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World Cup Outright

World Cup Outright

World Cup 2006 Preview - Brazil by David Walker

Outright Odds: 3/1
Group F Winners: 1/4

What else is there to be said about Brazil? They are the only team to have participated in every World Cup finals and are five times winners in 1958, 1962, 1970, 1994 and 2002. They have also finished as runners up twice in 1950 and 1998.

Manager Carlos Alberto Parreira, who won it in 1994 has possibly a better squad of players at his disposal than he did 12 years ago and instead of Bebeto, Romario and Rai he now has Adriano, Ronaldo and Ronaldinho. It is unlikely the man who has lead four different nations to the finals (Kuwait 1982, UAE 1990, Brazil 1994 and Saudi Arabia 1998) will be complaining.

Brazil start as clear favourites for the tournament and have attacking resources to frighten any opposing managers. As well as the trio already described, throw Kaka, Robinho, Roberto Carlos and Juninho into the mix and goals can come from literally anywhere on the pitch.

Qualification wasn't the breeze it should have been, with two defeats and seven draws in 18 matches. It is important to consider though Parreira was forced to shuffle the pack as injuries and European teams demanding their players were kept fit.

In terms of individual talent, Brazil are streets ahead of anyone else participating in the finals, but that is not how a football team should be judged. What we do know, however, is that a fully-fit first-choice team will turn it on when it matters most of all. Brazil, even without Ronaldo, Roberto Carlos and Cafu, hammered Argentina 4-1 in the final of last year's Confederations Cup held in Germany in what could be seen as the warm up" to this year's finals.

The other 31 countries participating in the tournament need some hope that Brazil can be beaten and they do have some weaknesses. Goalkeeper Dida is prone to some dodgy moments, although he is nowhere the liability he was regarded as four years during his calamitous appearances in AC Milan's Champions League campaign. Roque Junior, who had a forgettable loan spell at Leeds United, could also be seen as a weak link at the back.

These minor imperfections could be seen as clutching at straws as overall, as a team and even as a squad, Brazil ooze world class quality with the important players vastly experienced in terms of World Cup finals appearances and success.

While Brazil are the firm bookmaker's favourites, top goal scorer punters may like to try Adriano to win the Golden Boot. Strike partner Ronaldo, who won the coveted title four years ago is only offered at single figures.

Recommended Bet
The 3/1 on offer of a Brazil victory looks decidedly good value before kick-off while Adriano could shine in his first major finals appearance.

Brazil to win the World Cup @ 3/1
E/W Adriano as top goalscorer @ 12/1

David Walker runs a free World Cup bets website and written World Cup previews. A free 45-page World Cup guide is available from the website and features a "free World Cup football shirt" offer.

Article Source: http://www.earticlesonline.com/Article/World-Cup-2006-Preview---Brazil/32892

World Cup Outright

World Cup 2006 Preview - Spain by David Walker

Outright Odds: 14/1
Group H Winners: 4/6

Spain, yet again, are tipped as dark horses for the World Cup and 2006 will finally end years of disappointment and this generation of players will fulfil their undoubted potential. But they won't. For all their individual talent they can never motivate themselves to rise to the challenge.

They are, of course, mainstays of the World Cup and 2006 will be their eight tournament in a row they have qualified for dating back to 1978. The quarter finals is as far as they have gone since then so why the obsession that this will be their year"?

Spain qualified via the play-offs after finishing runners-up to Serbia & Montenegro in their group. Luis Aragones' side were unbeaten in 10 qualifiers but five draws and five wins meant they needed to square off against Slovakia in order to secure their place in Germany. It was all over after the first leg as Spain ran out 5-1 winners before drawing 1-1 in the return leg to win 6-2 on aggregate.

Perhaps the cause for such optimism lies with the manager. Under Aragones, Spain are unbeaten in 18 games since he took over in July 2004, although the players must also take some credit.

Spain have unearthed a real attacking talent in Fernando Torres. The 21-year-old Atletico Madrid striker was the European qualifying zone's joint fourth top goalscorer with seven goals and he is a target for both Arsenal and Chelsea. Torres is seen as the natural successor to Spain's most-capped outfield player and all-time leading goalscorer Raul.

At 28, Raul should be at his peak for the finals but a cruciate knee ligament injury suffered in November raises questions over just how influential he will be. One more excuse for a potentially underachieving tournament?

September's qualifier against Serbia & Montenegro set a new record as it was the first time a foreign club, Liverpool, had more representatives in the national squad than any Spanish club side. Will the likes of Jose Reina, Xabi Alonso, Luis Garcia transfer their excellent club performances onto the grand stage? While Fernando Morientes, with five goals in seven World Cup Appearances means he is a threat even though his domestic form has been somewhat indifferent.

Recommended Bet
The notorious underachievers face a tough opening match prospect in the Ukraine and will need to get up to speed for their remaining two matches which they will be fully expected to win. The opening match will also be Ukraine's first ever World Cup appearance and with both sides keen to avoid defeat, a draw is the likely result.

Spain vs Ukraine draw @ 11/5

David Walker runs a free bets website. You can watch live football online during the World Cup.

Article Source: http://www.earticlesonline.com/Article/World-Cup-2006-Preview---Spain/32891

World Cup Outright

World Cup 2006 Preview - Argentina by David Walker

Outright Odds: 9/1
Group C Winners: 5/4

Following a dismal World Cup four years ago which saw first round elimination, Argentina will look to make a serious impact at this year's finals. Again, they enter as one of the favourites to win the tournament but there are still doubts as to whether they can compete with great rivals Brazil when it really matters.

Argentina were the first side to qualify from the pool of South American teams vying for a place in Germany, although a defeat to Uruguay in the final match saw them finish second on goal difference to Brazil. Argentina managed to beat Brazil 3-1 at home but lost by the same score earlier on in qualifying.

However, a single win against the Brazilians does not cover up the fact they were beaten in consecutive summers in the Copa America and were soundly thrashed 4-1 in last year's Confederations Cup. They are a side with plenty to prove if they are to emerge from the shadow of their more successful South America neighbours.

Manager Jose Pekerman, a former taxi-driver after his own playing career finished, has made plenty of changes following old boss Marcelo Bielsa's departure and has slowly introduced new faces to replace the dismal failures of 2002.

Argentina, while they do not possess a Ronaldo or Ronaldinho, have an extraordinary strength in depth to make most opposition sick with envy. In attack there is an abundance of talent with Hernan Crespo, Carlos Tevez, Luciano Figueroa, Javier Saviola and teen sensation Lionel Messi all fighting for a place.

Such is the abundance of available players in midfield, Pekerman can even afford to drop Juan Sebastian Veron without any serious ramifications. Juan Roman Riquelme, at his peak at 28 years old in Germany, looks set to take over Veron's mantle after a sensational qualifying campaign. Supported by Juan Pablo Sorin and veteran Javier Zanetti down the flanks, Argentina could be devastating in attack if they are in the mood.

However, that could be their downfall. Despite a rich selection of midfield and attacking talent, the side is still over-reliant on Riquelme who has a tendency to blow hot and cold. It can also be argued whether or not Pekerman has found an ideal starting line-up.

Pekerman has a magnificent record at developing young players and has enjoyed success with Argentina by winning World Youth Cups in 1995, 1997 and 2001. He has made progress with the senior side but can he take it one step further and win Argentina's first trophy in 12 years?

Recommended Bet:

Despite an obvious abundance of attacking talent and strength in depth, Argentina are like to fall short again when it really matters. They should improve on their last World Cup campaign and qualify from the group stage.

Holland vs Argentina draw @ 2/1

David Walker runs a free World Cup bets website and written World Cup previews. A free 45-page World Cup guide is available from the website and features a "free World Cup football shirt" offer.

Article Source: http://www.earticlesonline.com/Article/World-Cup-2006-Preview---Argentina/29884

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