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Germany vs Argentina – 2nd Favourite makes the final!

So, the tournament is finally approaching its conclusion, and the 2014 World Cup final is upon us. According to the bookmakers odds, there is very little between Germany and Argentina but these two sides made it into this prestigious final in very different ways. Germany have been put in as a general 11/8 chance following their humiliation of hosts Brazil in their semi final. That 7-1 victory will continue to be talked about for sometime and I’m still unsure as to whether the Germans were that good, or Brazil were just completely awful. It was possibly a bit of both. In the other semi, Argentina had the fight of their lives against the Dutch and it took a penalty shoot out to decide who was going to be facing Germany on Sunday evening. The Netherlands played quite a negative game and really tried to limit Argentina’s chances. This approach worked up to a point but also meant that their own scoring opportunities were also kept to a minimum. Hopefully the final in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday will be a more exciting spectacle.

Although Germany did not start the 2014 World Cup as favourites, they have arguably looked like the most assured side throughout the competition. Their campaign kicked off with an impressive 4-0 victory over a Portugal side that featured the best players in the world in Cristiano Ronaldo but even he was unable to penetrate the impressive German back line. Joachim Low’s men topped Group G and while the extra time victory over Algeria had people questioning their credentials, subsequent wins over France and Brazil have put any doubts to bed. The quarter final with France was not one of the most exciting games of football you’ll ever see, but the Germans did exactly what they needed to do. The excitement definitely came in the semi final however, with Germany putting seven goals past the host nation, and Miroslav Klose breaking the all time scoring record in the process.

I still don’t feel as though Argentina have looked impressive at any stage of this World Cup, but here they are in the final. They once again struggled to break down their opponents during the semi final with the Netherlands and needed penalties to see off a determined Dutch side. I do think teams have generally approached games against Argentina with a negative attitude which has made it difficult for Alejandro Sabella’s side, but it would have been nice to see them put on a real show at least once. Having said that, Argentina have done all that’s been required of them and are just one win away from capturing the World Cup trophy for the first time since 1990. They are going to be at a slight disadvantage as the Germans will be better rested but I’m not sure that will make a huge amount of difference come Sunday evening. This could be yet another match at this World Cup which goes all the way.

September 15, 2015: • No Comments

Netherlands v Argentina – Down to the Semis

It’s the Netherlands v Argentina in what should be a cracking World Cup semi final at the Arena de Sao Paulo this Wednesday night. These two sides look very closely matched on what they have achieved in the tournament thus far, and the bookies are struggling to split them, with Argentina just slight favourites to progress to the 2014 World Cup Final. Although Argentina could only manage the one goal against Belgium in the quarters, the score line did not tell the full story. Argentina were very comfortable during the ninety minutes and should come into this encounter with the Netherlands relatively fresh. The Dutch on the other hand came through a real battle with Costa Rica on Saturday evening and they required some real gamesmanship from goalkeeper Tim Krull to secure victory. Both sides have found a way to win when required so far and while it hasn’t always been pretty, it is getting through that counts. I’m not expecting a goal-fest in Sao Paulo but we are in for a very competitive battle between two very capable international teams.

The Netherlands began the 2014 World Cup in the best possible manner, defeating the reigning champions Spain by five goals to one. Manager Luis van Gaal has showed exactly what a superb coach he is with some excellent decision making throughout his side’s campaign thus far and on this evidence, it looks like Manchester United have made a great move in securing his services for the forthcoming Premier League season. Robin van Persie has put an indifferent domestic campaign at United behind him in Brazil and has played a crucial role in Netherlands’ progression through the tournament. While his contribution has waned slightly during their last couple of matches, Van Persie’s clinical finishing in front of goal could potentially be the difference maker when it comes to the Dutch winning this prestigious trophy.

There was a huge amount of pressure of Argentina captain Lionel Messi coming into the 2014 World Cup. His national side are yet to achieve any significant success during the Messi era and Barcelona’s star man has arguably underachieved during the major international tournaments in which he has competed so far in his career. During this tournament, Messi has really stepped up to the plate and has almost single handily carried Argentina to victory in some of their games. Not only has his return of four goals seen Messi amongst the leading scorers in the competition, his all round contribution has also been of the highest order. Opposition managers have clearly been targeting Messi with special game plans, but the skilful Ballon d’Or winner has still managed to find a way of creating opportunities for both himself and team mates. One paper, this looks like the toughest match of the World Cup to call so far. While I personally think the Netherlands may just edge the game, it really could go either way and it would be no surprise to see things head into extra time on Wednesday night.

September 15, 2015: • No Comments

Free £5 World Cup Bet from Skybet

The weekending beginning Saturday 5th July doesn’t get much better for sports enthusiasts, we have Wimbledon fast approaching its climax point, the Tour de France is due to start in Gods County (Yorkshire, the best of course), the F1 is due to begin at Silverstone, and obviously in case you have been under a rock for a few weeks, we have the world cup quarter finals too.

So, in celebration of all things great and sport, Skybet are giving you the chance to claim a free £5 bet on the World Cup, when you place bet of £10 or more at evens or above (2/1 or more), on either Tennis, F1 or Cycling between now and midnight on Sunday 6th July.

In order to ensure you qualify, if you are already a Skybet customer, just go to the “My Account” section and enter the promo code SPORT, place your bet, they’ll credit you with the free £5 instantly, for you to bet on the World cup action!

If you’re not already a Skybet customer, don’t worry, this is just one of many reasons why you should be! So don’t hang about, as this isn’t the only special they do, to sign up today and take advantage of this great promotion, simply click here

September 15, 2015: • No Comments

Argentina vs Belgium – The penultimate Quarter final!

The penultimate quarter final of the 2014 World Cup sees Argentina and Belgium go head to head this Saturday afternoon at the Estadio Nacional Mane Garrincha, in a match which has the potential to be a real classic. Neither of these two teams have shown what they are truly capable of in the competition thus far but there were positive signs in their Round of 16 games to suggest that a big performance isn’t far away for either side. Argentina were touted as being the biggest threat to Brazil as far as winning the 2014 World Cup was concerned, but they haven’t exactly looked like the most fearsome side in the tournament during their four matches to this stage. That being said, Argentina have won all of their games to date and have the potential to produce something out of nothing at any time thanks to captain Lionel Messi. Similar criticism could be levelled at Belgium as they two have struggled to hit top form prior to now but they did show a lot of fighting spirit to come through their last sixteen match with the USA. Argentina are slightly favoured by the bookmakers to progress to the next stage, but this game is sure to be a close encounter.

Without Lionel Messi, Argentina may not have made it to this stage of the 2014 World Cup. Arguably the best footballer of his generation, Messi has found the back of the net four times so far in Brazil, and also assisted the winning goal in Argentina’s Round of 16 game against Switzerland. The Swiss made things very difficult for their South American opponents, putting plenty of men behind the ball and making it very difficult for Alejandro Sabella to create any space, thus limiting their chances. Argentina did eventually manage to break Switzerland down, but it took a late extra time goal for them to make it into the quarter final stage of the competition. I find it hard to assess exactly what Argentina have achieved in this tournament to this point. They have, for brief spells in games, looked extremely impressive. The winning habit is important, and Argentina certainly have that. However, they rely too heavily on Lionel Messi and if the captain has an off game, I wonder if they may just come unstuck.

Belgium were quietly fancied in some quarters as potential winners of the 2014 World Cup. Their opening match against Algeria made people question their credentials but as things turned out, that scrappy 2-1 victory was not as bad of a result as it first appeared. This side has definitely improved as the tournament has gone on and they looked very good in the last round when defeating a hard working United States side. For me, Belgium are hitting top gear are the right time and Tottenham’s Jan Vertonghen has been in particularly good form in their last couple of games. I think the Belgians can take Argentina all the way, and possibly sneak through to the semi finals in extra time.

September 15, 2015: • No Comments

Wimbledon Semi final – Will Djokovic Win?

In 2013 the unthinkable happened. For the first time since 1936, a British player won Wimbledon. Andy Murray managed what Tim Henman and Greg Rusedski couldn’t by winning the title, defeating then world number one Novak Djokovic in straight sets. With Murray now eliminated can the number two seed Novak Djokovic once again win at Wimbledon? This article looks at Djokovic’s chances and looks at the semi-finals matches.

Wimbledon 2014 has seen its share of upsets so far, none more shocking than the early exit of Rafael Nadal at the hands of Australian teenager Nick Kyrgios. Nadal had dropped the 1st set in each of his previous three matches and was able to bounce back, however the young Aussie was able to capitalise and win in 4 sets.

The early exit of Andy Murray and Nadal has shortened the field, but the question remains, will Djokovic be another big name to fall, or if this will just make things easier for him to take back the crown?

Djokovic’s lead up to the semi-finals has been rocky at times. He opened the tournament in dominating form with a 6-0 first set against Golubev before going on to win in straight sets. Stepanek provided more resistance in his second match, forcing Djokovic to eventually win in a tie-breaker in the 4th set. His next match against Gilles Simon provided a scary moment for Djokovic, where he appeared to injure his shoulder. He went on to win in straight sets in that match, and brushed off concerns in his following match, a straight sets win over 14th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

In the Quarter Finals, Djokovic faced 6’6” Croatian Marin Cilic. During this match Djokovic fell behind early and looked set to follow in the footsteps of Nadal and make an early exit with Cilic holding a 2 sets to 1 lead. Djokovic fought back with supreme play to take the 4th and 5th sets 6-2, 6-2.

This leads us to the Semi Finals where things currently stand with the latest tournament winner odds from WBX:

Novak Djokovic – 1.88 odds
Roger Federer – 3.70 odds
Grigor Dimitrov – 8.20 odds
Milos Raonic – 10.0 odds

Djokovic’s next match is against world number 13 Grigor Dimitrov, the man who accomplished what Novak could not do last year at Wimbledon in his defeat of Andy Murray. Dimitrov is the highest seeded player that Djokovic has faced so far this tournament, and the two players have met just 4 times, with Djokovic holding a 3-1 record in their matchups. Dimitrov is a rising talent who has won 4 of his 5 Wimbledon matches this year in straight sets (including his win over Murray), and after having started the year ranked number 23, he will be in the top ten regardless of what happens from here. Djokovic is currently a strong favourite to win their matchup at odds of 1.26, while Dimitrov can be backed at 4.20.

In the other semi-final match, Roger Federer is up against world number 9, Milos Raonic. The two have met 4 times with Federer holding an unblemished record going 4-0 in those contests. However a closer look shows that in all 4 of those matches Raonic has taken the first set over Federer.

This presents tactic to consider backing Raonic pre-match at his current odds of 3.50 at the betting exchange WBX, then if the trend continues and Raonic once again wins the first set, the live odds will drop allowing keen punters to lay him on the exchange at lower odds and lock in a profit (this process is known as ‘Greening Up on Exchanges’ which you can read about in my previous article).

So what are the advisable betting options? Well using up and coming betting exchange WBXcan help you profit from Wimbledon. A betting exchange is a peer to peer betting platform that enables individuals to bet against each other. It facilitates the backing and laying of selections; that is betting on players/teams to win and not to win. What is more, with WBX, bettors are able to bet throughout the course of individual matches and throughout Wimbledon on outright markets, meaning if an individual strikes a bet and changes their mind, they are easily able to adjust their profit/loss position. With up to £25 in free bets for new members, excellent customer service and increasing liquidity, WBX are an excellent choice.

September 15, 2015: • No Comments