Friday, April 26, 2013

Brazil World Cup Title Success in Serious Doubt

Brazil look increasingly unlikely to win the World Cup on home soil next summer after another disappointing performance on Wednesday resulted in the squad being booed by their own supporters.

A Brazil squad comprised of domestic-based players met Chile in a friendly on Wednesday night to celebrate the re-opening of the Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte, but their performance on the pitch was far from satisfactory.

An estimated 53,000 spectators filled the stands yet were left unsatisfied almost immediately when Chile’s Marc Gonzalez knocked in a rebound from close range to give the away side the lead on eight minutes.

Despite Brazil taking the lead in the second half through young superstar, Neymar, the overall team performance was less than satisfactory and Eduardo Vargas’ wonderful effort from distance earned Chile a draw and gave Brazil boss, Luis Felipe, Scolari another headache.

The boos that rang out across the stadium at full time are unlikely to disappear unless Brazil start winning games and sadly they have found this hard to come by, much like England, who need more home wins.

Because they will host the 2014 World Cup, they do not need to qualify for the tournament, meaning for the past two years they haven’t played a competitive match.

Friendlies, sadly, still account for your FIFA ranking and, with two defeats and four draws from their past seven games, Brazil find themselves at a record low 19th place.

Of course, the ranking system is skewed by the fact Brazil are playing friendlies and therefore the desire to win is not so great – while all opposing teams want to beat the Samba Boys – yet there is nevertheless a growing discontent in the country regarding the team’s performances.

Scolari is pressured with managing the expectations of a nation ahead of the World Cup and nothing but victory will satisfy the Brazil fans. It is a tough ask and not one many Betfair football pundits think he can achieve, for the team are struggling simply to eke out meaningless wins a year before the finals.

Monday, March 25, 2013

England Running Scared

Montenegro coach Branko Brnovic thinks that England are running scared ahead of their vital World Cup Qualifier in Podgorica on Tuesday, and he has accused the English players and media of making their excuses before the game even kicks off.

Montenegro’s biggest threat certainly comes from their two strikers, Stevan Jovetic and Mirko Vucinic who both ply their trade in Italy, with Fiorentina and Juventus respectively.

As well as making their mark on the Italian domestic game the two both have good goalscoring records in European football  and have bagged 24 goals in 53 international games between them and Brnovic hopes that the pair can make light of Roy Hodgson’s defensive selection headache on Tuesday.

"We have Stevan Jovetic and Mirko Vucinic. Maybe England are more scared of this game than we are," Brnovic said to Premier League betting news pundits.
The last time that England played away in Montenegro, in October 2011, they came away with a 2-2 draw but, at that stage, their qualification for Euro 2012 was as good as secure.

On Tuesday, however, England must win to kick start their World Cup 2014 qualification campaign and Brnovic knows that the pressure will firmly be on the Group H favourites.

This, he suggests, could explain why the English media are already making excuses for England’s performance; "I can say such English legends and journalists are already trying to resort to excuses for what will happen on Tuesday. Everything seems to bother them," he said to the football betting news.

England will certainly not get an easy ride in Montenegro but they should be confident that they have the necessary quality to dispatch Brnovic’s side.

If, as the Montenegro coach, hopes England are provoked by his words and allow themselves into a dog-fight then they could come away from Podgorica with little to show and little chance left of topping Group H.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Premier League Quality Lacking in Afcon

On the eve of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, former Leeds United and South Africa captain, Lucas Radebe, told a national newspaper about his fears for the tournament after another low turnout from Premier League players.

The tournament, which kicked off in South Africa on Saturday, is Africa’s major international football event and is widely anticipated to be an exciting contest this winter. Yet poor scheduling, according to Radebe, is keeping top-flight players away from the competition as they choose to represent their club sides instead.

“The only way to change it is to bring the competition in line with the European leagues but that is something the organisers don’t want to do,” Radebe told The Independent.

“But now [players] are suffering because clubs know they will lose them for more than a month in the middle of the season and can be reluctant to let them leave.”

Indeed, Radebe is absolutely correct in his assertion that Afcon players have missed out despite the standard of football in Africa growing to unprecedented levels. For while African players now litter Europe’s major leagues the development of international football on the continent is still way below its potential.

Players cannot or do not want to play in a tournament that cuts into their season. In 2011, there were 37 internationals from Africa in the Premier League, yet a year later just 13 attended the Africa Cup of Nations; that is over half of the 28 that played in 2006, despite six further years of development.

This year will see 15 Premier League players in the competition plus a good number of others from around Europe. Yet there is real concern from Premier League betting fans that if players – such as Steven Pienaar of South Africa and Morocco’s Marouane Chamakh – continue to stay away, then the tournament will fall into neglect within the next decade.

Afcon organisers have already switched the biannual event to odd years in order to avoid clashing with World Cups– a decision that should progress to playing in the summer months if they are to make this tournament available to all players.

Interested in the Afcon? Pay a visit to the African Cup of Nations website on Betfair for the latest odds, picks, and news for the tournament:

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Lennon boosts midfield ahead of Champions League ties

Celtic boss Neil Lennon already appears to be preparing for the future after the club agreed a deal with Central Coast Mariners for young midfielder Tom Rogic.

Rogic, 20, has attracted much interest from British clubs this January transfer window after making his international debut in 2012. The Australian has developed into a key player for A-League team Central Coast, who topped the 2011/12 table before falling in the playoffs.

According to reports in Australia and the UK, the Mariners have confirmed a deal has been reached between the two clubs – thought to be in the region of £400,000.

“Central Coast Mariners FC wish to officially advise that terms have been agreed for the transfer of Tomas Rogic to Celtic FC,” a club statement read.

“Rogic will now travel to Glasgow from Spain with the Bhoys, and will discuss personal terms with the Scottish giants over the coming days.”

Togic will join up with the squad this week and could be in line for a place in the first XI come the
weekend – where the Hoops face Hearts at home in the league. For many fans in the betting world, it is a progressive move that proves Lennon is already thinking about the future of this team, which many have claimed has peaked now it’s reached the Champions League last 16.

Some of Celtic’s big-name players, such as Victor Wanyama and Gary Hooper, are expected to leave in the summer and Lennon here has shown his dedication to replacing that talent once it leaves Scottish shores.

He beat off interest from QPR and Reading for the 20-year-old Togic and, although not the finished article yet, this midfielder playmaker should be a Celtic Park favourite by next season.

Don’t forget to check out the Betfair FA cup  site for all the latest betting news ahead of the fourth round next weekend. There will also be plenty of interviews, odds, tips and expert opinion – check it all out here: