10) Top Goalscorer – Miroslav Klose
Germany win and Klose top goalscorer 151 (150/1)
Polish born Klose has spent much of the season warming the bench at Bayern Munich but he remains a firm favourite with German coach Joachim Loew. Klose has a great World Cup record, scoring 10 goals in the previous two tournaments, and as we all know there are few teams that perform as consistently well as the Nationalmannschaft on the big occasion.
“I know that I can have a lot of faith in him. He has always paid back faith with quality,” said coach Loew in a recent press conference.
Perhaps he’ll be paying more than his manager back at the end of the tournament.
9) Ivory Coast To Beat Portugal In Group G
The so-called group of death is going to slaughter two victims and don’t be surprised if Portugal are one of them. Carlos Queiroz’s side made heavy weather of qualifying, the coach is unpopular and they’ve just drawn 0-0 with the mighty Cape Verde in a friendly.
Ivory Coast have the talent and physical game to beat the best, particularly a nimble side like Portugal, plus in Sven Goran Eriksson they have a coach who knows the Portuguese game well. Portugal put Eriksson’s England to the sword in Euro 2004 and World Cup 2006 so perhaps it’s third time lucky for the Swede?
8) Brazil To Win The World Cup
Yes we realise it’s as obvious as the plot to a James Bond movie, but the Selecao are never to be discounted. Dunga has moulded Brazil into a tough European style unit who have lost just once in 24 games, winning the Copa America and Confederations Cup along the way. The coach captained his country to success in 1994 and is looking to join an elite group to win the World Cup as a player and a manager. As second favourites it’s hard to ignore the five-time winners.
7) First Time Winner
Yes: 2.50 (6/4), No 1.50 (1/2)
Given Spain’s red hot form going into the tournament, a first time winner is a tasty bet. If La Roja bottle it then there is always the Netherlands, who have unfinished business with the World Cup. Stretching things a bit perhaps we might see a first time winner from Africa. Memories of Euro 2004 are flooding back. Greece anyone?
6) Winning Continent – South America
Brazil have won the World Cup in Europe (1958), South America (1962), North America (1970, 1994) and Asia (2002) and they could just notch up another bit of history by winning a sixth title in Africa. Argentina can’t be discounted either, as with Leo Messi they can overcome the madness of Diego Maradona’s managerial reign.
5) David Villa To Score In Every Group Game
Barcelona’s new signing bagged three goals in the last World Cup and since then has become one half of the most feared strike partnership in the world with Fernando Torres. He scored goals for fun during the qualifying campaign, so rattling a few past Switzerland, Honduras and Chile isn’t a great deal to ask for. Is it?
4) Greece To Beat South Korea In Group B
Group B, featuring Argentina, Nigeria as well as the above two teams, is an intriguing one. Of course Maradona’s men are the favourites and will surely progress to the last 16. But the second spot is up for grabs and wily old Otto Rehhagel knows how to grind teams down. So the Greeks should start their campaign with a win against an average South Korean side, who have only won one match in the tournament apart from their successful 2002 adventure on home turf where they charged to the semi-finals.
3) Spain To Be Highest Scoring Team
La Roja rocketed in 28 goals during the qualifying process and have multiple options in their line-up all capable of finding the back of the net. The favourites should stock up against Honduras in the group stage, giving them the advantage for this bet as the tournament goes on.
2) Total Red Cards
Over 19.5/Under 19.5 – both 1.90 (9/10) (red cards in extra-time don’t count)
Four years ago there was a record amount of cautions given during the tournament with a whopping 345 yellows and 28 red cards. Referees are going to be under even more scrutiny in this year’s tournament so with identical odds on both over and under 19.5 this looks a safe bet.
1) England To Go Out On Penalties
1990, 1996, 1998, 2004, 2006. Oh dear. The dreaded penalty curse could once again return to haunt the Three Lions. England coach Fabio Capello has been trying to instill a winning mentality into Rooney and co, but eliminating the
penalty phobia could be too much even for Don Fabio. With a potential clash with Germany in the second round I know who I’d be putting my money on if it goes to spot-kicks…