in two. Germany and Portugal, whom everyone expects to qualify, and Ghana and USA. Germany look one of the teams to oppose this year. They have had four golden opportunities to win a tournament since winning Euro 1996, and have missed every one. Now, Joachim Löw manages a side blighted by injuries and key men out of form. The loss of Marco Reus will hit them particularly hard. They are 4/7 to win the group.

This leaves the door open for Portugal to take top spot off the Germans. If Cristiano Ronaldo is fully fit and firing then the 27/10 on Paulo Bento’s side winning the group has great appeal. Sceptics will look at a lack of depth in quality behind Ronaldo, but the whole team is geared up to get the best out of the Real Madrid man.

The USA do not look as strong as in recent years. Klinsmann’s men will travel 10,188 to and from games - more than any team, and that will take its toll. I also have huge doubts that Jozy Altidore, despite his good international record, is up to it at the highest level of soccer. They are 2/1 to qualify, and while they won’t be thrashed, I’m sorry to say, guys, that it’ll be an early flight home.

Ghana hold more appeal at 3/1 to disrupt the ‘big two’ in this group. They have an abundance of talent going forward, with Andre Ayew, Kevin-Prince Boateng and Kwadwo Asamoah behind Asamoah Gyan. While not blessed with quite the same stardust, they have a better team ethic than fellow West Africans Ivory Coast, and this should stand them in good stead.

Group G - Top Bets:
Portugal to win Group G at 27/10

Group H

Leading the betting in Group H are Belgium. Congratulations to those who backed them at monster prices a few years ago (they were 500/1 after the last World Cup), but they hype seems to have gone too far and I can’t have any of the 4/7 on them winning a competitive section. Some of their stars, like Marouane Fellaini, have had poor seasons, and there is a real issue at full-back, where they play two players who are naturally centre-backs.

Russia have been hit hard by an injury to captain Roman Shirokov, and with the 2018 competition being hosted in Russia, this team looks like a work in progress. A good result against South Korea in their first game is certainly realistic, and I’d be happier backing them to win the group at 2/1 than Belgium. South Korea had a dodgy qualifying campaign, but they are excellent at raising their game for the big time. They never shirk away from a fight and are 9/5 to qualify.

Algeria have been written off as a no-hoper, and it’s very hard to see why. In Sofiane Feghouli, Islam Slimani and Hilal Soudani they have an abundance of creativity, while Madjid Bougherra commands the defence well. They’re not going to win the World Cup of course, but they seem well worth a punt at 9/2 to qualify.

Group H - Top Bets:
Algeria to qualify at 9/2

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33375 Followers:38
06/13/2014 01:07 AM

WCup Top Bets - Group A-D

June 8, 2014

Top Group Bets: E - F - G - H


Group A is all about Brazil, the 3/1 favorites to win the tournament. With home advantage, an excellent team with an even better team spirit, the Seleção should have trouble getting through what is a fairly straightforward group of Croatia, Mexico and Cameroon. Scolari’s men are 15/1 not to qualify, and a $10 accumulator on three wins for the Brazilians would only pay out $19.42 with

Many see this as a straight fight between Croatia and Mexico for second spot. Mexico have incredibly gone out at the last 16 at each of the last five tournaments, but I think that run could come to an end in Brazil. They were very goal shy in qualifying and consecutive 1-0 friendly defeats in the run-up to the competition have not changed that perception.

Croatia at 11/10 make more appeal than the 23/20 Mexicans. They have a superb midfield with Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic and Mateo Kovacic all capable of terrifying defences, while front man Mario Mandzukic is a clinical finisher of the highest order. Cameroon will be competitive, but squad infighting has led to a dreadful recent World Cup record. While the defence is solid enough, their midfield looks very short on creativity. They are 9/2 to qualify.

Group A - Top Bets:
Croatia to qualify at 11/10


Group B is the ‘Group of Death’. Spain are the defending holders. The Netherlands is the most major football country never to have won the World Cup, and Chile have an attack that will score goals against anyone. And then Australia. Spain are the rightful favourites, and their squad has vast experience: They have five players with over 100 caps, and this will prove vital. They are the 5/7 favourites to win the group, but it might be worth backing them not to score many goals. They are the major tournament 1-0 specialists, and it may be worth having a wedge on them to score under 5.5 goals at 50/69.

Chile are the top bet in this group at 5/6 to qualify over the Netherlands, who are 4/7. The Dutch are another team that are often beset by disharmony in the camp, and Chile’s energetic pressing game will make them very difficult opponents. Defence is an issue, but in Alexis Sanchez and Arturo Vidal they have two real superstars. An inexperienced Australia will be totally out of their depth here. Many experienced names have retired since 2010, and the new generation have yet to convince. A treble on three defeats for the Soceroos is a 2.04/1 shot.

Group B - Top Bets:
Chile to qualify at 5/6
Spain to score under 5.5 tournament goals at 50/69

Group C

Group C looks the hardest of all to call, with no truly outstanding team and no real weak link. Colombia are the 5/7 favourites to win the group. The loss of Falcao means they are not as tempting a bet to go far as they once were, but in Carlos Bacca, Teofilo Gutierrez and Jackson Martinez they have three able deputies who will share the goalscoring load. I don’t see them getting beyond the quarters, but they should navigate their way through this group.

This is the last chance for this golden generation of Ivory Coast players to make a mark at a World Cup, after group stage exits in difficult groups in 2006 and 2010. They are 10/11 to qualify here, but this to me looks overpriced. They still struggle to find the right balance and the defence is dodgy. I’d swerve them in favour of Japan at 11/10. In Shinji Okazaki they have finally found a reliable goalscorer, and Shinki Kagawa, Hiroshi Kiyotake and Keisuke Honda all contribute well in an exciting team.

Greece are the outsiders and will be what Greece has been since they won Euro 2004: dour, defensive and hard-working. At 2/1 they cannot be written off and always have a shock up their sleeve, but forward Kostas Mitroglou has hardly played since December and is a key part of their team.

Group C - Top Bets:
Japan to qualify at 11/10

Group D

Of the 19 FIFA World Cups, teams in Group D have won seven of them. England, Italy and Uruguay all have huge footballing pedigree and this looks like another fiendishly difficult section to call. Of these three teams, it is Uruguay who I think have what it takes to come top of the pile. The draw has come out perfectly for them, with group minnows Costa Rica first up followed by England, then the Italians. If they beat Costa Rica they can afford to play it safe against the tougher opponents. Their game is to defend deep and counter-attack, and in Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez they have two of the world’s great strikers. I’m happy to take the 8/5 on them winning the group.

England and Italy are almost impossible to split. Italy are the favourites to qualify at 8/5, with the Three Lions at 2/1. I have them neck and neck. Italy knocked England out of Euro 2012 on penalties after dominating a goalless match, but England have improved their attack since then, while there are still big question marks over Italy’s forward line with Ciro Immobile relatively unproven and Mario Balotelli predictably unpredictable.

Rather unusually, England’s weakness is probably the defence, where there is a lack of real leadership after the retirements of John Terry and Ashley Cole. Glen Johnson continually looks vulnerable at right-back. Their strength is the youthful pace of their attack, but Hodgson is a safety-first manager who can be reluctant to give full freedom to his most creative players. Costa Rica stand little chance of qualifying at 10/1, but they could throw a spanner in the works with a pesky draw. This is most likely to come against Italy, who have a history of being inept at disposing of inferior opposition.

Group D - Top Bets:
Uruguay to win the group at 8/5

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cnotes Posts:33375 Followers:38
06/13/2014 01:09 AM

Current Form - Group E-H

June 10, 2014

Group A-D

In this piece, we’re breaking down each group in much more detail, going through the final stage of qualification for each team initially, breaking down their last 10 games (thru June 6) on the pitch overall followed by some qualitative analysis on recent form & perhaps what we can expect from a gambling angle.

Each group will have 3 pieces:

1 - Final stage of qualification results
2 - Last 10 match results
3 - Analysis

Before analyzing each group, please note the qualification comments on the two teams below:

Group E
France: Won playoff vs. Ukraine for bid. 2-0 loss at Ukraine, 3-0 win at home (aggregate 3-2)

Group G
Portugal: Won playoff vs. Sweden for bid. 1-0 win at home, 3-2 win at Sweden (aggregate 4-2)
Group E
World Cup June 6th Final Stage of Qualification Group W/O TM
Country FIFA Rank Region W L DRAW GF + - +/- AVG Rank
SWITZERLAND 6 UEFA 7 0 3 17 1.70 0.60 1.10 68.00 18
ECUADOR 26 CONMEBOL 7 5 4 20 1.25 1.00 0.25 29.50 1
FRANCE 17 UEFA 5 1 2 15 1.88 0.75 1.13 60.00 14
HONDURAS 33 CONCACAF 4 3 3 13 1.30 1.20 0.10 34.60 6
Group E
World Cup June 6th Recent Form - Last Ten Games (Thru 6/4) Goal Margin
Country FIFA Rank Region W L DRAW + - +/-
SWITZERLAND 6 UEFA 7 1 2 17 9 8
ECUADOR 26 CONMEBOL 2 3 5 13 15 (2)
FRANCE 17 UEFA 6 1 3 23 5 18
HONDURAS 33 CONCACAF 3 4 3 14 22 (8)
Analysis - Group E

Switzerland: Enter competition with just one loss over their last 10 games, but they have just faced three fellow World Cup teams going 1-1-1 beating Brazil, tying Croatia & losing at South Korea. They have scored in each of their last 10gms while subsequently keeping six clean sheets. Decent track record at World Cup, will be in the mix for certain - who wouldn't be beating Brazil recently?

Ecuador: La Tri is one of six World Cup teams who have a negative goal differential over their last 10 games (the 2nd in their group). Over their last five they have gone 1-1-3 vs. 5 World Cup teams beating Australia, losing to Mexico while tying England, Netherlands & Honduras - hard to get a solid feel on this team obviously. Goals are plentiful in their games as they have played just one 0-0 draw since 7/3/11! Expect wide open play and a lively underdog here - in this questionable group Ecuador, especially playing on their home continent has a legitimate chance to reach the knockout stage for the 1st time since 2006.

France: France remains a defensive juggernaut holding clean sheets in seven of their last 10 outings although just three of those have come against World Cup teams, one of which was a 6-0 win over Australia. In their last six home games they went 5-0-1, outscoring opponents 18-1; in six road games they are just 1-3-2 getting outscored 4-8 (all four of their goals scored came in a win at Belarus on 9/10/13). Goal scoring will be a concern, defense will not so under plays seem to hold value with the French.

Honduras: Just three wins over their last 10 all by 1 goal over Venezuela, Costa Rica and Mexico. Have allowed two or more goals in seven of last 10 games while scoring two goals in six of last 10. No question the biggest longshot of group, difficult to envision many scenarios where they reach knockout stage.
Group F
World Cup June 6th Final Stage of Qualification Group W/O TM
Country FIFA Rank Region W L DRAW GF + - +/- AVG Rank
ARGENTINA 5 CONMEBOL 9 2 5 35 2.19 0.94 1.25 32.13 5
BOS & HERZ 21 UEFA 8 1 1 30 3.00 0.60 2.40 87.60 27
IRAN 43 AFC 5 2 1 8 1.00 0.25 0.75 85.25 26
NIGERIA 44 CAF VS. ETHIOPIA 2.00 0.50 1.50 107.00 31
Group F
World Cup June 6th Recent Form - Last Ten Games (Thru 6/4) Goal Margin
Country FIFA Rank Region W L DRAW + - +/-
ARGENTINA 5 CONMEBOL 5 1 4 19 8 11
BOS & HERZ 21 UEFA 6 4 0 18 12 6
IRAN 43 AFC 6 1 3 19 7 12
NIGERIA 44 CAF 5 1 4 17 11 6
Analysis - Group F

Argentina: Lone loss over last 10 came at Uruguay (2-3) on 10/15/13. Six of last 10 have come against fellow World Cup squads including a 2-1 win at Italy last summer. Struggled some over their last three going just 1-0-2 with scoring margin 2-0. Still clear favorite in relatively weak group.

Bosnia & Herzegovina: Head into this one winning their last two vs. fellow World Cup squads beating Ivory Coast 2-1 and Mexico 1-0. They have virtually no history in the World Cup and not many trends to follow based on recent competition leaves them squarely in the mix to grab that 2nd spot to the knockout round.

Iran: Despite record to left and goal differential they head into this competition in very poor form drawing three straight vs. Angola, Montenegro and Belarus (1-1 aggregate) which followed a home loss to Guinea (1-2). Iran has only faced one World Cup team, South Korea, who they beat 1-0 way back on 6/18/13. This country is the clear longshot in the group, and frankly doesn't seem to have much of a chance.

Nigeria: Has played four draws over their last five, three of which were 0-0. All three of those 0-0 draws came against fellow World Cup teams (Ghana, Mexico, Greece), which were the only three WC teams they faced. Nigeria will be competitive in this group, battling Bosnia for that 2nd bid to the knockout stage.
Group G
World Cup June 6th Final Stage of Qualification Group W/O TM
Country FIFA Rank Region W L DRAW GF + - +/- AVG Rank
GERMANY 2 UEFA 9 0 1 36 3.60 1.00 2.60 87.80 28
PORTUGAL 4 UEFA 6 1 3 20 2.00 0.90 1.10 77.20 23
GHANA 37 CAF VS. EGYPT 3.50 1.50 2.00 36.00 8
USA 13 CONCACAF 7 2 1 15 1.50 0.80 0.70 38.60 11
Group G
World Cup June 6th Recent Form - Last Ten Games (Thru 6/4) Goal Margin
Country FIFA Rank Region W L DRAW + - +/-
GERMANY 2 UEFA 6 0 4 22 9 13
PORTUGAL 4 UEFA 6 1 3 20 10 10
GHANA 37 CAF 4 3 3 6 5 1
USA 13 CONCACAF 6 2 2 15 8 7
Analysis - Group G

Germany: The Germans head into the World Cup as the only unbeaten team over their last 10 matches. Four of their last five have come against fellow World Cup squads & they have gone 2-0-2 beating England and Chile 1-0, while tying Italy and Cameroon. With Germany having reached at least the semifinals in the last three World Cups, but having not won the title since 1990 they enter in top form and are amongst the short list of favorites.

Portugal: Portugal has faced very strong competition over their last 10 with five coming against fellow World Cup teams including Brazil and Netherlands and another two vs. Sweden in a UEFA home & home playoff for a bid. They have not lost a game since 9/10/13 vs. Brazil in Massachusetts while allowing more than one goal just once since that game (3-2 win at Sweden 11/19/13). Ronaldo has been playing very well in qualification & Champions league, thus Portugal will be seeking just their 2nd appearance past the round of 16 since 1994 - but it has a tough group to overcome.

Ghana: As evidenced by recent form Ghana really struggles to score goals, but does play solid defense. Their schedule in qualification and of late is not top notch as they have only faced two fellow World Cup teams over their last 10 (0-0 vs. Nigeria, 0-1 loss to Netherlands), but their defense held up well against the high powered Dutch on the road. Ghana has not scored more than one goal since a 6-1 win over Egypt on 10/15/13 which could be a big concern especially in this group. Expect low-scoring games when Ghana is involved, but it’s unlikely they will score enough to reach knockout stage.

United States: This may be the best USA squad to ever enter the World Cup, but recent comments by head coach Klinsman leave many scratching their heads about what to expect from the Red, White & Blue this time around. Outside of Mexico, whom they have dominated over the last decade plus, they faced just one World Cup team over their last 10, a 2-0 win over lower tier South Korea. Offense doesn't appear to be an issue, but they have struggled defensively against teams that are legitimate challengers especially from UEFA. Most likely over bets will be solid and getting thre points from Ghana/Portugal games will be critical to reach the knockout stage for the 3rd time in 4 World Cups.
Group H
World Cup June 6th Final Stage of Qualification Group W/O TM
Country FIFA Rank Region W L DRAW GF + - +/- AVG Rank
BELGIUM 11 UEFA 8 0 2 18 1.80 0.40 1.40 39.20 12
ALGERIA 22 CAF VS. BURKINA FASO 1.50 1.50 0.00 60.00 14
RUSSIA 19 UEFA 7 2 1 20 2.00 0.50 1.50 74.20 21
SOUTH KOREA 57 AFC 4 2 2 13 1.63 0.88 0.75 81.75 24
Group H
World Cup June 6th Recent Form - Last Ten Games (Thru 6/4) Goal Margin
Country FIFA Rank Region W L DRAW + - +/-
BELGIUM 11 UEFA 5 2 3 16 11 5
ALGERIA 22 CAF 8 1 1 19 8 11
RUSSIA 19 UEFA 6 1 3 19 7 12
SOUTH KOREA 57 AFC 4 6 0 10 15 (5)
Analysis - Group H

Belgium: Belgium is a popular sleeper selection this year but the numbers don't really support that. Of their last 10 games, five have come against fellow World Cup teams and they have gone 1-2-2 beating Croatia 2-1 on road, losing to Colombia and Japan while tying France and Ivory Coast. Outside of a 5-1 win over Luxembourg on 5/26/14 they have just a +1 goal differential over their last 10. They only held one clean sheet in the five vs. World Cup teams we just mentioned, and allowed 2+ goals in four of those games. The group does them a favor not being too strong.

Algeria: Algeria, with eight wins over their last 10 games (2nd to Brazil’s 9), heads into this competition with confidence despite not facing many strong clubs. In fact, Algeria has not faced another World Cup team since a 1/30/13 tie vs. Ivory Coast! They can score goals as evidenced by not being shutout once since 1/26/13 vs. Togo; combine that with the lack of competition & overs are probably strong plays in their games. No question Algeria is the longest shot to advance to the knockout stage from group h

Russia: Russia is a very solid, not talked about often club as they head into the World Cup with just one loss over their last 10 games, which was 10 games ago at Northern Ireland (0-1). Since then they have dominated their opponents scoring in all nine games, while holding three clean sheets defensively and not allowing more than one goal in any game - matter of fact they have not allowed more than one goal since 11/14/12 vs. USA. Their competition has not been truly top notch, but this will be a hungry team since they have never advanced past the group stage.

South Korea: Surprisingly South Korea has advanced to the knockout stage in two of the last three World Cups; this time around, even in a weak group, it will be a clear uphill battle as they, along with Algeria, are the two longest shots of Group H. They are one of just three teams (Brazil, Bosnia) to not have a draw over their last 10 games - but they also have six losses, the most of any World Cup team. In 2014 they have beaten a pair of World Cup teams in Costa Rica and Greece (in Athens), and they have not had a 0-0 draw since summer of 2013 - lean on overs in their games for certain. Can South Korea surprise again? It's likely they will need 3 points against either Belgium or Russia to do so - they recently dropped a 2-1 decision vs. Russia on 11/19/13.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33375 Followers:38
06/13/2014 01:10 AM

Current Form - Group A-D

June 10, 2014

Group E-H

In this piece, we’re breaking down each group in much more detail, going through the final stage of qualification for each team initially, breaking down their last 10 games (thru June 6) on the pitch overall followed by some qualitative analysis on recent form & perhaps what we can expect from a gambling angle.

Each group will have 3 pieces:

1 - Final stage of qualification results
2 - Last 10 match results
3 - Analysis

Before analyzing each group, please note the qualification comments on the six teams below:

Group A
Brazil: Qualified automatically as host nation
Cameroon: CAF's final stage of qualification is a home & home vs. one opponent
Croatia: Won playoff vs. Iceland for bid. 0-0 draw at Iceland, 2-0 win at home (aggregate 2-0)
Mexico: Won Inter-Continental playoff vs. New Zealand for bid. 5-1 win at home, 4-2 win at New Zealand (aggregate 9-3)

Group C
Greece: Won playoff vs. Romania for bid. 3-1 win at home, 1-1 draw at Romania (aggregate 4-2)

Group D
Uruguay: Won Inter-Continental playoff vs. Jordan for bid. 5-0 win at Jordan, 0-0 draw at home (aggregate 5-0)

Group A
World Cup June 6th Final Stage of Qualification Group W/O TM
Country FIFA Rank Region W L DRAW GF + - +/- AVG Rank
CROATIA 18 UEFA 5 3 2 12 1.20 0.90 0.30 37.80 10
MEXICO 20 CONCACAF 2 3 5 7 0.70 0.90 (0.20) 37.20 9
CAMEROON 56 CAF vs. TUNISIA 2.00 0.50 1.50 48.00 13
Group A
World Cup June 6th Recent Form - Last Ten Games (Thru 6/4) Goal Margin
Country FIFA Rank Region W L DRAW + - +/-
BRAZIL 3 CONMEBOL 9 1 0 32 3 29
CROATIA 18 UEFA 4 3 3 13 12 1
MEXICO 20 CONCACAF 6 2 2 24 10 14
CAMEROON 56 CAF 3 4 3 12 13 (1)
Analysis - Group A

Brazil: Dominating of late, only loss (0-1) at Switzerland on 8/14/13. Have not yielded more than one goal since Confederations Cup win over Italy 4-2 on 6/22/13. They have reached the knockout stage every World Cup since 1966 & no question that streak will continue in 2014 - but they have much bigger goals especially with the competition taking place on their soil.

Croatia: Only kept two clean sheets over last 10 games both vs. Iceland. Only win vs. World Cup team over South Korea on 9/10/13. Croatia has only played one 0-0 draw since at least summer of 2012 - meaning over plays could be solid selections here. Have not escaped group stage since 1998 France & that is clearly their goal here - target 2nd place which should be accomplished vs. lesser teams Mexico & Cameroon.

Mexico: First loss (0-1) of 2014 vs. Bosnia & Herzegovina on June 3. Only two of last 10 games saw combined goals less than 3 (over bets look solid perhaps during world cup). New coach Miguel Herrara seems to be getting more out of El Tri than recent past managers, especially offensively. Strong record escaping group play as they have reached knockout stage in each of last 5 World Cups, but have not reached quarterfinals since 1986 - that's clearly the goal this year.

Cameroon: Struggled of late outside home win over Tunisia 4-1. Only faced two fellow World Cup teams: lost to Portugal 5-1 on 3/5/14, tied Germany 2-2 on 6/1/14. Seem to be longshot of group considering they have not reached knockout stage since 1990 with higher ranked teams & have not faced strong competition much - and when they did it often did not turn out well.
Group B
World Cup June 6th Final Stage of Qualification Group W/O TM
Country FIFA Rank Region W L DRAW GF + - +/- AVG Rank
SPAIN 1 UEFA 6 0 2 14 1.75 0.38 1.38 64.00 17
NETHERLANDS 15 UEFA 9 0 1 34 3.40 0.50 2.90 81.80 25
CHILE 14 CONMEBOL 9 6 1 29 1.81 1.56 0.25 31.00 2
AUSTRALIA 62 AFC 3 1 4 12 1.50 0.88 0.63 73.00 19
Group B
World Cup June 6th Recent Form - Last Ten Games (Thru 6/4) Goal Margin
Country FIFA Rank Region W L DRAW + - +/-
SPAIN 1 UEFA 7 2 1 15 8 7
NETHERLANDS 15 UEFA 5 1 4 20 8 12
CHILE 14 CONMEBOL 6 2 2 22 11 11
AUSTRALIA 62 AFC 3 5 2 14 24 (10)
Analysis - Group B

Spain:Ten games ago was loss at Brazil in Confederations Cup finale 3-0. Since they have scored two goals in seven of nine and only loss was 1-0 at South Africa. They have reached the knockout stage in every World Cup but one since 1982 (1998 France) and are clearly the favorite of this group & to return to the championship game at the least. Keep an eye on a variety of injuries that could derail their chances.

Netherlands: Outside of an 8-1 win at home over Hungary on 10/11/13 the Dutch scoring margin is just 12-7 (nine gms). They have not scored more than two goals outside aforementioned Hungary game since 6/7/13 vs Indonesia. Just 1-1-3 last five vs. World Cup teams with lone win 1-0 over Ghana at home on 5/31/14. Concern for Dutch is evident.

Chile: Perhaps no team is more prepared for the World Cup as seven of their last 10 games has come against World Cup teams including a tie vs. Spain & a pair of one-goal defeats on road against Brazil & Germany. Chile has scored less than two goals just twice over last 10 vs. aforementioned Germany & Brazil. Solid sleeper here.

Australia: Outside of a pair of 6-0 road losses to France & Brazil they are near level in record and goal differential. Their only three wins came when they pitched shutout. Longshot of group for certain, perhaps of entire tournament despite escaping group stage in 2006.
Group C
World Cup June 6th Final Stage of Qualification Group W/O TM
Country FIFA Rank Region W L DRAW GF + - +/- AVG Rank
COLOMBIA 8 CONMEBOL 9 4 3 27 1.69 0.81 0.88 31.7 3
GREECE 12 UEFA 8 1 1 12 1.20 0.40 0.80 89.40 30
IVORY COAST 23 CAF VS. SENEGAL 2.00 1.00 1.00 74.00 20
JAPAN 46 AFC 5 1 2 16 2.00 0.63 1.38 77.00 22
Group C
World Cup June 6th Recent Form - Last Ten Games (Thru 6/4) Goal Margin
Country FIFA Rank Region W L DRAW + - +/-
COLOMBIA 8 CONMEBOL 5 1 4 14 9 5
GREECE 12 UEFA 6 1 3 10 4 6
IVORY COAST 23 CAF 5 2 3 21 14 7
JAPAN 46 AFC 6 3 1 21 15 6
Analysis - Group C

Colombia: Only loss over last 10 was at Uruguay (0-2) on 9/10/13. Last three outings were draws including less than inspiring efforts vs. Tunisia and Senegal. Recent form and lack of experience may be cause for concern, as is the loss of striker Radamel Falcao to injury.

Greece: A goal in three matches thus far in 2014 (pair of 0-0 draws vs. fellow World Cup squads Portugal and Nigeria along with 2-0 loss at home to South Korea). Have not scored more than two goals in a match since 6/4/11 vs. Malta at home! Will likely play tight to vest looking for draws - thus playing draws & unders in their matches likely solid selections.

Ivory Coast: Since beating Gambia back-to-back 3-0 and Tanzania in next outing 4-2 during WC qualifying they are just 2-2-3 with goal differential of (1). In last 10 have faced three fellow World Cup teams going 0-2-1 with lone point a 2-2 tie vs. Belgium. Since aforementioned games vs. Gambia both teams have scored in their last three games thus over plays may be solid here. May be longest shot of group to reach knockout stage.

Japan: Unbeaten over l5 dating back to 1-0 road loss at Belarus on 10/15/13. Have faced five World Cup teams over last 10 games going 3-1-1 with lone loss to Uruguay, draw with Netherlands and beating Ghana, Belgium and Costa Rica by combined 9-4 score. Having exceeded expectations reaching the knockout stage in two of last three World Cups no reason in this weak group the Japanese cannot advance again. A case could even be made they are the favorite.
Group D
World Cup June 6th Final Stage of Qualification Group W/O TM
Country FIFA Rank Region W L DRAW GF + - +/- AVG Rank
URUGUAY 7 CONMEBOL 7 5 4 25 1.56 1.56 0.00 31.88 4
COSTA RICA 28 CONCACAF 5 2 3 13 1.30 0.70 0.60 35.60 7
ENGLAND 10 UEFA 6 0 4 31 3.10 0.40 2.70 88.80 29
ITALY 9 UEFA 6 0 4 19 1.90 0.90 1.00 61.00 16
Group D

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33375 Followers:38
06/13/2014 01:11 AM

Team Analysis - E-H

June 11, 2014

Group A-D

With Brazil knee-deep in soccer fans worldwide, the 5th largest country in the world - which occupies nearly half of South America and an Amazon rainforest that constitutes almost half of the rainforests on Earth – will have the eyes of the international football world glued to its twelve World Cup venues for the next 31 days.

While soccer is growing in the United States at all levels, it’s interest in the sport is a splinter among a forest next to the global passion shared by futball aficionados worldwide.

As fans, though, Americans put their money where their mouth is, with only host Brazil buying more tickets for this event than the United States.

Here is a brief snapshot of what each team from the final four groups brings to the table in this year’s event, with each team’s FIFA rank in parenthesis.


Ecuador (28) – For all the fervor Ecuador brings to this tournament – its third in the last four events – they are heartbroken and hamstrung with the death of its leading scorer, 27-year old Christian “Chucho” Benitez to heart failure last summer, along with defender Jayro Campos and midfielder Segundo Castillo out with injuries… coach Reinaldo Ruea coached Honduras to its second World Cup berth in 2010… midfielder Christian Noboa, who joined the club in 2012, has played the last six years in Russia.

France (16) – Les Blues left the 2010 World Cup red-faced following a mutiny and a boycott of practice… The French have reached the final four five times, winning the event in 1998. On the other 11 occasions since WWII they have gone out in the group stage or failed to qualify… winger Franck Ribery, arguably the third-best player in the world, is out with a bad back… coach Didier Deschamps was France’s team captain in its 1998 World Cup championship campaign.

Honduras (30) – One of two teams that failed to score in the 2010 World Cup, Los Catrachos managed wins over Mexico and the United States during the qualifying game … Honduras has never won a World Cup game, but facing Switzerland in the Amazon jungle (Manaus) lends hope to that possibility… striker Jerry Bengston scored nine goals in qualifying games… head coach Luis Fernando Suarez took over in 2011 and has led Honduras to the semifinals of the 2011 and 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament.

Switzerland (8) – The Swiss went 7-0-3 in qualifying against a very weak group (49th ranked Iceland was second)… watch this team in four years in Russia as starting 11 average age is 25… became the first team in World Cup history to be eliminated without conceding a goal in 2006… defeated eventual champion Spain, 1-0, in 2010 World Cup.


Argentina (7) - Scored 35 goals in South America in qualifying, most of any team… a two-time winner in the event in 1978 and 1986), and a 2nd place finisher in 1990, Albiceleste’s best finish since was as a Round of 16 team in 1994… 4-time World Player of the Year, Lionel Messi, will be playing in his third World Cup… the World Cup has been held in South America four times with South American teams winning every time... many locals considered it “divine intervention” on the part of Buenos Aires-born Pope Francis – a fervent soccer fan – when the country was drawn into arguably the weakest of the World Cup’s eight groups.

Bosnia-Herzegovina (25) – First World Cup appearance for the Dragons, the only team making it’s debut this summer… went 8-1-1 in UEFA, outscoring its opponents by 24 goals… with Manchester United’s Edin Dzeko (averaged a goal a game during qualifying) and former St. Louis University All-AmericanVedad Ibisevic up front, they can score in bunches… a vulnerable defense figures to put pressure on goalkeeper Amsir Begovic.

Iran (37) – Team Melli features a veteran coach in Carlos Quiroz who has managed Portugal’s national team and coach with Real Madrid and in the USA… team relies on foreign based imports who qualify for Iranian citizenship… due to economic and political sanctions, they went 119 days without a game after qualifying… the cash-strapped team’s short stay will be at an airport hotel while players are banned from participating in traditional postgame exchange of jerseys with their opponents.

Nigeria (44) – Fifth World Cup appearance for the Super Eagles who have twice reach the second round… won the 2013 African Nations Cup for the first time in 20 years and then won the Under-17 World Cup… after going winless in its last two World Cups, Nigeria’s president briefly banned the team from international competition… last World Cup win was in 1998… lost 1-0 to Argentina in the finals of the 2008 Olympics.


Germany (2) – A three-time winner in the World Cup, sparing no expense, the Germany soccer federation built a training center in Brazil complete with housing units, a soccer filed, a media center and treatment facilities… Die Nationalmannschaft scored 36 goals in qualifying - the most of any team in the European zone – and has registered 222 goals in World Cup games, the most of any country… midfielder Mesut Ozil scored eight goals in 12 games during qualifying.

Ghana (28) – The Black Stars were the only one of six African nations to survive group play… played in only two World Cup and knocked out the United States by a 2-1 score both times… led by the Asamoah’s – midfielder Kwadwo Asamoah and super-fast striker Asamoah Gyan. Kwadwo was named the country’s top player the last two years; Gyan’s goal beat the U.S. in the 2010 World Cup… coach James Kwesi Appiah is the first black African coach to take a team to the World Cup.

Portugal (3) – Classic underperformer in this tournament, despite the presence of superstar Cristiano Ronaldo , the world’s highest paid soccer player who has scored 49 goals in 110 international games… Ronaldo has over 25 million followers on Twitter… team has been characterized as “Cristiano Ronaldo and 10 other guys.”… tied Israel two times in qualifying games… coach Paulo Bento replaced Carlos Queiroz in 2010. Queiroz will coach Iran the this year’s World Cup.

United States (14) – 9,000 miles of travel in Brazil awaits the Americans… best chance to advance will be to beat Ghana in opener and draw with Portugal… much hyped dual-nationalist squad with four players on roster of German descent… 10 players on roster from MLS teams… solid in goal with Tim Howard and in the midfield with Michael Bradley. Inexperienced back line is a question… Team USA hasn’t gotten a World Cup goal from a striker since Brian McBride in 2002… DaMarcus Beasley becomes the first U.S. player to appear in four World Cup games.


Algeria (25) – The Desert Foxes have never made it past the group stage and needed a playoff win over Burkina Faso to quality this year… haven’t won a major trophy since capturing the African Cup of Nations in 1990… a young and inexperienced team, Bosnian coach Vahid Halilhodzic often goes to his bench mixing and matching lineups to take advantage of opponent’s weaknesses… striker Islam Slimai of Sporting Lisbon has nine goals in 17 appearances with Algeria.

Belgium (12) – The Red Devils have soared more than 50 spots in the FIFA rankings since 2009 and are considered by many to be a dark-horse in this event… young roster is loaded with players from the top clubs around the world… midfielder Eden Hazard is commonly referred to as the “Belgian Messi.”… veteran captain Vincent Kompany (28) is considered of the best center backs in the world… will be the least-traveled team in the group stage, having to cover fewer than 1,400 miles for its three games.

Russia (18) – Team Sbornaya will host the 2018 World Cup… only two of the 42 players called up in the last year compete for teams outside the Russian Premier League. Neither made the World Cup roster… five core players are older than 30… this is Russia’s second World Cup since the breakup of the Soviet union… best result was a 4th place finish in 1966… prolific striker Alelsandr Kerzhakov has scored 50 goal in last 94 games for his RPL team… defensive-minded coach Fabio Capello, who managed England for four years after stints with Real Madrid and A.C. Milan, took over in 2012 and guided the tam past Portugal in World Cup qualifying games, conceding just five goals in 10 games.

South Korea (55) – When co-hosting the 2002 World Cup the Taeguk Warriors were the first and only Asian team to reach the semis… this is South Korea’s eighth consecutive, and ninth overall, World Cup appearance, having reached the knockout stage in two of the previous three World Cups… a young team with only one player older than 30… dangerous striker Son-Heung-Min from Bayer Leverkusen is a legitimate scoring threat.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33375 Followers:38
06/13/2014 01:13 AM

Team Analysis - A-D

June 11, 2014

When Spain captured the World Cup Trophy for the first time in 2010 little did they realize only two countries have managed to win back-to-back titles in World Cup history.

Furthermore, no European team has won the World Cup in South America.

They say there is a first time for everything, although oddsmakers disagree with Brazil (3/1) and Argentina (4/1) listed as favorites to hoist the 2014 Cup, with Spain the 3rd choice at 13/2 (Bet $100 to win $650).

Here is a brief snapshot of what each team from the first four groups brings to the table in this year’s event, with each team’s FIFA rank in parenthesis.


Brazil (4)– Only 5 of 23 players on its roster return from 2010… won last year’s Confederations Cup (no reigning Confederations Cup champion has won a World Cup)… have not lost a competitive game at home since September, 1975, a string of 57 games… the host nation has won the World Cup five times.

Cameroon(50)– Forward Samuel Eto’o has won four African Player of the Year awards… scored two goals in three games in 2010 World Cup while failing to win a point… beat Argentina in 1990 opening round match en route to reaching the quarterfinals… seventh World Cup appearance, most by an African nation.

Croatia (20)– First competed in World Cup in 1998, seven years after declaring independence from Yugoslavia… Real Madrid’s Luka Modric is known as “The Croation Cryuff” for his elegant passing skills… stunned here-time champion Germany. 3-0, in its third place finish in 1998… striker Mario Mandzukic is suspended for the first game for a red card in the final qualifying game.

Mexico (19)– Coach Miguel Herrera forbids his players from alcohol, sex and eating red meat while in Brazil… El Tri went through four coaches before grabbing one of the last qualifying spots with win over New Zealand in November - and then proceeded to go 6-0-2 after … lost to Argentina, 3-1, in the Round of 16 in 2010 World Cup.


Australia (59)– First team to arrive in Brazil. Set up camp 16 days early… Only two of the Socceroos starters are older than 29… Tim Cahill, 34, is the team’s all-time scoring leader… Aussies hold the record for the most one-sided wins in international soccer history, a 31-0 romp over American Samoa in a 2001 World Cup qualifier.

Chile (13)– Lost 3-0 to Brazil in the Round of 16 in 2010 World Cup… La Roja’s last three national team coaches have come from Argentina… color them dangerous: scored 29 goals in qualifying, beat England and Costa Rica, lost by a goal to Brazil and Germany and played Colombia and Spain to a draw… slogan is “For a Chilean, nothing is impossible,” based on miners trapped underground for 69 days in 2010.

Netherlands (15)– Runner-up in last year’s World Cup, the Oranje own three second-place finishes in the tournament… will open against Spain in Match 3 play, the team they lost 1-0 to in the 116th minute in the finals of the 2010 World Cup… experienced squad, with the majority of players back from the 2010 team, went 9-0-1 in qualifying games, finishing +29 in net goal differential… Bad news for opponents: Robin van Persie is healthy again and is one of the best goal-scorers in the world… Van Persie, recently named team captain, has nearly 5 million followers in the Twitter universe.

Spain (1)– With wins in the last two Euros and the 2010 World Cup, in which they allowed 6 goals in 19 matches, Spain is the only country to win three consecutive major international championships…the Spaniards became the first team to ever win a World Cup last season after losing its opening match… it’s been 52 years since there has been a repeat winner in the World Cup.


Colombia (5)– First appearance in the World Cup on 16 years when Carlos Valderrama was on the team… star player Radamel Falcao tore his ACL in January and was left off the roster… Falcao, who scored 8 goals in 11 qualifying games last year, has more than 4.5 million followers on Twitter… 22-year old midfielder James Rodriguez assumes the scoring load for Los Cafeteros… coach Jose Pekerman, an Argentine, managed Argentina in the 2006 World Cup.

Greece (10)– The Greeks won the 2004 European Championship but has never advanced out of World Cup group play… play a low scoring, boring style of soccer, allowing 6 goals in 12 qualifying matches… have lost five of six World Cup matches in two previous World Cups, outscored 15-2… professional soccer was not played in Greece until 1979. Fifteen years later they qualified for their first World Cup.

Ivory Coast (21)– The Elephants have gone 22 years since winning its last major title in the 1992 African Cup of Nations… Aging forward and two-time African Footballer of the Year 36-year old Didier Drogba leads a veteran team that can outrun and overpower most of its opponents… unbeaten in qualifying games this year… have never made it out of group play.

Japan (47)– The Blue Samurai has reached the Round of 16 in 2002 and 2010… outscored opponents 30-8 in qualifying games but lost all three Confederation Cup group games to Brazil… first team to qualify in each of the last three World Cups… Manchester United’s Shinji Kagawa and Milan’s Keisuke Honda are among other with a European pedigree… have never won a game beyond group play.


Costa Rica (34)–Second to the U.S. with five wins in 10 games in CONCACAF qualifying, including a 2-1 win over Mexico… they ended the United States 12-game winning streak in September… leading scorer Alvaro Sabrio is out with a broken foot… Los Ticos is the only Central American nation to win a World Cup game.

England (11)– World-class striker Wayne Rooney headlines a relatively non-descript roster… Manchester United’s Joe Hart is solid in goal… the Three Lions have gone unbeaten in 14 games since Roy Hodgson took over as coach two years ago… Hodgson had players begin training camp working out in three layers of clothing to simulate Brazil’s heat and humidity.

Italy (9) – The Azzurri went undefeated through qualifying but left home players responsible for nine of its 19 goals in those 10 qualifiers… New Jersey-born striker Guisippe Rossi, Floretina’s top scorer with 16 goals, was among the final cuts, as he was four years ago… Milan midfielder Riccardo Montolivo broke his leg in last week’s friendly with Ireland… Mario Balotelli insists he’s the No. 1 striker in the world… Along with Brazil, the 4-star Italians are the only other team to win the World Cup twice in a row.

Uruguay (6)– Los Charruas was the first host nation to win a World Cup in 1930 and is the smallest country (3.4 million people) to win a World Cup… scored one goal or fewer 10 times in 16 CONMEBOL qualifiers, including three shutouts… Luis Suarez (fighting to return from knee surgery) is one of the top strikers in the world, leading the CONMEBOL qualifier with 11 goals in 16 World Cup qualifiers.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs: