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Some betting advice running up to the World Cup

Some countries have already qualified for the World Cup 2014 competition to be held in Brazil. These include Russia, Honduras, England, Spain and Bosnia but there are still some spots not filled yet.

There will be 32 teams in the World Cup, and the draw for the Group stages will happen on 6 December in Bahia. Until that day, it’s difficult to consider precise odds of which country is tipped to win the competition but there are definitely tips and tricks that will stand you in good stead if you do intend to bet on the tournament.

Fifa World Cup 2014

Bookies are already getting their tips together and, as for when it comes to betting on any major sporting event, the key is in the research. Betfair odds checker, for example, would help you work out the odds as teams qualify and as the draw for the Group stages draws nearer.

When the groups are selected, odds will change again as it becomes much easier to analyse the groupings.

Different bets to consider

The World Cup will be the biggest sporting event in 2014 and, as such, millions of people worldwide will be placing bets. As well as betting on the outright winner, there are other categories for you to look at, which may end up giving you a more realistic chance of winning.

Brazil are the favourites at the moment, and if they do win, it will be their sixth World Cup win. Argentina, Spain and Germany are also teams touted to be up there with a big chance.

Top scorer for the World Cup is also a very popular category to place bets on. You have to work out who you think will be the top striker and therefore who will win the coveted Golden Boot. As goals are racked up, the odds will change game by game, so it’s a really exciting way to follow the tournament.

For the 2010 World Cup, the top striker was Thomas Muller who plays for Germany.

Thomas Muller

Top European team

You could also look at the top European team. There are 13 European teams in the World Cup finals in Brazil and you will be able to see who the top placed European team will be just after the draw on December 6th.

West Ham’s Joe Cole believes that England can win. He is a player with 56 England caps and, although it looks like he won’t make it into the team due to injury, he couldn’t be more excited about the team. He has a lot of World Cup experience so maybe he has a point, but we’re not sure it would be the most sensible option to take a big punt on England to win the tournament!

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My Favourite Games #1

Manchester United 3 – 2 Deportivo La Coruna
Wednesday 10th April, 2002

This game sticks in my mind for one reason. I don’t really remember the goals (in fact the only one I do remember is the Deportivo consolation in the 90th minute – a free kick by Djalminha), but I do remember the atmosphere. You sometimes hear that the crowd was electric, and for me, this is the game I always think of when someone mentions it. Never have I heard a crowd like it.


I’m not sure why this game stands out more than others, but that doesn’t really matter. It was a quarter-final second leg in the 2001-2002 Champions League and, after a 2-0 away first leg win in the Riazor, United were favourites. However, they were missing the injured Roy Keane and the suspended Paul Scholes, so United had to rely on Veron in the centre of midfield… and the Argentine went on to have one of his best games in a United shirt, assisting with two of the goals.

This was also the game that saw Beckham ruled out and struggling to be fit for the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea, with Solskjaer replacing the England captain in the 21st minute. Despite these setbacks, when Solskjaer made the score 3-0 on aggregate that seemed to be it, however, a Laurent Blanc own goal meant that the Spanish side still had an outside chance.

However, Solskjaer again, and then a red card and a chorus of ‘adios’ first for Scaloni and then for Duscher meant that the game was beyond Deportivo and Giggs finished it off before the consolation free kick from Djalminha. United would go on to face Liverpool’s conquerors and eventual finalists Bayer Leverkusen in the semi-final, a tie which would see United eliminated on away goals.

This wasn’t the best game in the world, it wasn’t even the most important. But for me, the atmosphere has yet to be beaten, and this will be the game I always mention when I get asked: what’s the best atmosphere you’ve ever been to?  For me it was this. Unfortunately, the atmosphere at Old Trafford leaves a lot to be desired these days, however, back then the big European nights would guarantee a decent crowd. I’m glad I was there.

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Will Mourinho be Sir Alex Ferguson’s Successor?

Sir Alex Ferguson has metaphorically the biggest boots in all of football, and certainly the Premier League. He has managed Manchester United for over 25 years now and has won everything in the game, including 12 league titles and two Champions League titles. His Manchester United side have been the dominant side of English football in the past two decades. Ferguson was opting to retire 10 years ago now, but decided to stay on and hasn’t looked back since.

You’ll hear him say before every season he has ‘another three years’ left in him, and he seems to continue. His health is good, and as long as it is, he won’t be leaving Manchester United. It’s strange to think that a lot of Manchester United fans have only seen one manager manage their team, and the world after Sir Alex is going to be a different one. Who will be able to take over from him? Is there anyone who can fill those massive boots? There may be one guy…Jose Mourinho!


Jose Mourinho is still at Real Madrid, and whilst he currently loves the challenge of managing the biggest club in the world, we all know he won’t be there for too many years to come. He got the Real Madrid job after being hugely successful with Porto, Chelsea and Inter Milan, and has a record no other manager can really match, and he has only been managing for about 10 seasons, quite impressive. Real Madrid has always had huge pressure, and now even more than ever, as they are competing against Barcelona, which is one of the best teams anyone has ever seen. In his first season at Real Madrid, he got close to Barcelona, but not close enough, but it only took him to his second season where he had reclaimed La Liga back for Barcelona.

Perhaps his next mission is to win Real Madrid’s 10th Champions League title, and once or if he accomplishes that looks to go back to England. It may still be quite some time he stays at Real Madrid, as currently he is building a fantastic squad to match that of Barcelona’s, and has the potential to dominate Spain and the rest of Europe. One day he’ll will think it’s ‘job done’ though and onto his next career goal.

He has always stated how much he loves the Premier League, and says one day he will return and stay for a long time. With him saying that, you start to look at his potential new club. Liverpool is a candidate because it’s another job with tremendous amounts of pressure, but currently a long way away from securing their first title in over 20 years, it may appeal to Mourinho though.

Rumours he could be off to Tottenham, Manchester City or Arsenal, and even a comeback to his old club Chelsea has been wished by his old fans at Stamford Bridge. However, the most likely outcome would be for him to join United. Why do I say this?

Mourinho has said before that he has always respected Sir Alex Ferguson and Manchester United, and claimed to be a fan when growing up in Portugal. Mourinho loves the spotlight and he will get plenty of attention if he was to follow Ferguson. Mourinho has all the attributes and is the template of a fantastic manager, and his ambitions are matched by Manchester United. Both things go hand in hand, and some years down the line, we will see Mourinho return to the Premier League, and may walk out at the Theatre of Dreams to continue Sir Alex Ferguson’s legacy.

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The Top 10 Most Capped Players in World Football

The last count shows that 237 players have reached 100 caps for their country. Here I run down the top 10, but be warned, this list is not full of world famous footballing superstars, but they have all earned their positions on this list.

10. Martin Reim. Estonia. 157 Caps


The central midfielder holds his own record in being the highest capped player to have never played in the finals of a major national tournament. Having played the majority of his football in his homeland (and a brief spell in Finland), he’s not the most recognisable name on this list, however, he is something of a legend in his own country. Reim spent the majority of his career at the most successful club in Estonia, FC Flora Tallinn, and in 2010 he became their manager, leading them to back-to-back titles in his first two seasons in charge.

9. Sami Al-Jaber. Saudi Arabia. 163 Caps


Sami Al-Jaber has appeared in four World Cups and although Saudi Arabia never qualified from the group stage he managed to score 3 World Cup Finals goals. He was also the first Saudi Arabian player to appear in the Premier League when in the 2000-2001 season he joined Wolves on loan. Unfortunately, he made only the five appearances for Wolves due to a variety of reasons, including injury, the Asian Cup and international clearance issues and returned back to Al-Hilal where in total he spent the best part of 20 years.

8. Adnan Al-Talyani. UAE. 164 Caps

When Al-Talyani retired from international football in 1997 he was the record holder for most caps, and 15 years later he has only moved down to 8th. A one club man, he spent his whole 19 year professional career at the Emirati club, Al-Shaab, and has since been voted the United Arab Emirates’ player of the century.

7. Cobi Jones. USA. 164 Caps

Many of the older readers will remember the dreadlocked midfielder playing for Coventry City during the early years of the Premier League, whilst hardly anyone will recall his short spell in Brazil with Vasco de Gama. However, it was the 11 years he spent at LA Galaxy which he will be most remembered for, and his shirt number of 13 has been officially retired by the club.

6. Vitālijs Astafjevs. Latvia. 167 Caps

The highest European on the list, and another midfielder, Astafjevs career high point would have to be captaining his country at the 2004 European Championships. An 8 time Latvian League Champion, he tried his luck throughout the continent playing for 8 different clubs (with 4 spells at Latvia’s most successful club, Skonto Riga), including spells in Russia, Austria, and also over 100 games for Bristol Rovers (during which Rovers finished in their lowest ever league position, 23rd out of 24 in what is now League 2!).

5. Ivan Hurtado. Ecuador. 167 Caps

The only South American on the list, and still actively playing club football with Barcelona (of Ecuador), he has a chance of climbing this list, however, he was last selected for the national team back in 2010 when he himself admitted that after some poor performances others now deserved their chance. Hurtado is a centre-back who has played all over the world with spells in Mexico, Colombia, Qatar and Spain, and was linked to the Premier League after impressive performances in the 2006 World Cup. He also holds a couple of extra records, including the youngest player to be capped for Ecuador, and has appeared in more World Cup qualifying matches than any other player. [Read more…]

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Fifa World Cup – Brazil

The 20th running of the Fifa World Cup takes place in Brazil, due to kick off on 12th June 2014 with the final scheduled to take place on Sunday 13th July 2014. The match schedule was announced in Zurich on 20th October 2011, with all eyes on Brazil endeavouring to take the showpiece when they kick off the tournament in Sao Paulo on Thursday 12th June. The qualifying groups have yet to be finalized and their opponents still to be confirmed. Brazil gain automatic qualification as the host nation and enjoy a trouble free run up to the tournament hand picking friendlies to boost moral ahead of the biggest tournament the country has ever seen.

Brazil have been installed as the 7/2 favourites with most bookmakers however some bookies are going as short as 3/1 with home court advantage. The bookies are already throwing the free bets at punters in anticipation of one of the biggest betting events of all time. It’s worth shopping around if you are going to have a bet and get some free betting cash to boost your returns.

Fifa World Cup

For UK punters the group matches are scheduled to kick off at 5pm, 9pm or 11pm with one group match pencilled in for 2am, so the majority of football fans will be able watch the games live after a hard day’s work.

Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari has a wealth of talent at his mercy with new and exciting youngsters coming through the ranks such as Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior, commonly known as Neymar, who was voted the 2011 South American Footballer of the Year at the tender age of 19. Currently plying his trade with Santos, Neymar is on everybody’s watch list from Real Madrid to Chelsea and Manchester City.

Brazil are a big game team, their international form has been typically uninspiring as they rotate the squad, the recent 4 – 0 thumping of Bolivia on 6th April 2013 comes as a welcome boost after drawing against both Russia and Italy, prior to that failing to overcome both England and Argentina slumping to 2 – 1 defeats.

The attacking options are endless with the Highly regards Hulk, Fred, Leandro Costa, Osvaldo and the 19 years Leandro all fighting for first team places. The spine of the team is full of attack minded midfielders, Ronaldinho, Kaka, Ramires and Paulinho. Defensively they look a little light, however that’s generally never been much of a concern as the modus operandi is to attack.

With the weight of a nation behind them Brazil look good to carry the flag and reach the final, any backers should be handsomely rewarded. It may be worth playing on the betting exchanges and laying off your stake prior to the final as they will certainly be odds on to lift the trophy if they make it that far.

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The ‘Not-the-best’ Team of the Premier League

Now, I didn’t want to call this the ‘worst’ team that could currently be selected in the Premier League as all these players are far better than I am and have achieved more in football than I ever will, however, they are performing in the top league in the world, and I just don’t think they are good enough. The selection below are players who I think are either past it, don’t have it, or never will have it at this level. This is what I think is the weakest selection of players that have played in the Premier League this season.

Goalkeeper – Kelvin Davis


Now, there are a few goalkeepers who haven’t had the best of starts in goal, Green, Federici and Given have all lost their starting positions this season, however, it’s Kelvin Davis who currently gets my vote. For Southampton to stay up, they will need a better goalkeeper and they will hope that Gazzaniga will be an improvement on the distinctly average Davis.

Right Back – Andy Wilkinson


Now, Gary Neville (and to a lesser extent Tony Hibbert) have proven that even if you aren’t technically the best player, if you work hard and put the effort in you can carve out a very successful career at right back. Unfortunately, Wilkinson has the same limitations as these players, he just decides to make up for what he lacks in thuggery. Wilkinson is a player who we just don’t need gracing the Premier League.

Centre Back – Clint Hill


On the same theme as Andy Wilkinson is Clint Hill, another player who just isn’t good enough for this level and performs more than his share of the dark arts to make up for his lack of ability. If QPR are to improve then they need him out of the starting 11 as soon as possible. What must Julio Cesar think? A couple of years ago he could look up and see Lucio and Walter Samuel helping Inter to knock Barcelona out of the Champions League… now he looks out and sees Clint Hill!

Centre Back – Jos Hooiveld


Hooiveld just looks like a Championship defender. He looks like this may be a step too far and having been injured during the drubbing at Arsenal he was replaced by Yoshida and the Saints got their first win of the season. A coincidence?

Left Back – Danny Rose


Now at Sunderland, Rose has a chance to show what he can do. He could quite quickly remove himself from this team, and he’s obviously quite highly rated, however, I can’t see why. As a left winger he doesn’t offer anything going forward, and as a left back he has never impressed. Add to this the fact that he asked to be substituted for Great Britain in the Euro’s because he felt tired it’s not exactly the type of attitude you want in a player. [Read more…]

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Are Everton a stronger outfit than rivals Liverpool?

Liverpool and Everton has both always been huge clubs in English football history. Liverpool can always boast about the amount of success they have in terms of trophies, including five Champions League titles, but Everton have won their fair share of domestic trophies and are currently the longest reigning team in the Premier League. Liverpool last won the league title in 1990 and that seems a very long time ago now, but have come a close 2nd on a couple of occasions in the last decade.

The most recent was in the 2008/2009 season where Liverpool finished four points behind Manchester United. Since then, Liverpool has been on a decline and finds themselves further and further behind first place. Last season they finished in 8th position, even behind rivals Everton.


Going into this season, Liverpool first hopes and perhaps even remaining hopes was to finish in the top four, and reach Champions League football once again. In their first 5 matches, they have yet to find a win. They have had three home games, albeit against top sides, they have picked up just one point. In their two away games, they have picked up another point, as they sit in the relegation zone one month after the Premier League has started. Everton on the other hand have had a flying start to the season.

If you ignore their recent exit in the Capital One Cup to Leeds, they have been almost flawless in the league. They started their campaign by beating Manchester United, before cruising to victory at Aston Villa one week later. They had lost to West Brom, but bounced back with two decent performances and find themselves on 10 points, 8 more than Liverpool, and sit 3rd place in the table.

Who will finish higher between these two clubs this season then? Liverpool can’t buy a win at the moment, and struggling to find goals at the moment. Suarez is their only out and out forward, so they have no back up if he was to get injured. Everton have always had little funds, and even more so in recent seasons. David Moyes has done a splendid task but assembling a great squad at Everton this year. Jelavic starts his first full season, and has Belgium players Fellaini, one of the players of the season so far, and new signing Mirallas to support a dangerous looking front line. Stephen Pienarr’s return to Goodison Park looks a great one for the fans, as he continues to look impressive with fantastic vision and passion, and the ability to carry the ball. Everton have been solid defensively, and Baines at left back looks a top player at the moment.

It’s hard to say they have a better squad than Liverpool, but there seems a lot more positive energy in the Everton side than there is in the Liverpool side. Everton lost to Liverpool in all three matches last season, including the FA Cup semi, but it’ll be interesting to see who comes out on top in the head to head this year, and who will be leading the biggest challenge for the European places in the league this year.