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World Cup Preview - Poland by David Walker

Outright Odds: 125/1
Group A Winners: 4/1

Following a disastrous 2002 World Cup campaign in which coach Jerzy Engel talked up his side's prospects only for them to be beaten 2-0 by South Korea and hammered 4-0 by Portugal, Poland will be keen to recreate their former World Cup glories.

Under coach Pawel Janas, Poland made short work of their qualifying group, enjoying home and away victories against Austria, Azerbaijan, Northern Ireland and Wales. Two narrow 2-1 defeats to England prevented a clean sweep but eight wins out of 10 matches was more than enough to cement their place in the finals.

In qualifying they proved their ability to beat average teams convincingly and they will need to repeat this on the grand stage if they are to repeat their glorious campaigns of 1974 and 1982 in which they finished third. However, they also need to prove they have what it takes to beat the stronger sides as they did in 1974, when Argentina, Italy, Sweden and Yugoslavia were dispatched before beating Brazil to claim third place.

They certainly have the firepower to do so and Poland's main strength lies in attack. During qualifying they cracked in 27 goals, notably the 8-0 thrashing of Azerbaijan and scored at least once in all 10 of their qualifying matches. More importantly, they scored 10 more than group winners England managed for all their multi-million pound's worth of strikers and only three sides scored more goals than the Poles during the European qualifying campaign.

Elche striker Tomasz Frankowski, nicknamed The Goals Hunter" and Celtic forward Maciej Zurawski fired in 14 goals between them during qualifying while Southampton's Grzegorz Rasiak is also in contention.

Poland are also a side that is not short of experience. The expected starting line-up has an average age of over 30 while Jacek Krzynowek, Jamil Kosowski and Radolsaw Kaluzny have all played in the German Bundesliga. Four years ago the team struggled to cope with the climate in Korea and Japan but will have no such issues this time when making the short trip over the border into Germany.

Their only real weakness is at the back where they have developed a habit of conceding soft goals which will not go unpunished when they face a team in clinical mood.

Recommended Bet:
Poland have received a favourable draw in which they should arguably beat both Ecuador and Costa Rica with the local derby" fixture against Germany sandwiched in between. The dismal failure of four years ago means the Poles cannot be backed confidently to win Group A, although they are strong enough to qualify from it.

Poland to qualify from Group A @ 8/15
Poland to beat Costa Rica @ 4/5

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

Article Source: http://www.earticlesonline.com/Article/World-Cup-Preview---Poland/29090

World Cup Preview

World Cup 2006 Preview - England by David Walker

Outright Odds: 13/2
Group B Winners: 8/13

We've seen it all before and do the tabloids genuinely believe this is England's best chance of success"? What, again? Another year, another major tournament England are expected to win, yet they always bow out with a whimper. Why should this World Cup be any different? It's not 1966 any more, after all.

For all the media playing up England's chances, the bookmakers are far more conservative. The favourite stage of elimination odds-wise is the second round at 12/5, with quarter final elimination at 4/1 and the semi-finals at 9/2.

This is because England under Sven Goran Eriksson are just far too predictable. They may be able to qualify with ease through mediocre qualifying groups in which they are almost always top seeds, but the plain fact is they cannot perform on the big stage.

England will breeze through the group stage with comfortable victories over Paraguay and Trinidad & Tobago before an inevitable draw against Sweden in the final game. However, should they come up against Germany in the second round that may be the end of their World Cup adventure.

When it matters the most, England follow the same pattern time and time again. They always go a goal ahead but then lose their bottle and put everybody behind the ball for the remainder of the game in hope of clinging on to what they have got. Sometimes it works, such as against Argentina in the last World Cup, but more often it doesn't, namely the defeat to Brazil in the next round and later France and Portugal in Euro 2004.

England are the best in the world at flattering to deceive, well, apart from Spain. On paper they have perhaps the best squad they have ever had at the manager's disposal but for all the individual talent, the players often fail to gel effectively as a team. Arguably two of the best central midfielders in the world in Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard don't appear to be able to play together while there is also the timeless problem of the absence of a natural left-sided player to deal with.

England have been dealt a further blow with the news that Wayne Rooney may also miss the finals. The side could do with his genius play and sheer brute force and give the faithful supporters something to cheer about in what could now be a short stint in the Finals.

Recommended Bet:
Don't believe what you read in the papers and get swept up in patriotic bets. While this could be the best squad of players England have ever had they cannot be trusted with your betting money. You could try some handicap bets for the matches against Paraguay and Trindad & Tobago while a second round elimination bet could also be a wise, if not painful, investment.

England to be eliminated in the second round @ 12/5

David Walker runs free World Cup bets and World Cup previews websites. 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---England/29522

World Cup Preview

World Cup 2006 Preview - France by David Walker

Outright Odds: 12/1
Group G Winners: 1/2

France were required to call on the cavalry to ensure qualification to the finals. Stuck in fourth place in their group, retired veterans Zinedine Zidane, Claude Makelele and Lilian Thuram returned to the side in an attempt to turn around the fortunes of the failing side.

A precious 1-0 win in the Republic of Ireland, a 1-1 draw in Switzerland and a 4-0 hammering of Cyprus secured France top spot in a group in which they remained unbeaten. Two draws against Israel and Switzerland and one against Ireland added to their five wins and saw them avoid a potential banana skin in the play-offs.

This is the first time France have qualified for the World Cup in 20 years, as they entered the 1998 tournament as hosts and 2002 as Champions. They failed to reach the finals in 1990 and 1994 and will be desperate to avoid the humiliation they suffered four years ago in which they finished bottom of their group without a goal to their name.

France are an ageing side with Thuram and Zidane at 34 in the finals while Makelele, and goalkeeper Gregory Coupet will be 33 and midfielder Sylvain Wiltord 32. The main problem manager Raymond Domenech has endured is the younger generation of players just don't look up to the task which has forced him to bring back the tried and trusted stars of yesteryear.

Domenech has also overlooked the creative likes of Robert Pires and Johann Micoud with the a potential midfield, bar Zidane, of Makelele, Wiltord and Patrick Vieria looking very static. Surely Zidane cannot be expected to do it all on his own at this late stage of his career?

Despite the chronic lack of midfield creativity, this year's finals must see the best of strike pairing Thierry Henry and David Trezeguet who have failed to shine in previous tournaments. In 17 World Cup Appearances between them, they have collectively scored just four goals while Djibril Cisse has failed to score in three.

While on paper France still have world class credentials they cannot be backed confidently to succeed in this tournament. At odds-on they provide almost no value to win or even qualify from Group G.

They play perhaps their toughest opponents Switzerland in the opening match and providing they come out of it unscathed they could use it as a springboard to qualify for the last 16.

Recommended Bet
There is no value in backing France to win the group or even qualify from it at heavy odds-on given their struggle for qualification and inept performance four years ago. They face Switzerland in their opening match, a side they drew twice with during the qualification process and another stalemate is the recommended bet here.

France vs Switzerland draw @ 9/4

David Walker runs a free World Cup bets and football betting systems websites. 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---France/32883

2010 FIFA World Cup: United

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