World Cup 2010 Preview – Group by Group previews + betting recommendations

Group A – South Africa, France, Uruguay & Mexico

A key element of every World Cup is how the host nation performs & so the focus of Group A will be hosts South Africa who will want to do their very, very best to progress as far as they can go.

It is an extremely tough looking Group for the hosts with France possessing a squad full of talented players who are capable of winning their tournament if they are in the right mental state while Uruguay & Mexico are also likely to prove to be incredibly tough to beat.

All four countries will feel they have a good chance of qualifying but they also have an equal chance of not qualifying so it makes it a very tough call & at this stage we are going to go for France & Uruguay to just edge through Group A so it could well be heartbreak for the hosts.

Group A Predictions: France 1st & Uruguay 2nd

Group B – Argentina, Greece, Nigeria & South Korea

This is a fascinating group with Argentina, regarded as one of the major contenders to win the World Cup, clearly the headline draw given all the outstanding quality players they have, making them strong favourites to win Group B & we can’t really argue with that.

Greece, Nigeria & South Korea will all be desperate to give their best & qualify through the group so it is a tough call but we are just going to favour Nigeria to qualify with Argentina.

Group B Predictions: Argentina 1st & Nigeria 2nd

Group C – England, Algeria, USA & Slovenia

The focus of England & the entire footballing world will be on this group because the England team have massive global appeal through the success of the Premier League & obviously England are rated as strong favourites to win the group & go all the way.

We do expect England to win the group but it will not be easy as three opponents are dangerous & represent different threats with USA looking the strongest of those three & they can qualify through with England.

Group C Predictions – England 1st & USA 2nd

Group D – Germany, Serbia, Ghana & Australia

Really interesting group this one with Germany the favourites & given their incredible record in major tournaments that is easy to understand & they should have enough to go through the group.

Although we expect Germany to go through, it will not be easy as all three of Ghana, Serbia & Australia are capable of frustrating & even beating Germany so choosing between the three is very tough but Serbia look to have the best chance.

Group D Predictions – Germany 1st & Serbia 2nd

Group E – Cameroon, Denmark, Holland & Japan

A really interesting mix of cultures & football styles here and this could be one of the more entertaining groups.

Holland are a fantastic side with many high class players & we do expect them to have too much quality for their group rivals & we are taking Denmark to prove solid, hard to beat & just have enough to edge out Cameroon and follow Holland through.

Group E Predictions – Holland 1st & Denmark 2nd

Group F – Italy, Paraguay, Slovakia & New Zealand

Italy are the reigning World Cup Champions & although they are only regarded as 6th favourites, their tournament record is proven & they should qualify as winners of this group without too many problems.

Admittedly we don’t know too much about either Paraguay, Slovakia or New Zealand so it’s not straightforward to decide between the three but Paraguay qualified through the South American group which is probably the toughest in the world & so they get our vote to follow Italy through to the next round.

Group F Predictions – Italy 1st & Paraguay 2nd

Group G – Brazil, Ivory Coast, Portugal & Korea

Without doubt this is the most interesting group of the lot with the real potential to be one of the best group stages ever seen in World Cup history with the likes of Ronaldo, Robinho & Drogba all taking each other on.

Brazil are always favourites to win the World Cup because they have a rock solid pedigree of winning them & clearly they are the big draw in this group so they should qualify but it is going to be tough.

Portugal are very dangerous opponents primarily because of the fact Ronaldo is capable of winning matches on his own while Ivory Coast are a very strong, powerful side led by Didier Drogba who will be determined to be a star at this World Cup.

Deciding between Portugal & Ivory Coast is incredibly tough and the fact these two meet in the first match of the group stages could be crucial & whoever wins that match will most likely to be the team that progresses.

Ronaldo vs Drogba is a mouth watering clash of incredible talent & incredible egos with nothing between the two countries in terms of talent so the deciding factor could well be that of home advantage for Ivory Coast so we are taking Ivory Coast to follow Brazil into the next phase.

Group G Predictions – Brazil 1st & Ivory Coast 2nd

Group H – Spain, Chile, Honduras & Switzerland

A really fascinating mix of european & south american football here and this should be an entertaining group although Spain are clearly the team to beat in this group & in the tournament outright.

Spain have an incredibly talented squad of players, they are reigning European Champions & go into the World Cup in excellent form & certainly should win this group with comfort.

Admittedly we don’t know too much about Honduras so it will be a case of wait & see with them while Chile deserve respect for qualifying through the South American group & Switzerland are never easy to beat in tournaments.

It’s a tough call to decide who is going through with Spain as this looks tight but Switzerland have experience in tournaments & they can just edge through.

Group H Predictions – Spain 1st & Switzerland 2nd

Who are the main contenders for the 2010 World Cup?

When every World Cup comes around, there are always the select group of countries that are proven contenders for the main prize & assuming the group stages go to plan & to form, the following countries will be the main contenders:

France, Germany, Spain, England, Italy, Holland, Argentina & Brazil and although they are not an original selection of contenders, they are the teams most likely to be contesting for the World Cup & that is reflected in the betting markets.

The approximate current outright market for the World Cup is as follows:

Spain – 4/1

Brazil – 5/1

England – 6/1

Argentina – 7/1

Holland – 10/1

Italy – 12/1

Germany – 14/1

France – 20/1

25/1 Bar

The betting market has predictably but correctly got Brazil & Spain as clear favourite & 2nd favourite to win the World Cup and on all known form & facts it is impossible to argue with that.

Brazil & Spain are the two best sides in world football & it really would not be a surprise to see these two sides meet in the World Cup Final on Sunday 11th July.

England carry the hope & expectancy of the nation & that is the main reason they are 3rd favourites at 11/2. England did have an excellent qualifying campaign, they have the individual talent to beat anybody at their best & Fabio Cappello has done a fantastic job so far but whether England can actually put all that together at a World Cup & handle the pressure of expectation is doubtful & it may well be that Quarter Finals/Semi Finals will be as far as they go.

Argentina had an incredibly inconsistent qualifying campaign & only just scraped through an extra qualifier but they have undoubted attacking talent within their squad & if they hit their best, consistent form they could be a massive danger to everybody & certainly have a chance of winning this.

Italy & Germany may not be the force of old but they are two countries with incredibly successful records in major tournaments & they command massive respect on that basis alone & will certainly be involved when it matters & cannot be discounted easily.

Holland & France are very similar in many ways as they are overloaded with fantastically talented individual players that are capable of beating any team when they play at their best but they are also capable of producing average performances as well so they have a chance but probably only if the other major contenders such as Spain, Brazil & Argentina perform below their best.

Final Assessment:

This is going to be a fascinating & greatly interesting tournament with all the different countries involved but in terms of who can actually win it then we believe the bookmakers have got it absolutely spot on to make BRAZIL & SPAIN close favourites to lift the trophy and they are our two recommendations because at this stage everything points to one of those two sides winning it & it is quite possible Spain & Brazil will meet in the final on Sunday July 11th.

Of the other major contenders neither Italy or Argentina are the forces they once were but both are proven performers at this level & are specialists in tournaments so they warrant each way interest at big prices.

Betting Recommendations:

To win the World Cup Outright: split stake bets on SPAIN & BRAZIL

Name the Finalists: BRAZIL & SPAIN

Each way saver selections: ITALY & ARGENTINA

Top Goalscorer Each way: VILLA, FABIANO, HIGUAIN & NILMAR – Most bookmakers pay each way on the First 4 Top Goalscorers so it makes sense to go each way with 4 nominations & the four selected, VILLA of Spain, FABIANO & NILMAR of Brazil and HIGUAIN of Argentina are all top strikers representing countries who all have excellent chances of going all the way in this tournament & therefore the players nominated will have plenty of chances to score the goals required.

Group Winners:

France, England, Germany, Argentina, Holland, Brazil, Italy & Spain

Group Qualifiers:

Nigeria, Serbia, USA, Uruguay, Paraguay, Switzerland, Denmark & Ivory Coast

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