With one match in the books for groups A through D, here is a look at the updated odds to win and advance from the groups.
South Africa surprised in the opener and played solid soccer. They drew with Mexico and looked great in every aspect of the game. Bafana Bafana goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune made a couple of key saves and looked in control for the entire 90 minutes.
The same can’t be said for Mexican keeper Oscar Perez. He looked lost in a lot of situations and his indecisiveness played a part in South Africa’s 1-0 score. Mexico needs their #1 to improve if they don’t want to take an early out after the group stage.
France showed the lack of urgency I was talking about. Raymond Domenech’s squad didn’t look like it was interested in pushing the pace at any point in the match, and they didn’t pick it up when they played against ten Uruguayans for the final ten minutes either.
Uruguay’s Nicolas Lodeiro was sent off after a foul against Bacary Sagna. He will be suspended for his squad’s matchup with South Africa Wednesday. The side ended up with a point out of the match against France, but their superstar Diego Forlan didn’t show his striking-ability. He had once good chance, but missed the net.
The group is wide open now and the odds reflect the situation. I still see France and Uruguay advancing, but a surprise draw or win by the Bafana Bafana in their match against Uruguay could get them through.
Pinnacle still has France as the favorite to win the group at +150, and Uruguay still offers decent value at +277. If you think the South Africans can turn the group expectations upside down and come out on top, you will find a +535 line at Pinnacle. The odds for teams advancing have moved so close to each other, that there is no real value in them.
We saw South Korea dominating a very weak Greek team Saturday. Greece is basically out of the competition after their first match, as they won’t have any shot at beating either Nigeria or Argentina.
The match between Argentina and Nigeria was close, and Nigeria is still in a good position to advance as runner-up from Group B. They will have to beat South Korea, but I don’t see them having any trouble doing so.
Argentina should cruise to the group victory now, so there is not a lot of value in this group. Even if South Korea surprises and advances from the group, you will only get $120 for your $100 bet.
This is an interesting one. Not only did the US manage a draw with England, but the English squad looked really vulnerable. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a change at goalkeeper after Robert Green’s mishap that cost England the win.
On top of the usual display of nerves at the World Cup, the English are in injury trouble. Star striker Wayne Rooney missed practice after being kicked during the match against the US. He is expected to start, but he didn’t show his full potential against the US and ankle problems could diminish his productiveness even more.
Defenders Ledley King and Ashley Cole sat out practice as well. Cole, who rarely practices immediately following a match, should be ready to go, but King’s situation could be a problem. He inured is groin during the match against the US, and will be out until at least the semi-final stage of the tournament. He could be out for the rest of the World Cup, if the English side even makes it that far.
His poise and calmness made him captain of his club team, Tottenham Hotspur, and the English could use this self-confidence after the shaky start.
With England struggling, the US squad is in a position to actually win this group, and the odds for that are definitely worth a look. If you invest $100 and the US ends up on top of the group, you will receive $344 in return at Pinnacle.
Another line worth a look is England not advancing from the group stage. While this is far from a lock, the chances of it happening are better than the +744 odds at Pinnacle would make you believe.
Germany scored the most goals out of any teams in their first matches. They beat Australia’s Socceroos handily 4-0. Joachim Loew’s squad looked rock-solid in every aspect of the game, and they should win the group easily.
Ghana beat Serbia on a late penalty by Asamoah Gyan. They should end up in second in the group. Australia didn’t look as good as they did four years ago in Germany.
If you still believe the Socceroos can turn their luck around and advance, the +789 is definitely worth a look. It will be a tough road for them though, since they gave up four goals against Germany.
The tiebreaker that decides between teams with the same point total after the three matches is the goal difference, and the Socceroos got off to a bad start in that department, sitting a -4 after just one match.