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World Cup Group F Betting – Paraguay Shocks Italy To Take Top Spot In Group F

Posted by Todd Shale on 5/20/2010 2:11:34 PM
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Online betting odds are tipping the defending World Cup champions from Italy to begin their title defense by winning Group F, but a free-wheeling team from Paraguay will have something to say about it.

Key Match

The first match of the group is Italy against Paraguay at 2:30 PM ET on June 14th, and this match should go a long way in deciding who will win the group. A draw will be favorable for Paraguay.

Italy - World Cup Group F Betting
  • History: 17th appearance; Champions in 2006
  • Best finish: Champions (1934, 1938, 1982, 2006)
  • World Cup Group F Betting Odds: -225

Why they can win: They definitely got a favorable draw in Group A, but many of the players who helped Italy win the World Cup four years ago will be back, like goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, Fabio Cannavaro, Andrea Pirlo and Gennaro Gattuso, so the Italians won’t lack for experience. There will be a lot of pressure on Albert Gilardino to score for Italy.

Why they can’t win: The Italians are straddling that thin line between experienced and aging, and this will surely be the last World Cup for a number of their players. Also, outside of Gilardino, there isn’t much in the way of goals from strikers, so midfielders are going to have to step up.

Paraguay - World Cup Group F Betting
  • History: 8th appearance; First round in 2006
  • Best finish: Second round (1986, 1998, 2002)
  • World Cup Group F Betting Odds: +325

Why they can win: Paraguay is coming off an excellent qualifying campaign, and they’re not afraid to play an open style against their opponents, which makes for an entertaining match. Even without striker Salvador Cabanas, who led the team in goals during qualifying, there are still plenty of goals in the squad, particularly from Nelson Valdez, Roque Santa Cruz and and Oscar Cardoza.

Why they can’t win: Paraguay’s World Cup betting odds took a knock as Cabanas will miss the tournament because he was shot in the head in Mexico back in January. Obviously the thoughts are with Cabanas’ physical being, but the strikers are going to have to pick up the slack left by his absence. Also, Paraguay allowed 16 goals during qualifying, and sometimes their exciting style can bite them.

Slovakia - World Cup Group F Betting
  • History: 1st appearance; didn’t qualify in 2006
  • Best finish: N/A
  • World Cup Group F Betting Odds: +800

Why they can win: Slovakia has come into their own since the former country of Czechoslovakia split up, and Stanislav Sestak is quietly one of the best goal-scoring midfielders in Europe, although he can play up front as well. Jan Mucha looks to have emerged as the No.1 keeper for the Slovaks.

Why they can’t win: Outside of Sestak, the Slovaks don’t have many goalscorers. They’re also dealing with injuries to a number of important players, such as defender Martin Skrtel, and the strike pair of Filip Holosko and Robert Vittel, who were all selected despite a lack of game action.

New Zealand - World Cup Group F Betting
  • History: 2nd appearance; didn’t qualify in 2006
  • Best finish: First round (1982)
  • World Cup Group F Betting Odds: +4500

Why they can win: The Kiwis aren’t very fancy, and their best player is Ryan Nelsen, a defender who plays for Blackburn in England. He will head a defense that will be physical, and try to make up for their lack of skill and technique with force, meaning it will be a bruising encounter for their opponents.

Why they can’t win: New Zealand will have some players in their squad who aren’t even playing with a semi-pro team, so you can see that they’ll be a heavy underdog in your sportsbook in any match. They’re just overmatched all over the pitch, and they’ll be aiming to get a couple of goals, at least, in their first-round exit.

World Cup Group F Betting Prediction & Outlook

We’re going out on a limb and picking Paraguay to upset the Italians for the top spot in Group F, as we’re skeptical about Italy’s age and their ability to score goals. They have more than enough talent to beat New Zealand, but they could be caught in a draw by Slovakia. Take a sports betting risk with Paraguay.

Bet World Cup: Paraguay +325



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