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Old 05-04-2006, 05:06 PM
pokerjoe pokerjoe is offline
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Here's some early leans of mine.

POLAND -1/2 over Ecuador. Ecuador travels poorly, and have looked terrible in their friendlies. Poland hasn't looked great, but they'll be hardly travelling at all for this match. They did last fall beat Ecuador 3-0 in a friendly. Edit: Poland just beat Faroe Islands 4-0. That might not sound like much, but actually FI isn't that bad. No one, France or Switzerland included, beat them by more than 3 in qualifying.

ANGOLA +1 1/2 vs. Portugal. Terrible psycholigical matchup for Portugal, having to play a former colony. Like Senegal/France last WC. Add to that their bad habit of starting poorly (have they dropped their last 3 WC openers?). Angola's inability to get the Portuguese who want to play for them just increases antagonism. I think Angola will be pumped sky high for this opener, and Portugal will be in an awkward state of mind.

CZECHIA -1/2 vs USA. I don't like the US chances this WC. Especially in a Europe that hates them, vs. a team that, like Poland, faces little road disadvantage. Koller back helps Czechia; I'm not convinced Reyna, who played this past weekend, is going to be 100% for the US, and they are hugely dependent upon his play, because he plays better for the US than he does for club, and he's their anchor. Edit: he looked okay vs. Arsenal today, but I'm not really basing this pick on his injury status. I think Czechia should be at least 3/4 goal fave on a neutral field with neutral refs, and I don't think it'll be a neutral field and refs.

IRAN +1 vs. Mexico. Although I love betting Mexico vs. European sides, because the lines are inflated, and Mexico's playing style travels well, Iran isn't a Euro side. And I like it that Iran has 4 Bundesliga players in its lineup.

SWITZERLAND +3/4 vs France. I hate France this WC just as much as I hated their chances last WC. Nothing has happened since then to make me change my mind. The Swiss had two draws vs France in qualifying, and, if anything, should be better, considering their very young side (quite a few from the U17 champs of a few years back) are gaining maturity. It's a big and useful difference between 19 and 20. And as a guy who follows them closely says, of their recent decision to keep Barthez as keeper #1 (I love it, cause I hate his keeping), "This is just another favour to Zizou from a spineless manager that is absolutelly clueless when it comes to putting the best players on the field. See his Micoud decisions for ample samples on the level of idiocy by this clown."

SWEDEN -1 1/5 vs T&T. CONCACAF should fairly send 3 each WC, considering their results. But 4? No way, even if our 4 is better than Asia's 5 (which only says how weak Asia is). Sweden has been scoring a lot of goals lately, far different than their historical approach to the game. I see a disection coming on. All 4 games against island minnows in qualifying (Iceland and Malta; and would you rate T&T much higher than them?) were won by 2+ goals. T&T was outscored 13-2 (not counting the final game vs. Mexico, which was a friendly, as it turned out) by the other 3 CONCACAF qualifiers.

TOGO +1/2 vs So. Korea. I'm just fading Korea here. Hopefully I'll get to watch Togo play Saudi Arabia on the 14th, which will provide some measure. If they can show me anything, I'll bite.

AUSTRALIA pk vs. Japan. I like the Australian athletic superiority, and their national habit of showing great competitive spirit in international competitions. I even think they had to beat a tougher team to get here than anything Japan faced. I think this WC is much more exciting and inspiring for them than for the Japanese, who, with Korea, and in a much, much less inspiring situation that last WC.

Comments, criticisms welcome. Lines are, for now, approximate, btw.
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Old 05-06-2006, 02:35 AM
parkendhead parkendhead is offline
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Excellent write up pokerjoe.

I've not had much of a chance to look at the world cup markets yet, though this is probably the time to nick all the value. Do you see anything of worth in the ante-post markets at this stage? I am looking at Sweden to win Group B at 3.25 with Ladbrokes and Bet365, bearing in mind England's well documented problems up front. A draw in the final group match could be enough to take it.

Regards,

Parkendhead.
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Old 05-06-2006, 01:23 PM
pokerjoe pokerjoe is offline
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Hey, Park. Hope things are well for you.

About the to-advance markets, I haven't ever worked out the math on that. I mean, if you ranked A 1/2 over B, B 1/2 over C, and C 1/2 over D, what are the odds of each order of finish? I suppose I could rank as I see fit, then bet differences in the market's rank.

I have 3 different poker friends who want my selections (by default, I'm the soccer guy in my home club), so this is an easy way to handle that. But I hope we can generate some good discussion here. This use to be a good place for useful feedback. Shawn talks about how Europe should have 64 spots and Asia/Concacaf/Africa combined should have 1. I talk about how Concacaf fully deserves its 3 spots, etc.
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Old 05-06-2006, 04:54 PM
pokerjoe pokerjoe is offline
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Leans in bold:


Soccer: World Cup 2006
Total Group Pts. Deductions not included.
Fri 6/9 Germany total group points, must play 3 games
09:00 AM 9301 Over 7 points +119
9302 Under 7 points -135
Fri 6/9 Costa Rica total group points, must play 3 games
09:00 AM 9303 Over 2 points +109
9304 Under 2 points -125
Fri 6/9 Poland total group points, must play 3 games
09:00 AM 9305 Over 5 points +123
9306 Under 5 points -140
Fri 6/9 Ecuador total group points, must play 3 games
09:00 AM 9307 Over 4 points +109
9308 Under 4 points -125
Fri 6/9 England total group points, must play 3 games
09:00 AM 9309 Over 6.5 points +109
9310 Under 6.5 points -125
Fri 6/9 Paraguay total group points, must play 3 games
09:00 AM 9311 Over 5 points +123
9312 Under 5 points -140
Fri 6/9 Trinidad & Tobago total group points, must play 3
09:00 AM 9313 Over 0.5 points -132
9314 Under 0.5 points +116
Fri 6/9 Sweden total group points, must play 3 games
09:00 AM 9315 Over 5.5 points +107
9316 Under 5.5 points -123
Fri 6/9 Argentina total group points, must play 3 games
09:00 AM 9317 Over 6.5 points +133
9318 Under 6.5 points -150
Fri 6/9 Côte d'Ivoire total group points, must play 3 game
09:00 AM 9319 Over 3.5 points +133
9320 Under 3.5 points -150
Fri 6/9 Ser./ Mont. total group points, must play 3 games
09:00 AM 9321 Over 3.5 points +117
9322 Under 3.5 points -133
Fri 6/9 Netherlands total group points, must play 3 games
09:00 AM 9323 Over 4.5 points -112
9324 Under 4.5 points -104
Fri 6/9 Mexico total group points, must play 3 games
09:00 AM 9325 Over 5.5 points -108
9326 Under 5.5 points -108
Fri 6/9 Iran total group points, must play 3 games
09:00 AM 9327 Over 2.5 points -116
9328 Under 2.5 points +100
Fri 6/9 Angola total group points, must play 3 games

09:00 AM 9329 Over 2.5 points -102
9330 Under 2.5 points -114
Fri 6/9 Portugal total group points, must play 3 games

09:00 AM 9331 Over 6.5 points +104
9332 Under 6.5 points -120
Fri 6/9 Italy total group points, must play 3 games
09:00 AM 9333 Over 6 points -108
9334 Under 6 points -108
Fri 6/9 Ghana total group points, must play 3 games

09:00 AM 9335 Over 3 points -105
9336 Under 3 points -111
Fri 6/9 USA total group points, must play 3 games
09:00 AM 9337 Over 3 points -108
9338 Under 3 points -108
Fri 6/9 Czech Rep. total group points, must play 3 games
09:00 AM 9339 Over 5 points +104
9340 Under 5 points -120
Fri 6/9 Brazil total group points, must play 3 games
09:00 AM 9341 Over 7.5 points +130
9342 Under 7.5 points -147
Fri 6/9 Croatia total group points, must play 3 games
09:00 AM 9343 Over 5.5 points +138
9344 Under 5.5 points -155
Fri 6/9 Australia total group points, must play 3 games
09:00 AM 9345 Over 2.5 points -121
9346 Under 2.5 points +105
Fri 6/9 Japan total group points, must play 3 games
09:00 AM 9347 Over 2.5 points -107
9348 Under 2.5 points -109
Fri 6/9 France total group points, must play 3 games
09:00 AM 9349 Over 7 points +104
9350 Under 7 points -120
Fri 6/9 Switzerland total group points, must play 3 games
09:00 AM 9351 Over 5.5 points -116
9352 Under 5.5 points +100
Fri 6/9 South Korea total group points, must play 3 games
09:00 AM 9353 Over 3.5 points +119
9354 Under 3.5 points -135
Fri 6/9 Togo total group points, must play 3 games
09:00 AM 9355 Over 1.5 points +105
9356 Under 1.5 points -121
Fri 6/9 Spain total group points, must play 3 games
09:00 AM 9357 Over 7 points +109
9358 Under 7 points -125
Fri 6/9 Ukraine total group points, must play 3 games
09:00 AM 9359 Over 6 points +142
9360 Under 6 points -160
Fri 6/9 Tunisia total group points, must play 3 games
09:00 AM 9361 Over 3.5 points +142
9362 Under 3.5 points -160
Fri 6/9 Saudi Arabia total group points, must play 3 games
09:00 AM 9363 Over 1 points -128
9364 Under 1 points +112


SOME MASSIVE CHANGES SINCE I FIRST POSTED THIS:



Fri 6/9 Germany total group points, must play 3 games
09:00 AM 9301 Over 7 points +125
9302 Under 7 points -142
Fri 6/9 Costa Rica total group points, must play 3 games
09:00 AM 9303 Over 2 points -111
9304 Under 2 points -105
Fri 6/9 Poland total group points, must play 3 games
09:00 AM 9305 Over 5 points +126
9306 Under 5 points -143
Fri 6/9 Ecuador total group points, must play 3 games
09:00 AM 9307 Over 3.5 points +112
9308 Under 3.5 points -128
Fri 6/9 England total group points, must play 3 games
09:00 AM 9309 Over 6.5 points +109
9310 Under 6.5 points -125
Fri 6/9 Paraguay total group points, must play 3 games
09:00 AM 9311 Over 5 points +167
9312 Under 5 points -185
Fri 6/9 Trinidad & Tobago total group points, must play 3
09:00 AM 9313 Over 0.5 points -132
9314 Under 0.5 points +116
Fri 6/9 Sweden total group points, must play 3 games
09:00 AM 9315 Over 5.5 points +107
9316 Under 5.5 points -123
Fri 6/9 Argentina total group points, must play 3 games
09:00 AM 9317 Over 6.5 points +143
9318 Under 6.5 points -161
Fri 6/9 Côte d'Ivoire total group points, must play 3 game
09:00 AM 9319 Over 3.5 points +133
9320 Under 3.5 points -150
Fri 6/9 Ser./ Mont. total group points, must play 3 games
09:00 AM 9321 Over 3.5 points +113
9322 Under 3.5 points -129
Fri 6/9 Netherlands total group points, must play 3 games
09:00 AM 9323 Over 4.5 points -121
9324 Under 4.5 points +105
Fri 6/9 Mexico total group points, must play 3 games
09:00 AM 9325 Over 5.5 points -108
9326 Under 5.5 points -108
Fri 6/9 Iran total group points, must play 3 games
09:00 AM 9327 Over 2.5 points -118
9328 Under 2.5 points +102
Fri 6/9 Angola total group points, must play 3 games

09:00 AM 9329 Over 2.5 points -102
9330 Under 2.5 points -114
Fri 6/9 Portugal total group points, must play 3 games

09:00 AM 9331 Over 6.5 points +104
9332 Under 6.5 points -120
Fri 6/9 Italy total group points, must play 3 games
09:00 AM 9333 Over 6 points -102
9334 Under 6 points -114
Fri 6/9 Ghana total group points, must play 3 games

09:00 AM 9335 Over 3 points +109
9336 Under 3 points -125
Fri 6/9 USA total group points, must play 3 games
09:00 AM 9337 Over 3 points -110
9338 Under 3 points -106
Fri 6/9 Czech Rep. total group points, must play 3 games
09:00 AM 9339 Over 5 points +104
9340 Under 5 points -120
Fri 6/9 Brazil total group points, must play 3 games
09:00 AM 9341 Over 7.5 points +137
9342 Under 7.5 points -154
Fri 6/9 Croatia total group points, must play 3 games
09:00 AM 9343 Over 5.5 points +171
9344 Under 5.5 points -189
Fri 6/9 Australia total group points, must play 3 games
09:00 AM 9345 Over 2.5 points -135
9346 Under 2.5 points +119
Fri 6/9 Japan total group points, must play 3 games
09:00 AM 9347 Over 2.5 points -107
9348 Under 2.5 points -109
Fri 6/9 France total group points, must play 3 games
09:00 AM 9349 Over 7 points +104
9350 Under 7 points -120
Fri 6/9 Switzerland total group points, must play 3 games
09:00 AM 9351 Over 5 points +100
9352 Under 5 points -116
Fri 6/9 South Korea total group points, must play 3 games
09:00 AM 9353 Over 3.5 points +119
9354 Under 3.5 points -135
Fri 6/9 Togo total group points, must play 3 games
09:00 AM 9355 Over 1.5 points -109
9356 Under 1.5 points -107
Fri 6/9 Spain total group points, must play 3 games
09:00 AM 9357 Over 7 points +109
9358 Under 7 points -125
Fri 6/9 Ukraine total group points, must play 3 games
09:00 AM 9359 Over 6 points +142
9360 Under 6 points -160
Fri 6/9 Tunisia total group points, must play 3 games
09:00 AM 9361 Over 3.5 points +133
9362 Under 3.5 points -150
Fri 6/9 Saudi Arabia total group points, must play 3 games
09:00 AM 9363 Over 1 points -128
9364 Under 1 points +112
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Old 05-06-2006, 04:54 PM
pokerjoe pokerjoe is offline
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The above, from Pinnacle of course, looks like an interesting way to play.
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Old 05-07-2006, 02:16 AM
DrunkenGoon DrunkenGoon is offline
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<div class="FTQUOTE"><begin quote>Originally posted by: pokerjoe
I talk about how Concacaf fully deserves its 3 spots, etc.</end quote></div>

Welcome back... but they do have 4 this time around, although most people don't even bother counting the T&T [img]i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif[/img]

I'll post my thoughts soon. I grabbed a lot of stuff at the opener and things are looking pretty good.

I have not seen the total points props yet, I'll run through those from a #'s perspective and see what hits the radar screen.
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Old 05-07-2006, 03:05 AM
nehpets nehpets is offline
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AUSTRALIA pk vs. Japan. I like the Australian athletic superiority, and their national habit of showing great competitive spirit in international competitions. I even think they had to beat a tougher team to get here than anything Japan faced. I think this WC is much more exciting and inspiring for them than for the Japanese, who, with Korea, and in a much, much less inspiring situation that last WC.

GO AUSTRALIA! [img]i/expressions/face-icon-small-wink.gif[/img]
hopefully you're right
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Old 05-07-2006, 01:19 PM
pokerjoe pokerjoe is offline
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More on Angola:
http://www.nst.com.my/Current_...33/Article/index_html


http://www.ndtv.com/template/s...940&template=fifa2006



I like this age-blossoming thing. Angloa won the African U20's 5 years ago, and their current coach was the coach of that team, the one who "raised" this generation of players.

At the bottom of that first article they talk about having added Porto's Emmanuel. But according to this, not going to happen.

http://www.angolapress-angop.ao/noticia.asp?ID=437654


I know recently Angola has kicked ass in friendlies against Lesotho and Mauritius. Unfortunately, I some idea that maybe big scores against those two might not mean much. They lost to Korea, but it was 1-0, IN Korea, and, still worse, in the snow (hard to think of a team less prepared for that condition).

About the less-that-great ANC Angola performance, they did beat fellow WC qualifier Togo, and apparently missed a great many scoring chances in the other two games. I've never believed missing easy chances has any predictive value. It just happens. Not winning because you couldn't slot the ball home is frustrating, of course, but not winning because you couldn't create chances is much more problematic.

Of course, none of this changes the fact that Portugal is much superior overall. This bet, if I make it, is purely based on the difficulty of the psychology involved.
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Old 05-08-2006, 03:27 PM
pokerjoe pokerjoe is offline
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http://www.planetworldcup.com/...TS/peter20060213.html


Nice report on the African Nations Cup WC teams.
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Old 05-08-2006, 05:44 PM
Ahead Ahead is offline
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Regarding Sweden...I don´t know,but I´m doubtful.
We have some real serious trouble defense.I mean,we play Alexander Östlund at rightback and the guy has trouble getting to play regular for...Soton.
Centreback Olof Mellberg ain´t as good as he used to be,and left back Erik Edman is the only player we have on that position with any type of quality.
Same goes for goalie.Andreas Isaksson is solid..but if an injury hits we have no real backup whatsoever.
Midfield...highprofile Fredrik Ljungberg is over the hill,problems as well with the offensive midfield role.
Attack..Henrik Larsson is still a decent player,allthough somewhat over the hill.Zlatan Ibrahimovich has had a lousy season in Juve.We have NO backup for those guys.
We are a very thin team with keypkayers either over the hill(like Mellberg,Larsson)or players struggling with form(like Zlatan).
We are VERY vulnerable if some of our players can´t play.We are severly damaged if guys like goalie Isaksson,leftback Edman,defensive midfielder Linderoth,Freddie Ljungberg OR Henke Larsson and/OR Zlatan Ibrahimovich is out of sorts or injured.
Our team most probably peaked sometime around EURO-04.Two years seems like a lot of time sometimes.It feels like we are very vulnerable this time out.
Qualifying..we lost away AND home to Croatia.We were somewhat lucky to beat Hungary away.
We CAN win the group if everything goes our way.It feels we just as easy could finish third.
Starting line up..Isaksson...Östlund-Mellberg-Lucic-Edman...Alexandersson-Källström-Linderoth-Ljungberg..Larsson-Ibrahimovich.
Of those players,we cannot simply afford injuries to Isaksson,Edman,Linderoth,Ljungberg,Larsson,Ibrahim ovich.That´s more than half the starting team.We seriously lacks quality rightback position.Paraguay and England most probably will attack that flank.
We are as thin as spring ice.
I´m not optimistic.
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Old 05-08-2006, 06:03 PM
Ahead Ahead is offline
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..hmm,that said-a quick glance at Englands squad doesn´t give me the shivers.
Attacking..Rooney(injured)-Owen(injured)-Crouch(I mean,we are talking Peter Crouch here)-Walcott(?...?),that´s not anything that gives us nightmares.
Joe Cole could be used as attacker also?
I´ve seen a couple of games with Walcott playing for Soton.A great talent I´m sure,but I cannot imagine him being ready for anything like the WC.
I don´t wanna say anything bad regarding Peter Crouch,just that we should be able to manage him..Östlund or no Östlund.
Santa Cruz injured for Paraguay.Always liked Gamarra,but he has to be way over the hill by now.
All of a sudden-I´m feeling more optimistic.
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Old 05-08-2006, 06:59 PM
pokerjoe pokerjoe is offline
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http://www.ndtv.com/template/s...916&template=Fifa2006


Sure seems like we have to bet the under in Serb matches. I was already leaning toward taking them +1/2 vs. Netherlands, but maybe just betting the under will suffice.


Ahead, I agree with much of what you say, but T&T is rostered with English second division players, so I doubt they'll be the threat. And in the WC, given that weak sides nonetheless find it in themselves to play over their head for a game, I'm picking T&T to fit better against England, that is, to have a greater comfort level there, than against Sweden. I'm leaning toward fading them against Sweden and Paraquay, and backing them against England.
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Old 05-09-2006, 07:13 AM
Ahead Ahead is offline
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Pokerjoe-I agree with that..against T&T.
Saw their qualifier against Bahrain-and it was the definition of low quality football.
Shaka Hislop as goalie is a great improvement-but if we can´t beat T&T comfortably we shouldn´t be in the WC to begin with.
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Old 05-12-2006, 10:32 AM
Shawn Shawn is offline
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Here's the stuff I bet as the Asian Market opened this week:

Serbia +0.5, evens vs Holland: I'm on these guys for the same reason I'm on Arsenal huge next week. They're playing against Barcelona. Just kidding. A defence this stingy just can't be given a half-ball head start, end of story.

Ticos +1.5, 2.075 in the opener away to Germany: The opening game is almost always tight and this looks like a quarter-ball to half-ball too much. The skeleton of the Costa Rican side play together as a club and that should be invaluable as they try to keep their shape and counterattack.

Portugal -1.25, 1.90 vs Angola: The last friendly these teams played saw so many Angolans get sent off the match was abandoned. Pokerjoe is right that Angola will be "up" for this game but it just doesn't matter: there's a huge difference in standard here. Angola are not the Ivory Coast. It may take awhile for the Portuguese to score, but once they break them down for the first goal and Angola have to open up to try to equalise, it finishes 3-0, 4-0 etc.

Czechs -0.5, 2.075 vs USA: Jeff Agoos isn't here, so that's addition by subtraction, but the Czechs are a world-class side and the Americans aren't. I'd be edgier if the Czechs had trouble scoring goals, but they don't, so the favourite is the right side here. Wondering just how much sentimental cash will come in from the American market, and if any will find its way to Asia.

BET OF THE ROUND: Paraguay +3/4, 102.5 vs England. England are always, always overbet and this is no exception. Who the hell are going to score the goals in this one? So far we're hearing that Crouch has a good touch for a big man, and Owen might be three quarters fit. Oh, and there's an Arsenal kid who's never actually played for Arsenal. Logical choices have been left out of the squad and Paraguay will give whatever side Sven sends out plenty to think about. England do have plenty of quality players available but given all the question marks up front, Beckham's deteriorating form, and at least one Neville in the side, we can see possibly losing half this bet but never ever more. More likely the Paraguayans get a result and England go behind the 8-ball immediately.

In the outrights I've been buying Brazil at 3/1 or better. The missus keeps insisting I put a saver bet on Russia but so far the best odds I can get on the Motherland are a miserable 50 million to 1.
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Old 05-12-2006, 09:15 PM
pokerjoe pokerjoe is offline
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I was leaning toward Paraquay for much of the Cup, including vs. England, but when the injuries came in for England, I thought some of the value might be gone. Doesn't look like it, though. A 1/2 goal is generous. 3/4?

I was thinking of Costa Rica, too, but the home side in WC's have such a huge edge. I honestly can't doubt that the refs in the last WC were corrupted, especially for Korea, and so can't bring myself to bet they won't be corrupt for the home side this time, too. I don't think so much of Germany, other than HFA, though. I saw only the first half of their game vs. the US, and they didn't look better than us. And I don't care too much about the second half of that game, because they had their A team and we were experimenting, and they were desperate for the win, like it was anything but a friendly. If that's their best, they aren't beating anyone good this year. And for the Ticos, I'm not sure I like them as much as last WC.

But speaking of home sides, I'm leaning even more toward fading Korean and Japan this whole cup. If you look at Asia's results apart from the Asia WC home teams, they're hard pressed to ever beat anyone.

Agreed, Shawn, that Angola isn't on a par even with past African teams, such as Senegal, Nigeria or Cameroon, whom you could see winning some games against big sides. And I know about the past scores. BUT... that just means that, yet again, Portugal will come out thinking they've already won their WC opener. It's like a broken record with these guys. Could you have found a team less likely to earn Portugal's respect, and thus their effort? Or, just as important, more likely to WANT Portugal's respect? And Angola's young generation, like the Swiss, is coming of age after winning youth titles. I admit I thought I'd be getting at least 2 goals here, and won't settle for 1.25, so I'm still going to wait and hope the market creeps up. But we're talking about the guys who tied Liechenstein here when they still needed points in WC quals.
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Old 05-12-2006, 10:50 PM
pokerjoe pokerjoe is offline
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T&T drew 1-1 with Peru. This was at home, vs. Peru's domestic players only.

"A stunning display from goalkeeper Kelvin Jack and a spectacular Kenwyne Jones free-kick ensured Trinidad and Tobago scraped a 1-1 draw against Peru in their final home match before departing for their debut FIFA World Cuptm finals appearance."
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Old 05-12-2006, 11:35 PM
pokerjoe pokerjoe is offline
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Apparently we shouldn't make too much of Japan's loss to Bulgaria.

"Bulgaria will never have it easier playing Japan than it will tonight. Japan's Europe-based stars were already scheduled to miss the friendly due to club commitments, but it was learned Monday that the team's starting 11 will also be without six of its key local-based talent."

And

"Zico was cursing his misfortune again after Tuesday's 2-1 defeat by Bulgaria in a friendly in Osaka. Zico justifiably felt hard done by given his side's territorial dominance but complaining about phantom penalty claims did little to mask Japan's shortcomings."


As I said before, I worry less about scores in friendlies than play, and if the only problem was unlucky finishing, then not too much should be read into it.

But now adding: 0-0 draw with Scotland, same scenario, apparently. Here's quotes from that game:

"'We were made to defend for most of the game and only had one or two chances on the break, but fortunately for ourselves good goalkeeping and good defending from the entire team meant that we managed to hold on and get the draw that we got. I thought the Japan side played very well,' said Scotland coach Smith. 'We were able to keep a lot of players behind the ball and make it very difficult for them. I felt they played well and they'll be disappointed they lacked that little bit of luck you need around the goal.'"'

At what point do you stop making excuses for a side, and accept that maybe they can't finish? Japan has had this problem for some time, apparently. And these two games were at home.



Still leaning strongly toward Australia. A reason I forgot to note in the OP is Hiddink. I give this guy a lot of credit.

Then there's the class difference in current teams for the two sides. Here's Austrailia:


Goalkeepers: Mark Schwarzer (Middlesbrough), Zeljko Kalac (AC Milan), Ante Covic (Hammarby),

Defenders: Michael Beauchamp (Central Coast), Craig Moore (Newcastle United), Lucas Neill (Blackburn Rovers), Tony Popovic (Crystal Palace), Mark Milligan (Sydney FC)

Midfielders: Marco Bresciano (Parma), Tim Cahill (Everton), Scott Chipperfield (Basel), Jason Culina (PSV Eindhoven), Brett Emerton (Blackburn Rovers), Vince Grella (Parma), Stan Lazaridis (free agent), Josip Skoko (Stoke City on loan from Wigan Athletic), Mile Sterjovski (Basel), Luke Wilkshire (Bristol City)

Strikers:John Aloisi (Alaves), Harry Kewell (Liverpool), Archie Thompson (PSV Eindhoven), Mark Viduka (Middlesbrough), Josh Kennedy (Dinamo Dreseden)





Japan, otoh, for european experience, is working with this:

"Since 2002, more of the Japan squad have trodden the path westwards to Europe - a journey which signals significant development in a player's career.
SV Hamburg picked up Naohiro Takahara in 2003; Atsushi Yanagisawa joined Sampdoria and then Messina, and Daisuke Matsui has earned his first call-up to Zico's squad while at Le Mans. Shunsuke Nakamura swapped Reggina for Celtic in the summer of 2005, becoming a linchpin of the Bhoys' midfield and regularly demonstrating the creativity and dead-ball prowess which has made him Japan's key man. He has taken over that role, at least in part, from former Asian Player of the Year Hidetoshi Nakata who remains an enigma to whoever coaches him.
Zico can also call on players with greater experience outside the J League, some of whom have returned to Japan in recent times. Shinji Ono moved back to Urawa Reds in January, having spent five years with Feyenoord - where he won the UEFA Cup in his first season - and Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi, a veteran of France 98, played for Portsmouth and FC Nordsjaelland in Denmark. Takayuki Suzuki featured for Belgian clubs Genk and Heusden-Zolder in between spells with Antlers. The hero of 2002, Junichi Inamoto, was at Arsenal a season before joining Fulham - and now, having recovered his form, he is with West Brom."

Official Japanese roster:
Goalkeepers - Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi (Jubilo Iwata), Yoichi Doi (FC Tokyo), Seigo Narazaki (Nagoya Grampus Eight)

Defenders - Tsuneyasu Miyamoto (Gamba Osaka), Alex (Urawa Reds), Yuji Nakazawa (Yokohama F-Marinos), Makoto Tanaka (Jubilo Iwata), Akira Kaji (Gamba Osaka), Keisuke Tsuboi (Urawa Reds), Yuichi Komano (Sanfrecce Hiroshima), Koji Nakata (FC Basel)

Midfielders - Hidetoshi Nakata (Bolton Wanderers), Shunsuke Nakamura (Celtic), Shinji Ono (Urawa Reds), Junichi Inamoto (West Bromwich Albion), Takashi Fukunishi (Jubilo Iwata), Mitsuo Ogasawara (Kashima Antlers), Yasuhito Endo (Gamba Osaka)

Forwards - Atsushi Yanagisawa (Kashima Antlers), Naohiro Takahara (Hamburg), Masashi Oguro (Grenoble), Keiji Tamada (Nagoya Grampus Eight) Seiichiro Maki (JEF United Chiba)






Compared to the US, if I may, which next year, after this year's promotions that is, will have about an entire team in the EPL alone, thank you very much.
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  #18 (permalink)  
Old 05-13-2006, 01:09 AM
pokerjoe pokerjoe is offline
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Default Let's get this party started.

Right now, then, I'd say I'm still going with Czechia, Australia, Sweden, Switzerland, and Serbia/Netherlands under, and agreeing with Shawn and adding Paraquay.

I have Angola, Togo, Poland and Iran on hold for now, then.

Here's a key problem with Togo:
MANAGER: Otto Pfister. He replaced Nigerian coach Stephan (or Stephen) Keshi following Keshi's run in the ANC. Pfister, former coach of Zaire and a handful of African clubs, was signed as a short-term band-aid and has not been accepted as manager by the team. Togo's players continue to stump for Keshi, and Keshi has not relinquished his post. Intriguingly, Togo's official website still lists Keshi as coach, which may be an indication of inattention or of indecision.

This is the extent of their preparations:
"Togo have lined up a series of warm-up matches ahead of the tournament. The Hawks meet a Bavarian regional XI in Aindling on 23 May, before taking on either Costa Rica or Bayern Munich's reserve team on 27 May in Frankfurt. The Togolese then travel to face Liechtenstein in Vaduz on 2 June, before a final warm-up in Wangen three days later against a regional select XI."

Considering this team stank up the joint at the Nations Cup, and has very few players in top leagues, and apparently is struggling to line up friendlies and training camp time...I'll have to fade Korea in later games.





The problem with Angola for me is still the price, and I can't believe it won't go up.




Iran: the politics, some, but mostly, I'm thinking of the difference in preparations between them and Mexico. Mexico might be the best prepared, in terms of length of team camp and number of friendlies. It's my understanding that Iran is going to Switzerland for a bit, coming home for a bit, then flying late into Germany.

Here's a squib about Iran's prep:

"SPIEZ, After a close 2-1 victory over amateur side FC Lyss in the first test match, Iran's decimated national team showed an improved performance and defeated amateur side FC Spiez by 5-0 in a second test on Friday evening. Team Melli - without the six foreign based, the three Saba Battery and a couple of injured players - defeated the local amateur club. The team of Branko Ivankovic, which will stay in Switzerland until next Thursday, will take on FC Muensingen in another test on Monday. Iran will then have another ten-day training camp in Croatia and friendly matches against Croatia (Osijek, May 28) and Bosnia & Herzegovina (Tehran, May 31) before travelling to Germany on June 5, six days before Team Melli's World Cup opener against Mexico."

This sounds like such a weak, disjointed preparation that maybe I'll end up backing Mexico after all.



Poland: I'm just waiting for them to show some life in a friendly.



A lean I'm adding: Ghana +1, vs. Italy. I'd really like at least 1.25. I think Ghana might not be the fluke attendee that some of the other African sides are this year, and also that Italy is a mess, with injuries and scandals piling up.

Another lean I'm adding: Croatia. How can Brazil NOT be overbet? And Croatia, one of those handful of teams with less road disadvantage, is perpetually under valued. More than a goal is almost certainly a good bet for such a fearless side.
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Old 05-13-2006, 01:33 AM
DrunkenGoon DrunkenGoon is offline
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Default Let's get this party started.

Since you're all in love with the Czechs, I should point out Pointbet has them -0.5 +118
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