Day 1 World Cup Preview & Picks

The World Cup starts tomorrow with the matchup between host South Africa and Mexico. The match will be played at newly built Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg. Kick-off is at 10am Eastern Time.

History points at an upset victory by the South Africans here. Host-teams traditionally fares well if they are scheduled to play in the tournament opener. This situation has come up seven times, and the host-team has never lost in the first match of the World Cup.

Italy beat the US in 1934, Brazil defeated Mexico in 1950, Sweden bested the Mexicans in 1958, Chile won their matchup against Switzerland in 1962, and Germany beat Costa Rica four years ago. England drew with Uruguay when the Three Lions hosted the World Cup in 1966, and Mexico’s opener in 1970 ended in a 0-0 draw.

South Africa hopes to continue this streak, but it doesn’t look good for the Bafana Bafana. They are widely considered the worst team to ever host a World Cup, and they play a strong opponent in Mexico.

However, the South Africans have surprised lately. They ride a 12-game unbeaten streak into the home opener Friday and they’re hoping to continue their strong play. They will have the home-crowd behind them and they are looking to surprise the Mexicans.

Mexico plays in its record fifth World Cup opener, and has never won one. They drew with the Soviet Union in 1970, and lost the other four.

Still, I can’t see the South Africans beat Mexico, and even a draw would be a huge surprise. Mexico beat Italy in their final warm-up for the cup and played a strong match against the Netherlands in May.

They are too good for the Bafana Bafana, and they should win this one. If you are with me here, go to 5Dimes for a +170 moneyline. If you believe in a draw or a South Africa win, go to Bookmaker.

In the second game of the day, France will face Uruguay. We covered this game in more depth in the “5 World Cup Games you don’t want to miss as a bettor” column, but let’s just say this:

France is on the decline and misses their retired playmaker and leader Zinedine Zidane. They tend to take inferior competition too lightly and play halfhearted soccer at times. They suffered some surprise losses in their preparation for the World Cup.

The latest shocker came in a 1-0 loss to lowly China last Friday. Manager Raymond Domenech needs to find a way to motivate his players – and fast – or they will look bad against Uruguay tomorrow.

Uruguay is on the rise and they played a great qualifying stage and showed that they can play with the top teams in the world. They look to capitalize on the French squad’s struggles and I see a good chance of this happening.

I think Uruguay will win this one, and if you do to, go to 5Dimes for the best bang for your buck. They offer Uruguay at +274 and a draw at +231. If you think France can shake off their bad preparation and will come through on Friday, go to 5Dimes for a +122 line.

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