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There are going to be a lot of horses’ heads in a lot of beds after Italy failed to score and failed to qualify for the World Cup. I chose my words carefully in research. ‘ I do not expect Italy to lose’. Their lack of a proper centre forward was clear in the research. Today again I see a protracted 0-0 to trade out at halftime. Look at the defensive records of Ireland and Denmark. I will research a few friendlies as there were plenty of angles in the first batch of International friendlies. I will research some friendlies but do remember that some teams use friendlies for experimenting whilst others ( Brazil) take them seriously.

18:45 – Republic of Ireland v Denmark – 2.82 Denmark

  • 0-0 was absolutely no surprise in the first leg and was a positive result for the Irish given the Danes had recently put 4 goals past Poland.
  • Ireland keep things tight this qualifying round.1-0-0-1-1-1-0-0-0 conceded  so if they can score a goal , they have a chance.
  • 3 consecutive clean sheets is encouraging for the Irish and you feel they will seek the clean sheet route today.
  • 1-0-0-1-1-0 goals conceded at home recently by the Irish and only the one loss, 0-1 v Serbia
  • 1-0-1-1-0-1-0-1-0 conceded by the Danes this campaign. So again it is another plus for backing 0-0 pre -match and hoping that a goal, if it comes, comes in the second half.
  • 1-3, 1-4, 0-1 wins away for the Danes recently.
  • I will be backing 0-0 pre match here and hoping for 0-0 at least by halftime. The scorer of the key goal is anybody’s guess!

ATP TOUR FINALS – TENNIS

Marin Cilic v Jack Sock – 1.72 Cilic

  • 5th v 9th
  • Sock has won the 2 head to heads, in 2016 in 5 sets and 3 straight sets in the US Open
  • Semi, Semi, Semi, Quarter for Cilic recently.He lost in 3 sets to Zverev, as per head to heads. Will we see the same again today?
  • Sock reached a couple of quarter finals before a Paris Masters win. He lost rather inevitably to Federer first round here.
  • I can see Sock getting a set at least today , if he loses the first set then that is a ready angle in.

Roger Federer v Alexander Zverev – 1.26 Federer

  • 2nd v 3rd in the world but the gap is much bigger as far as the market is concerned
  • these 2 have met in 2 finals in 2017, a Federer win in Halle and a Zverev straight sets win in the Canadian Masters on Hard.
  • Federer has twice been around 1.26 odds in the last 3 head to heads, and lost. This makes the odds today far too short for me and layable off the bat.
  • Alternately, lay Federer 2-0 set betting if Federer wins the first set.
  • Federer is twice a recent winner over Del Potro, a player who beat Zverev in Shanghai. Is this collateral form enough to lay Zverev ?
  • This is my plan. Lay 2-0 Federer set betting if Federer wins the first set in the hope Zverev battles back. Lay Zverev if Zverev wins the first set as it is the Fed in London.
  • Alternately, lay Federer at the off at 1.27 knowing he has twice lost at these odds in recent head to heads with Zverev

INTERNATIONAL FRIENDLIES

11:00 – South Korea v Serbia – 2.7 South Korea

11:35 – China v Colombia – 1.49 Colombia

 

16:30 – Qatar v Iceland – 1.86 Iceland

17:00 – Slovakia v Norway – 1.91 Slovakia

 

19:00 – Romania v Netherlands – 2.3 Netherlands

19:15 – Hungary v Costa Rica – 2.52 Hungary

19:45 – Austria v Uruguay – 2.64 Uruguay

19:45 – Belgium v Japan – 1.34 Belgium

  • the Japanese friendly against Brazil was over within a matter of minutes. 3 Brazilian goals in the first half brought home their 1-3 win and re-inforces the feeling that , outside of Asia, Japan’s weaknesses are clear.

Belgium

  • unbeaten in 14 matches
  • only Spain and Italy have beaten Belgium since, strangely enough, they lost 2-3 at home to Japan in November 2013
  • 7 unbeaten at home
  • 3 score draws and a 2-1 win in recent friendlies. Only Spain and Portugal have won friendlies since the Japs eyed a win in November 2013
  • Only Spain have won a friendly at home in 11 matches
  • Interestingly, Belgium have conceded in each of their last 7 home friendlies.

Japan

  • unbeaten in 4 against the Belgians! That was before this new generation
  • only 2 wins in 7 were v Australia and New Zealand
  • a robust enough away form with only 1 loss in 11 coming last match v Saudi Arabia
  • prior to that 1-0 loss, the Japs scored in 16 consecutive away matches
  • only 2 losses in 14 friendlies came against the Brazilians
  • scored and conceded in 5 of their last 6 matches
  • scored and conceded in their last 4 friendlies away albeit they came from 2013, 2014 and 2015 so not recent form

Conclusions

  • Given Belgium’s we score-now you score- now we score- now you score v Mexico, they might given Japan a goal today. Japan do have a strong recent both teams to score record so watch out for that, particularly if Japan score first.
  • With that sumptuous Belgian front line, we should expect 2 goals at least from them. Remember that Spain have only won recent in 11 at Belgium in friendlies.  Expectation for both teams to score and Belgium not to lose ( team news required to gauge strength of the Belgian side)

19:45 – Germany v France – 2.22 Germany

19:45 – Wales v Panama – 1.69 Wales

  • I did argue last time that a Wales without Bale is no Wales at all.
  • this is one of those friendlies where little is known of the opponents bar putting their name to hats and cigars

Wales

  • 2 consecutive defeats ended a run of 9 unbeaten in all competitions
  • only scored 2 goals once in their last 9 matches and that was v Moldova. A feeling Wales a a touch lightweight upfront – a touch of the Italy’s about then.
  • only 2 defeats in 18 matches at home in all competitions came v Netherlands and in that fateful world cup qualifier 0-1 defeat to Ireland.
  • 1-1-1-0 scored last 4 at home.
  • 5 losses and a draw in friendlies. A feeling that Wales experiment? Contrast the Welsh friendly form with that of Brazil below!
  • Wales failed to score in 4 of those friendlies.
  • only 1 loss in 6 friendlies but only 2 wins in 9 friendlies at home. Again a feeling either Wales are playing tough opponents in friendlies or they use them to experiment.
  • 3-2-1 goals scored last 3 at home for Wales in friendlies

Panama

  • heading to the World Cup!
  • no draw in last 9 matches
  • only 2 wins in 15 aways in all competitions came v Honduras and Grenada
  • only 2 wins in 14 friendlies v El Salvador and Grenada
  • only 3 wins in 13 away friendlies v the likes of Trinidad, El Salvador and Grenada

Conclusions

  • friendlies – always a concern that the manager is experimenting deliberately in these matches. That is the case with Wales it seems. Poor friendly form. But they have scored 3-2-1 recently in home friendlies.
  • Panama are heading to Russia but are poor away from home and in friendlies. Wins v the likes of Trinidada and Grenada really is not the form to trouble what was a robust Welsh side in the Qualifiers.
  • I would certainly lay Panama if they lead in this match but I remind you this is a friendly for a Welsh side not fussed, it seems, about the result.

20:00 – England v Brazil – 1.79 Brazil

  • England have certainly chosen the best teams to play friendlies with, and that is how it should be. Test against the best.
  • It was a spirited performance by England against a near full-strength German side.
  • Brazil in their last friendly battered Japan and were 0-3 up in quick time. 1-3 that ended for a successful correct score call.
  • These 2 last met in 2013

England

  • a continued focus on squad players before Russia 2018 so take note.
  • 4 wins and a 0-0 last 5 matches. 4 clean sheets in 5 matches
  • unbeaten in 7 at home.. Only 2 draws v Spain and Germany
  • no win in 4 friendlies sees draw, loss, loss, draw
  • 3 wins and 2 draws in the last 5 at home. Draws v Spain 2-2 and Germany 0-0

Brazil

  • the football version of the Harlem Globetrotters.
  • only 1 loss in 16 was a 1-0 v Argentina
  • 3 goals scored in each of their last 2 matches.
  • only 1 loss away from home in all competitions since October 2013
  • love friendlies. 25 wins in the last 26 friendlies.
  • 11 consecutive away wins in friendlies never failing to score less than 2 goals

Conclusions

  • we see a Brazil here who look as if they take friendlies seriously ( or they are simply too good for opponents!)
  • Will Brazil score 2 goals? We have seen when opponents have scored 2 goals ( France and Spain) England have tended to score 2 goals.
  • I would have to side with Brazil not to lose today. This much-changed England side may not be trustworthy enough to score. Strictly on a reading of the form, 2-2 looks a tradable correct score.

20:45 – Portugal v USA – 1.4 Portugal