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    Interested Academic
    • Total Posts 37

    Flicking through the prices and:

    :soccer: Group D:<br>Iran stand out at around 17/1.

    Iran boss Branko Ivankovic wants to lead the nation to the second round […] The Croatian coach has set his sights on upsetting one of [the] seeded teams Mexico and Portugal in group D. (BBC Sport) :o

    Portugal’s World Cup record is truly abysmal – something that counters enthusiasm for Pauleta’s Golden Boot chances. On the rare occasion they’ve qualified at this level they’ve been dumped out at the 1st round. They’re definitely an "in-style" team with some flair on the flanks, but IMO they’re distinctly average in most positions, and Greece beat them in a final when the pressure was on. Not good, although we’re talking group stage not winning the thing.

    Mexico are tough, competitive at this level and have hit the second round 3 times in a row before exiting. Could be anything in the Group stages and will give Portugal a battle, but 6/4 to win the group?

    Angola clambered above Nigeria in qualifying – no mean feat. Only a couple of points bigger than Iran but don’t look to have the same quality in their ranks.

    Iran is a strange choice for many but they have some star talent in their ranks. Ali Karimi measures up to Portugal’s Deco for technical quality and is highly valued at his club…Bayern Munich. Mahdavikia had the highest number of assists in the Bundesliga last season for Hamburg, he’s a live threat. The skipper is more well known – Ali Daei, who hit 9 in qualifying. Iran have a potent attacking threat with star players who ply their trade for Germany’s top club teams. Their major weakness is defensive cohesion, and they can look all at sea positionally judging by some of the 1998 performances: but that was 8 years ago and, as Arsenal showed, less than world-class players are no obstacle to high-level organization and shut-outs.

    The "value" lies with the specific target the team has been set, the 8 years of ‘progress’ and the star German-based players and with this group lacking any real threat, 17/1 (win) and 7/2 to qualify looks okay and worth a shot…

    (more ramblings to follow, disagreement welcome…)

    <br>(Edited by Interested Academic at 6:44 pm on May 23, 2006)<br>

    (Edited by Interested Academic at 6:46 pm on May 23, 2006)

    • Total Posts 1453

    An interesting read IA and a case well presented – you might well have sussed out  a value bet.<br>One thing we may disagree on though is the relevance of history when it comes to assessing future results. I’ve argued this in the racing forum before – that some historical data can be meaningless: in soccer that is even more the case.  What Portugal did in previous competitions is imo irrelevant (or at best of minimal import).<br> Good luck with Iran – at least they’re one team whose games shouldn’t be threatened by terrorists.

    Interested Academic
    • Total Posts 37

    Indeed, Insomniac: If "milk is brilliant", then "terrorists at a world cup game is rubbish", IMHO.

    Just read your justification in the Lounge for the 4 wenches you’d "have" on a desert island, top drawer comments I have to say.

    Yeah I’m not big on past performances for the purposes of the group stages, which is where any value should really be found. Past the 2nd round and the usual suspects agglutinate around the trophy with little variation – France are the new kids on the block in many respects, and I’m a tad surprised Henry hasn’t had more interest on the Golden Boot thread.

    Anyway, if Iran perform I’ll be sitting pretty :crossfingers:, and if they don’t then fair play to Portugal as on paper they have the chance to qualify. Still think they’re quite an average outfit at World level and can’t see a great leap from them into the ranks of the 6 best teams in the world.<br>

    (Edited by Interested Academic at 9:31 pm on June 4, 2006)

    Interested Academic
    • Total Posts 37

    Not many opinions about pre kick-off; a pity as some of the cases made on a certain other forum have been bizarre – Sweden to win the World Cup was one of them, fair enough :no:, but solely on the basis that the "strikers may knock a few in"! Ah well, Iran are into 15.5 on betfair, let’s hope they perform and who cares if they don’t as it’s the world cup and there’ll be plenty of simpler and shorter-priced opportunities later on ;)


    Shorter price? 18/1 treble nailed on england/sweden draw/argentina.

    IRAN – a shame and my reservation was their muppet like defensive performances; things looked tasty at 1-1, then they go and produce that gash! oh well, I tried….

    (Edited by Interested Academic at 10:52 pm on June 8, 2006)<br>

    (Edited by Interested Academic at 10:42 pm on June 11, 2006)

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