Day 10 World Cup Picks & Preview

The Netherlands got their second win, but still haven’t shown the offensive firepower they are known for. They barely beat Japan 1-0. Cameroon is the first team to be eliminated from the World Cup after its loss to Denmark.

Ghana struggled against Australia. Despite a red card against Australian forward Brett Holman, and the tying goal on the ensuing penalty kick, the Black Stars couldn’t beat the Socceroos. Ghana lead Group D and face Germany in the deciding match Wednesday.

Sunday’s action kicks off with a match between Slovakia and Paraguay. Both sides finished their first game with a 1-1 draw, but their feelings about the outcome couldn’t have been any different. While Paraguay celebrated holding on to the tie against defending champions Italy, the Slovakian squad was upset over giving up a late goal against lowly New Zealand.

Paraguay goes into the match as the favorite, and they should win. A draw is not out of the picture, though, as the Albirroja have had trouble scoring. Their only true striker, Roque Santa Cruz, played only 22 minutes as a substitute against Italy. He said he will be ready to go full time Sunday, which would be a big boost for the Paraguayan attack.

Slovakia’s strong defense could create a problem for Paraguay. However, Slovakia will almost have to play for the win, because they face Italy in their final group match. Even draw with Paraguay will put the Slovakian side in a tough spot.

If you believe in a draw go to 5Dimes for +225 odds. If you think Slovakia will pull off the win, go to Pinnacle for a +293 moneyline.

Italy and New Zealand face off in the second match of the day. While Italy struggled in their opener, New Zealand surprised against Slovakia. However, I wouldn’t expect a surprise here. Italy have slowed down since their World Cup title four years ago, but New Zealand is simply outmatched.

This could be the right opponent for Italy to get over their offensive troubles. I think this will be a big win by the defending champions, and the moneyline doesn’t offer any real value here.

With the way this World Cup has been going, the total is a tough call as well. I would expect Italy to win in a blowout and crush the 2.5 total, but all the low-scoring games so far make the total a risky bet.

The third match of the day promises to be the best. Brazil and the Ivory Coast face off in a battle in the Group of death. This match has several interesting subplots. Injured Didier Drogba, the Elephants’ most dangerous striker, could see his first start of the tournament after playing 24 minutes in the side’s opener. He wasn’t a factor in the Ivory Coast’s 0-0 draw against Portugal.

Defense is another storyline to look at. I expected a shootout between Portugal and the Ivory Coast, but the Elephants’ defense held up and kept superstar Cristiano Ronaldo in check.

The Brazilians play a more defense style than they used to in previous tournaments. They opened with a 2-1 victory over North Korea. They got the win, but didn’t play great. In their matchup with the Ivory Coast, their defenders’ experience in the Champions League will come into play.

Keeper Julio Cesar, right back Maicon, and center back Lucio all play for Internazionale, which faced Chelsea and Drogba in the Champions League Round of 16. Lucio shut down Drogba inhe first leg of the matchup and looks to do the same Sunday.

I think this will be a close one, but Brazil will come out the winner. I don’t think Drogba will be much of a factor, and playing him could hurt the side more than it helps. If you feel the same way, go to 5Dimes for the most value in the Brazil moneyline (-142).

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