World Cup: High stakes for opening game losers in Group D

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Updated: June 19, 2014
A new generation of England players the likes of Raheem Sterling (pictured) point to an exciting future for the program

A new generation of England players the likes of Raheem Sterling (pictured) point to an exciting future for the program

Today’s games

Group C: Colombia v Côte d’Ivoire; Estadio Nacional, Brasilia, Brazil; Friday, June 20, 2am

Group D: Uruguay v England; Arena Corinthians, Sao Paulo, Brazil; Friday, June 20, 5am

Group C: Japan v Greece; Estadio das Dunas, Natal, Brazil; Friday, June 20, 8am

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Their records may read 0-1 after opening game losses, but those defeats came in very different circumstances for Group D rivals Uruguay and England. Brazil’s neighbours to the south turned arguably the worst performance of any team in the first week of the tournament, which ended with a 3-1 defeat at the hands of relative minnows Costa Rica and Maxi Pereira red-carded after a nasty boot to the ankle of Joel Campbell in the finals minutes. England’s journey to the Amazon rainforest ended in a 2-1 loss to Italy but they played some inspired attacking football and could have easily taken something away if Raheem Sterling, Danny Welbeck and Jordan Henderson had converted their chances.

Pereira may be missing, but reports indicate Luis Suarez will return for this fixture. That’s a game-changer. However, we doubt that the Liverpool striker is anywhere near 100 per cent fitness. If he wasn’t even able to make a cameo off the bench against Costa Rica five days before this game, how could he possibly have recovered sufficiently to start in this game? At a minimum, Suarez’s return means Edinson Cavani should be able to drop into a deeper position but still doesn’t solve the problem of Uruguay bridging the space between its less-than-stellar midfield and it’s world-class strikeforce. The defence will also undergo some changes with Alvaro Pereira likely to earn a call-up at left-back.

We’re also expecting changes in the England attacking line-up. Roy Hodgson has to find a way to take the shackles off Wayne Rooney, who spent far too much time worrying about Matteo Darmian in their World Cup opener. The Manchester United striker should move to a more central role here, as Uruguay has no midfielders of the quality of Rooney’s nemesis Andrea Pirlo. That puts Welbeck and Sterling on the flanks while Daniel Sturridge should remain up front. At the other end, Gary Cahill and Phil Jagielka will have the task of the minding Suarez and Cavani although the former will hold few surprises as both defenders have faced him on several occasions in the EPL.

 

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Confirmed bets

Uruguay v England BTS (two units @ $1.70) – this is one of the more exciting England sides we’ve seen in quite a while. They’re quick, skillful (completing 91 per cent of passes against Italy) and have a core of young emerging stars that seem to have energised the squad. Uruguay will be forced to defend deeply, which will hinder their ability to ship the ball forward to their strikers but the return of Suarez (even at less than 100 per cent) is a huge factor in this game. We have strong leans to the +2.5 goals and draw (our numbers have the side separated by about 0.25 goals) but will play the ‘both teams to score’ market.

Japan v Greece -2.5 (one unit @ $1.72) – both sides are in a tricky spot. Greece has to consider its goal difference of -3 after its opening game loss to Colombia, while the Japanese will be desperate for victory with a date against the Colombians in their final game. Despite the free-flowing style they displayed in qualifying, nine of Japan’s 14 World Cup games have played under while nine of Greece’s past 12 games have also ended with fewer than 2.5 goals. Both nations have a woeful record at this level of the game, and our profile suggests that one goal should be enough to ensure victory.

Leans

Colombia v Côte d’Ivoire DRAW

 

Most recent results: 2-0-1, +2.4 units; overall record: 8-0-7, +7.35 units

Australia v Netherlands +2.5 goals (2.5 units @ $1.55) WIN (2-3)

Australia v Netherlands +3.5 goals (1.5 units @ $2.35) WIN (2-3)

Spain v Chile +3 (one unit @ $2.16) LOSE (0-2)

• Selections are listed in three categories – 1) Suggested (likely bet but yet to be finalised); 2) Confirmed (locked in at the price listed); and 3) Leans (tips, but not recommended bets); all times quoted are Australian Eastern Time (AET); prices with thanks to Centrebet (except where markets are not available), correct at time of publication. Results/comments on today’s games/races will follow in the next post.

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