WORLD CUP BETTING: Live on BBC1 & BBC3: Fri 15.00, ITV1 & ITV4: Fri 19.30: Day 15 of the WC; Brazil v Portugal, Ivory Coast v North Korea, Chile v Spain & Switzerland v Honduras in Groups G & H.
Before the tournament, Brazil’s showdown with Portugal stood out as one of the mouth watering fixtures of the group phase but the latter’s 7-0 mauling of North Korea on Monday means that it is almost a dead rubber as Carlos Quieroz’s men are now virtually guaranteed to join their opponents in the last 16.
It would take the Portuguese to suffer a resounding defeat and Ivory Coast to register a convincing win for the Elephants to progress and although the latter should keep up their side of the bargain by beating North Korea, a result rated by Betfred at 4/11, the required goal difference swing is just too large to give Sven Goran Eriksson’s troops a realistic hope of qualification.
The outcome in Nelspruit could well be irrelevant anyway as Brazil, bet365’s 11/8 favourites and Betdaq’s 3/1 underdogs Portugal look set to play out a fairly relaxed draw in Durban (19/10, Paddy Power). Both teams would be keen to go for it if they were sure that the Group G winner would avoid Spain in the second phase but the uncertainty surrounding the final standings in Group H means that there is no such clear incentive and Jaxx.com’s 11/2 for it to finish one-each may therefore be worth a modest interest.
Spain’s facile triumph against Honduras re-ignited their campaign and Vicente del Bosque’s men now know that victory against Chile, priced at just 1/2 by 888Sport, will ensure they make it through to round two. The South American outfit are 13/2 (Partybets) to land a maximum haul but they need just a point against the European Champions to be sure of qualification.
However, it’s the Spanish that can edge a tight affair by a one-goal margin (12/5, William Hill) and Liverpool’s Fernando Torres can make his first significant contribution to the competition by finding the net (23/20, Victor Chandler).
Regardless of what happens in Pretoria the door remains open for Switzerland, who are a tasty 1/2 at Totesport to qualify and a safe bet at 4/7 (Stan James) to overcome Honduras. Los Catrachos have barely produced a goal scoring opportunity in 180 minutes of football while the Swiss are as resolute as they come at the back so Honduras look unlikely to trouble the scorers.; subsequently, 888Sport’s 11/8 for Ottmar Hitzfeld’s side to win ‘to nil’ represents cracking value and for the more ambitious Ladbrokes chalk 6/1 against a 2-0 Switzerland success.