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5/24/2010 12:00:00 AM
Netherlands heads the list of soccer betting favorites to win its group play. The real race in Group E will be between Cameroon and Denmark with Japan facing three-&-out at the World Cup.
Group E offers an interesting blend of African flair and European underachievement.
The Dutch come into this World Cup as clear favourites to win their group but they face opponents who all offer very different problems for Clockwork Orange.
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Cameroon has been placed just behind Denmark in the soccer betting odds to qualify, but does have a lot of positives to bring into this competition.
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For a start they are African, and should be able to draw on neutral support from African football fans. They have stabilised under Paul le Guen and qualified top of their group.
Despite their poor run at World Cup Finals, and missing out in 2006, Cameroon has a squad which should be able to test the Netherlands and Denmark. From the back they have experience in Espanyol goalkeeper Kameni and centre back Rigobert Song, but most onlookers will notice Samuel Eto’o leading the line as their best chance to reach the second stage.
They are notoriously tough to beat and have a quality packed midfield.
Denmark is slightly lower priced than Cameroon to win the group at 4/1. The Danes have a team full of top club players, including Niklas Bendtner of Arsenal and Per Kroldrup and Daniel Agger of Fiorentina and Liverpool respectively.
They have question marks over their strikers but will be helped by a fluid midfield that can quickly offer threats down the flanks. Denmark qualified top of its group to get here and despite missing out in 2006, they reached the second stage in 1998 and 2002.
Despite qualifying for the last four World Cups, Japan has been made 11/1 outsiders to win Group E. Recent qualifying success can be put down to the improvement of the J-League which is home to the majority of Japan’s squad for South Africa.
Japan lacks the cutting edge and will have to rely on solid defence if they are to progress to the second stage.
Japan’s style of play can be seen by 2006, when they went out with one point. Just two goals scored and conceded highlights the issues they will have to contend with this summer.
During qualifying, Japan’s top scoring striker was Keiji Tamada. With a lack of firepower, they look like struggling to register even a point.
Finally, onto the favourites and the Netherlands look a fair soccer betting price to win the group at 8/13. They have undeniable quality all over the pitch possessing world class midfielders which was highlighted by their domination in qualifying, which saw the Dutch win all eight matches while conceding just two goals and scoring 17.
If any weakness is to be found, it is clearly at the back. They lack the depth once Johnny Heitinga and Joris Mathijsen are looked past and still will be relying on 35-year-old Gio van Bronckhorst to start at left back.
They will be protected by Mark Van Bommel allowing the quality of Sneijder, Affelay and Robben to be unleashed on their opponents.
As individual players, they have the chance to go far beyond the group stages this summer. However, they are notoriously unable to gel into a unit. They should still roll past their opponents in the group stage and qualify comfortably.
Denmark and Cameroon will battle for second place all the way but Denmark should just pip it through their ability to defend consistently.
Denmark is even to qualify behind 4/6 priced Netherlands to win the group.
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