World Cup Cassandra-ing

5/20/2010 08:48:00 pm / The truth was spoken by Rich /

I've just had a quick goosey at the World Cup betting and it makes for silly reading. England for example are a shorter price than Argentina. Spain are favourites! Mexico have shortened to 110.0 (time to lay-off? tee hee).

I have to agree with young Paulie two thumbs, it makes no sense not to bet on Brazil. They don't have that good a team, but the essential arithmetic here is that the World Cup has been held outside of Europe eight times and Brazil have won four of them - 5/1 on a 2/1 shot then. Whenever it's held in a non-traditional football country as it were, they always win; Sweden, USA, South Korea/Japan and so on.

They are in fact the only team in international football that actually over-achieves according to Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski in their brilliant book "Why England Lose," which is highly worth reading if you want to cut through all the nonsense pundits and thick journalists churn out and uncover why things are the way they are in the game.

The Dutch are another intriguing prospect. South Africa being colonised by the Dutch means lots of people in the country already wearing clogs so the familiarity of the culture must surely help them acclimatize, but as always with the Dutch one has to ask the question, do they hate each other this year?

This is an interesting question. The bottom line here I'm afraid is that the white population of the Netherlands are incredibly bigoted. It's no coincidence that Apartheid developed in a country colonised by the Dutch.

Marco Van Basten - either out of common sense or his own prejudice - recognised that the Dutch team don't do too well when there is a high percentage of black players amongst their number. So he dumped them. It's a predominantly a white squad now and with eight wins in eight games in the qualifiers it appears to have borne fruit.

Black and white picture, not a black and white team

Regardless of the politics, how can one not take them seriously as contenders? In fact, I can't see past these two teams. As I understand it they could even play England if both teams made it to the semi-finals and there's very little hope for England there surely.

Of the other contenders; Spain simply spend too much time asleep, Argentina have only one good player, Germany will find it heavy going running around at altitude in those leather shorts, England will dig deep and find a way to fail, France may not even qualify from the group stages and finally Italy cannot win as they won it last time and you're not allowed to win it twice in a row.

Mexico of course can't win. They have the possibility of bombing out in the group stages, but also the potential to go deep and be the surprise team of the tournament if the correct blend of experience and yoof can be found. They also have an uncanny knack of beating African teams and South American teams 1-0.

I am happy to have backed them at 150.0 with a view to laying off should they reach the quarter final stages. They may not be strong enough to win, but I can predict that some of their players will attract the attention of the big European teams; Ochoa in goal (star of the sammich advert) and Efrain Juarez (number 16 in the sammich advert) in defense should both be playing in Europe next season along with Chicharito (number 9 in the sammich advert) who has already been lost to the dark side and possibly the awesome Pablo Barrera (not in the sammich advert - more of a tortilla man) if he gets to play.

Preliminary wagers then; Win - Brazil and Netherlands. Back to lay - Mexico.

Good luck with all your bets.


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Comment by Mr R Nasty on 20 May 2010 at 22:50

who is the argies one good player, tevez or mascherano?

and van basten isn't the holland coach. although i do think they have a chance as long as they dont pick ryan bobble

Comment by Rich on 20 May 2010 at 23:08

Lionel Messi. Forgot about Tevez - two good players then. Don't really rate Mascherano.

Van Basten yes should have been past tense, but he began the purge of black players

Comment by Mr R Nasty on 21 May 2010 at 00:13

holland will need to keep the ball well. their defence doesn't convince me. but then again i'm not convinced about any team really. in fact this might be the first world cup where is no winner, unless spain win

Comment by Rich on 21 May 2010 at 00:35

Perhaps everyone will lose on penalties.

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