WORLD CUP BETTING: Live on ITV1: Thu 12.30, BBC1: Thu 15.00 & Thu 19.30: Day 7 of the World Cup; Argentina v South Korea, France v Mexico and Greece v Nigeria in Groups A & B.
&newArgentina looked the part at times against Nigeria, even if their manager Diego Maradona didn’t in his oversized suit but they still only penetrated an occasionally ragged Super Eagles’ defence once, despite the best efforts of Lionel Messi. They also left enough holes at the back to encourage South Korea, who began their campaign with a heartening 2-0 victory against Greece, however it’s Maradona’s men that are strong, odds-on favourites to land three points; 888Sport pricing them at 2/5.
They have the quality to eventually break down a cohesive South Korea unit but Huh Jung-Moo’s men, underdogs at 9/1 with Betdaq, have been solid at the back of late and can keep things tight in the opening exchanges to ensure that there are no early goals.
The deadlock is a tasty evens (Stan James) to be broken after the 27th minute and it would be no surprise against such compact opponents, if Argentina again struck the game’s only goal, a result Partybets chalk up at 11/2, although the cautious may want to cover both that and a 2-0 triumph at 6/4 (Ladbrokes).
Lionel Messi meanwhile, knocked on the door against Nigeria, only to be denied by an inspired display from ‘keeper Vincent Enyeama but he should manage to open his account in this one and can be backed at evens with bet365 to strike at some stage.
Both beaten in their first game, Greece or Nigeria can ill afford to lose again as they face-off in Bloemfontein and the pair should keep alive their hopes of qualification by drawing in the Free State Stadium; a result Stan James rate at 12/5, even though the Super Eagles are Totesport’s odds-on favourites at 10/11. The duo looked toothless in defeat on Saturday, both drawing a blank in their respective matches and there’s little to suggest that bets on a match total of fewer than 2.5 goals at 1/2 (Betfred) will prove unsuccessful. Indeed, a tally below 1.5 looks likely at 6/4 with Paddy Power and there’s a strong chance that the shot-shy twosome will fail to register a single strike between them, William Hill offering 13/2 for a goalless encounter.
An unconvincing France side meanwhile, are 5/4 with Victor Chandler to get the better of Mexico (5/2, Jaxx.com) but they might have to settle for another draw (9/4, Betfred) against Javier Aguirre’s troops, who will be looking to improve on their opening stalemate against hosts South Africa. A 1-1 scoreline, quoted at 11/2 by 888Sport looks the most likely result given that neither side was at their best in their opening fixtures.