WORLD CUP BETTING: Live on BBC1 & ITV1: Sun 19.30: Day 31 (Sunday) of the World Cup is the World Cup Final: Netherlands v Spain. The tiki-taka of Spain can win the cup for La Furia Roja.
We’ve seen 62 games, 139 goals, 259 cards brandished and carried out countless pub discussions about the reasons behind England’s dismal showing but after four enthralling weeks, World Cup widows can breathe a sigh of relief because it’s almost all over; with a first-time winner set to be crowned in Johannesburg on Sunday, as Spain and the Netherlands square up in a mouth watering finale.
The Dutch, at 6/4 with William Hill to lift the trophy and 11/4 (Paddy Power) to come out on top in normal time, are in cracking shape having won all six of their matches in the tournament but it’s Spain that head Stan James’ outright betting at 4/7 while Vicente del Bosque’s men are also favourites in the 90-minute market at 11/10 with Ladbrokes.
Given their form, it could be argued that Bert van Marwijk’s charges have momentum on their side but although they have performed well thus far, they have also ridden their luck along the way and it’s Spain, who showed signs of their best in the semi-final against Germany, that have the edge.
The European champions have won all of their knockout games by scoring the only goal and in a contest that looks set to be close, Victor Chandler quote them at 11/2 to prevail 1-0 for the fourth match in a row, although Betdaq’s 8/1 for del Bosque’s side to notch twice without reply shouldn’t be ruled out given the potential for a late goal on the break if the Netherlands are pouring forward in search of an equaliser.
Outstanding defensively in Wednesday’s last four encounter, the Spanish look well placed to keep a clean sheet (6/5, Partybets) and accordingly a strong case can be made for the 21/10 posted by bet365 against a win ‘to nil’. Alternatively, as van Marwijk’s troops will look to suffocate the midfield to stifle Spain’s creativity, an opening half of few chances is on the cards and punters can capitalise at Jaxx.com, who offer 7/5 for it to be goalless at the break.
Staying in the middle of the park, Dutch defensive-midfield duo Mark van Bommel and Nigel de Jong will look to unsettle their opponents and could subsequently fall foul of the referee, so they’re worth covering at 7/1 and 9/1 respectively with 888Sport to be shown the first card.
Meanwhile, in attack, the competition’s two top scorers, with five apiece, go head-to-head. For Spain, David Villa has excelled and he’ll carry the bulk of the first scorer cash into the game at 4/1 with Totesport while Betfred make the recent Barcelona capture 11/10 to add to his tally at any point and at the other end Dutch schemer Wesley Sneijder is 7/2 (Paddy Power) to strike.
However, the bold could be rewarded by having a modest flutter on Xabi Alonso at 18/1 (Partybets) to open the scoring. The former Liverpool man came close on several occasions against Germany and with space set to be at a premium, a shot from distance could be needed to break the deadlock.