May 11, 2010

One month until the World Cup

by Dan Bilicki In: Soccer

The biggest tournament in the world of sports is only a month from getting under way, so why not take a look at some of the key stories happening before the World Cup kicks off on June 11?
 
England, soccer’s alleged birthplace, has their share of problems already. It looks like the injury bug has bitten them during the last two weeks of the EPL season and they now face two big questions: Will Wayne Rooney be at 100% after reinjuring his groin and will Gareth Barry even be able to play? While Rooney should be good to go in time, his injury could be a re-occurring issue. Barry, on the other hand, put their manager in a tricky predicament: Keep Barry on the roster, not knowing if he’ll be able to play at all, or name someone else. I don’t envy Fabio Capello’s situation.
 
Spain also has some big injury questions, with Cesc Fabregas likely out with a broken leg and Fernando Torres still recovering from knee surgery. At least the 2008 Euro Champions have more than enough depth to get by – of ESPN.com’s top 50 players, nine were from Spain.
 
Speaking of issues, the hosts aren’t short on them. The lead up to this event has been shrouded by reports that the South African event both won’t be completely ready and the games won’t even be sold out. Then there’s their on-field issues: South Africa most likely needs to defeat a strong Mexican squad to have a shot at advancing. This could be the first time in tournament history that the hosts fail to advance to the knockout stages.

There’s also the interesting subplot about South Africa’s altitude. While some of the World Cup venues are closer to the shore, ergo sea level, and some are located over a mile above, some teams will have to cope with playing in the thin air. Some nations didn’t heed this information though, as France, Japan, Denmark, Cameroon, Greece, Nigeria and Algeria all decided to setup their bases along the coast. This could very well hurt their conditioning for the event, should they be forced to play in the thin air. A fact like this should not have been overlooked by the team’s co-ordinators.

On the wagering front, there are a few interesting propositions that should be looked into.

Argentina, at 8-1, has a good shot at winning it all, if Lionel Messi plays like he is capable of. At 12-1, both Germany and Netherlands have a decent shot too.

Then there’s the stay-aways. Portugal simply isn’t good enough to win it all, especially playing in the Group of Death. Their 20-1 bet is a waste. History hasn’t been kind to England, but the bookies know they’ll have a lot of action riding on it, setting their line at 6-1. I doubt they’ll pick up their second-ever Cup.

For the longshots, Cameroon at 50-1 would have been a better bet had they wisely chosen their base camp. I still wouldn’t be surprised to see them do well though. Serbia, at 45-1, is also looking frisky and has the defence to hold the line against stronger offensive teams.

In group wagers, the best longshot is probably Paraguay to unseat Italy atop Group F at 3-1. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see Didier Drogba and the Ivory Coast win Group G at 7-2.

So, after four years of waiting, it’s almost here. Now everyone should be readying their pint glasses, tossing on their scarves and flying their country’s flags. It’s nearly time to go crazy for the beautiful game again.

7 Comments

  1. At last, an exceptional website that’s not in my face attempting to usually offer me some thing. Many thanks, you should continue the great work.

  2. exiting, cant wait for it

  3. In my view, wayne rooney is undoubtedly the foremost soccer player within the globe, and i cannot wait to see him get the golden boot for the most goals scored in this world cup.

  4. You’re a Really Professional Blogger, You either have got quality knowledge of what your discussing or you did some great research. Thanks for this excellent post.

  5. Hello to everybody,I like your site and it looks very interesting and easy to read,really!. I came from Japan. I love the Soccer and cannot wait till 11th June, can you?.But there is a problem camming from FIFA. It is that doesn´t choose the best teams in this planet for the World Cup which it should otherwise don´t call the World Cup a final, if you want to play football for the soul of competition then go to the olympics games. this is basically what the World Cup is turning to, and it su…, ire needed to beat argentina to be in and is not, jap beat lowly teams as bahrain, qatar, kuwait, to be in, is this justice I dont think so, just because you are in the World Cup it doesn´t mean that you have the quality to be in like jap can attes. Any way, I expect to see a super final on 11th July and my favorite winner team is Corea,and my favorite player is Cristiano Ronaldo.Good blog and keep going.Cu!

  6. I do tend to go for the underdogs in sport….but man Argentina just appear like they are going to reign over the world cup….Messi is just absolutly Stunning….And there is not a doubt in my mind that he is the best player in the world….

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