WORLD CUP BETTING: Live on BBC1 & BBC3: Wed 15.00, ITV1 & ITV4: Wed 19.30: Day 13 of the WC; England v Slovenia, USA v Algeria, Ghana v Germany & Australia v Serbia in Groups C & D.
Rumours of a player revolt, abject performances and questionable tactics may sound like three characteristics of France’s World Cup campaign but they could just as easily apply to England who were booed off by their own fans following the dismal goalless encounter against Algeria.
That draw leaves Fabio Capello’s side in third place in Group C, out to 11/1 with Ladbrokes in the outright betting and needing a win against Slovenia to guarantee progression to the second phase, but with clear the air talks in the camp apparently stalling on Sunday, it remains to be seen whether the ‘Three Lions’ can raise their game in Port Elizabeth.
Bookies fancy England to get the three points they require to be sure, Totesport chalking them up at 1/2 but there are expect to be plenty of sceptics willing to back a third stalemate at 7/2 with Betdaq. A draw will ensure Matjaz Kek’s men reach the last 16 and with their approach likely to be a cautious one, Partybets’ 9/1 for the deadlock to remain unbroken might attract cash.
However, knowing what they have to do and desperate not to return home at this early stage, Capello’s dispirited troops can rally and Stan James’ 6/1 for them to notch twice without reply appeals, as does 888Sport’s less specific 6/5 chalked against an England triumph combined with a clean sheet.
Meanwhile, the clamour for Joe Cole’s inclusion could see the midfielder play a key role and he’s a tremendous 20/1 (Betfred) to put in a man-of-the-match performance. Alternatively, bet365 quote the playmaker at 5/1 to strike at any time.
USA and Algeria are also still in the hunt for qualification from Group C ahead of their meeting in Pretoria, although for the latter only a victory, at 3/1 with Partybets, is good enough. The Desert Foxes rarely looked like conceding against England, although that was more down to inept attacking play than resolute defending and the more positive approach of the Americans should reap rewards in this one; they’re even money (bet365) to prevail.
Over in Group D, all four teams can still qualify although Australia, who must win, can probably be ruled out as their clash with Serbia looks set to finish all square (11/4, Jaxx.com). If that clash does indeed result in a stalemate then Ghana and Germany will progress if they draw in Johannesburg, an outcome Victor Chandler rate at 3/1.
However, unfortunate to be reduced to ten men against the Serbs, Joachim Low’s men should bounce back by justifying odds of 1/2 with Betfred to overcome the Black Stars (11/2, William Hill) and top the pool. This would put the two European teams through, which before kick-off is a scenario available at 11/10 with Paddy Power.