All Grown up: Spain vs. Iran in World Cup Betting

Spain vs. Iran in World Cup Betting Analysis

Russia 2018 will be the second straight year that some iteration of the Spanish and Iranian national teams will meet in some sort of World Cup betting environment. The two squads collided in the quarterfinals of the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup on October 22nd in India. Spain took the day 3-1, and added insult to injury when, as ESPN.com reported it, “with all of Spain’s outfield players camped near the Iran box, goalkeeper Alvaro Fernandez took the opportunity to stroll up the pitch and set base at the halfway line, stretching his arms and legs while he savoured the game from the best seat in the house.”

  • 20 June 2018 21:00 MSK (UTC+3)

  • Iran vs. Spain

  • Kazan Arena, Kazan

That may have been a bad idea. As people betting on the World Cup may or may not know, in 1989 Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the Supreme Leader of Iran, proclaimed a fatwā on British-Indian novelist and essayist Salman Rushdie, which is still in effect. All of which is to say that the Iranians never forgive nor forget. That’s something that Iran head coach Carlos Queiroz might want to keep in mind. The Portuguese manager has been very vocal about the Princes of Persia’s preparations – or lack thereof – for the World Cup betting event known as Russia 2018.

“I’m here to say Iran needs special local preparations,” Queiroz said in a video posted on his Facebook page. “I don’t care about the threats and what they have been trying to do to stop me talking. The Iranian fans deserve special World Cup preparations. We need to implement special preparations to bring honour and pride. They can fire me, I don’t care, but it’s time to express my opinion because the Iranian fans deserve that and the players deserve full support to be ready for this competition.”

Little known fact; in Iran, when they lay you off, they literally fire you out of a cannon. Then again, Salman Rushdie is still alive and kicking and going toe to toe with Larry David in Curb Your Enthusiasm, so perhaps those are indeed idle threats. Additionally, Queiroz has achieved hero status among the people after qualifying the national team to back-to-back World Cups for the first time in the history of the country.

All things considered, Queiroz expects Iran to improve upon their 2014 showing. “As we all know in soccer nothing is impossible. There are times when the mouse escapes from the cat. Iranian national team will defend their honor and aim to make the whole Iranian people feel proud,” he said. “To play against Spain, Portugal and Morocco will be a great opportunity for our players to show why they are here and especially to show that they deserve to be here. I’m sure we are going to do well. We are going to be competitive as always and no matter what happens in each game, I’m sure our fans will be proud and happy with their team.” did we say “expects”? Let’s amend that to “hopes.” And Iran’s World Cup betting odds do hang on a wing and a prayer.

Saudi Arabia World Cup Betting: Uruguay or the Highway

Uruguay vs. Saudi Arabia Betting the World Cup 2018

Uruguay and Saudi Arabia will face each other in a World Cup betting setting next year. The two national teams have met only in international friendly matches. The South Americans bested the Arabians 3-2 on March 27th, 2002. And on October 10th, 2014 they finished drawn 1-1.  It’s safe to say that the Green Falcons aren’t all that familiar with La Celeste. Perhaps to remedy that lack of acquaintanceship, Saudi Arabia is scheduled to played the next best thing: Argentina.  Argentina should be able to provide a good rehearsal, since they have several traits in common with Uruguay.

  • 20 June 2018 18:00 MSK (UTC+3)

  • Uruguay vs. Saudi Arabia

  • Rostov Arena, Rostov-on-Don

Saudi Arabia will begin to prepare for the World Cup with an appearance in the Gulf Cup which starts on December 22nd in Kuwait. They weren’t originally going to participate when it was going to be held in Qatar. However, Kuwait’s ban was lifted and the competition moved to Kuwait. As a result, the Green Falcons will be there with bells on. Saudi Arabia’s road to the World Cup betting will continue with the aforementioned friendly match versus Argentina, set to be played during the international break in March. The venue has yet to be revealed. Coincidentally, the Green Falcons’ new head coach Juan Antonio Pizzi was born in Argentina, though he spent most of his playing career in Spain, and even represented the Spanish national team for four years.

And speaking of coaches, Uruguayan manager Óscar Washington Tabárez should and more than likely will watch that game between Argentina and Arabia Saudi, especially considering it will afford him a rare opportunity to study his World Cup opponents. They say people fear what they don’t know or understand. The Green Falcons however have not inspired awe as much as they have derision from all and sundry. Thus, teams like Uruguay might just bet the World Cup matchup with Saudi Arabia will be a piece of cake. The fact remains though that the Green Falcons have the element of surprise on their side.

La Celeste also packs a surprise punch in the form of the squad’s youth movement. The team’s core players, such as Luis Suarez, Edinson Cavani, Cristian Rodriguez, Diego Godin, Martin Caceres and Egidio Arevalo Rios, are all getting a little too long in the tooth (or, in the case of Suarez, always were). Tabarez has brought in the likes of Nahitan Nandez (21), Rodrigo Bentancur (20) and Federico Valverde, who are 21, 20, and 19 years old, respectively, to counteract the side’s aging process. Valverde (Deportivo La Coruna) and Bentancur (Juventus) in particular have been a breath of fresh air, bringing to the table (or pitch, as the case may be) a knack for holding possession, protecting the defence, and linking up with the offense, which has turned Uruguay into an attractive as well as effective squad. Los Charruas may not be a World Cup betting lock to win the tournament, but they should have their best showing in a long, long while.

Russia vs. Egypt: Nuclear Deals and World Cup Betting

Betting the World Cup Russia vs. Egypt Lines Analysis

Russia and Egypt are all buddy-buddy ahead of their World Cup betting matchup in the 2018 FIFA global tournament. Russian president Vladimir Putin met his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Cairo, Egypt. Which is only fitting when one considers that Egypt, or rather, its national football team will, repay the visit in roughly six month from now. The difference being that when the two nations meet on the pitch, they won’t be discussing a $21 billion deal to start work on Egypt’s Dabaa nuclear power plant. They might be, though, negotiating something more meaningful to people betting on the World Cup: qualification to the second round.

  • 19 June 2018 21:00 MSK (UTC+3)

  • Russia vs. Egypt

  • Krestovsky Stadium, Saint Petersburg

Not to dust off an old stereotype from the 80s, but “FIFA announced Saturday it would test past samples provided by the Russian soccer team for tampering ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup,” reported the Moscow Times. The announcement comes on the heels of Russia’s ban from next year’s Winter Games in South Korea for doping violations. Four-and-thirty players, including the entire roster who participated in the 2014 World Cup, have been listed as possibly benefitting from state-sponsored doping. Just like Ivan Drago. Testing was delayed because “no standard methodology to determine whether bottles containing urine for doping analysis bear marks indicating surreptitious opening” existed until recently.

“We’re not afraid of anything, these are total fabrications,” president of the Russian Football Union Vitaly Mutko said. Well, if these are the same kind of “fabrications” that resulted in Mutko’s lifetime ban from the Olympics by the International Olympic Committee, then maybe he should be just a little bit afraid. On the other hand, Mutko is living proof that Russia truly is the land of second chances. Also, their World Cup betting odds weren’t great four years ago. “Let me put it this way: if that’s really how we would perform after doping, just imagine how we would perform without it.” He does have a point there. The Russian squad was eliminated from the group stage in Brazil. They were winless in three games.

Meanwhile, Egyptian Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah has been named the BBC African Footballer of the Year. “I would like to thank my Liverpool team-mates and I also had a good season with Roma so I have to thank my team-mates there and my team-mates in the national team,” Salah said after receiving his trophy from manager Jurgen Klopp on Monday. “I want to be the best Egyptian ever so I work hard. I always follow my own way and I want everyone in Egypt to follow my way.” Which is a fitting call to arms. Egyptian soccer fans, who may or may not be fond of World Cup betting, are divided between optimists and pessimists. Russia has home field advantage, “but logically and professionally Egypt is stronger,” xinhuanet.com quoted a fan. “Uruguay and Russia have much more chances…Uruguay are very strong; the Russians host the World Cup and will play home,” said another. Sounds like a case of the glassful being half empty.

Deutsch-Mexikaner World Cup Betting: Germany vs. Mexico

World Cup Betting: Germany vs. Mexico Analysis

The German and Mexican national football teams are good friends but, when the time comes for World Cup betting they will be even better enemies. The relationship between Aztecs and Teutons dates back to the time of sempiternal Mexican president Porfirio Diaz and Chancellor of the German Empire Otto von Bismarck. German immigrants in Mexico not introduced Bavarian architecture, but also founded a now-defunct football club, the Germania F.V. finally, center back Oswaldo Alanis is not a shoo-in on the Mexico roster, but he has befriended German defender Mats Hummels on the ground of their alleged resemblance to one another.

  • 17 June 2018 18:00 MSK (UTC+3)

  • Germany vs. Mexico

  • Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow

None of that will mean a damn thing, though, when the two squads take to the pitch in June. El Tri (not to be confused by fans betting on the World Cup with the psychedelic rock band) has never made it beyond the Round of 16 in any World Cup not held in their native soil. They’ll have to compete for second place in Group F with Sweden, but even if they go past the first round, they would likely meet Brazil in the next round. To avoid a fate that is tantamount to elimination, they must finish first in their group, and in turn, to do that, they have to beat Germany. Who of course is all like, “Hello? World Champions and World Cup betting favorites to become the first team to retain the title since Brazil in 1962 here! Remember what happened the last time we played each other? Well, here’s a little reminder.”

Speaking of which, Germany won the Confederations Cup in July with B+ team including Timo Werner, Joshua Kimmich, Emre Can, Leroy Sane, Lars Stindl and Sandro Wagner. Joining them in the World Cup will be mainstays such as Manuel Neuer, Toni Kroos, Mats Hummels, Sami Khedira and Thomas Mueller. “Only we as world champions have something to lose in Russia,” head coach Joaquin Loew said. “We have a very big goal and that is to defend the title.” Loew has managed the team since 2006 and has made good use of that time, ensuring the roster’s depth. For example, starting goalkeeper Neuer will return from injury early next year but even if he weren’t, Loew can choose from Paris St Germain’s Kevin Trapp and Barcelona’s Marc Andre ter Stegen, just two name two alternatives.

But Mexico is unfazed. “Mexico has a history of rising to the challenge against top rivals and I hope this will be no exception,” midfielder Andres Guardado said. “I hope that we can show in the group phase that we are going to have a historic World Cup.” added head coach Juan Carlos Osorio: “This [the opener] is the most important match, obviously. We need to plan, prepare and consider it as though it were the first and last one. Personally, I am very excited and I am of the belief that on any given day in soccer, anyone can win.” that’s what World Cup betting upsets are for.

The Panama Chunnel: England vs. Panama World Cup Betting

Betting the World Cup - England vs. Panam Odds and Analysis

There is no such thing, when it comes to World Cup betting, as starting too soon. For example, writing this article well over six months before the fact. For another example, England head coach Gareth Southgate has already begun reading up on his World Cup rivals, including tournament opener Panama. Of which he said he knew “a lot less about” than top-seeded Belgium. “Sadly yes, that is the sort of thing I do in the evening,” Southgate said. With scones, clotted cream, and jam, one would presume. It wouldn’t be Devonshire tea otherwise.

  • 24 June 2018 15:00 MSK (UTC+3)

  • England versus Panama

  • Nizhny Novgorod Stadium, Nizhny Novgorod

“Everybody (including of course people betting on the World Cup) knows that against those two teams in particular [Panama and Tunisia] we will be favorites to win and we have to live with that,” he added, as opposed to, say, “Brazil and Sweden who are two teams we’ve struggled forever to play against”. Southgate has already been watching footage of the Panamanians. They have qualified for a World Cup for the first time in their history. Expectations are an all time high for England and its batch of young players. Southgate believes they can handle it, though. “As an England player and an England manager, you have got to live with the expectation and be prepared to handle that. If we can’t do that we are in the wrong job and on the wrong stage. If we can get the results we need to progress from the group, which we believe we can, then the journey can take us anywhere.”

Don’t let’s forget about the potential World Cup betting upset. Fellow Brit Gary Stempel has warned England about underestimating Panama. “They will be highly motivated and won’t have any kind of inferiority complex whatsoever,” Stempel said. He managed the Panamaniacs in 2008-09. “They are mentally very strong, they won’t be subdued by the occasion, they will go and enjoy it. They have this street football mentality, where they learn their football, it’s rough and ready. They don’t care. Going back to the tough upbringing, you had to survive in very difficult conditions, conditions that many people in England would not even dream of. And that gives a certain type of strength, they don’t care basically. That is an advantage and I guarantee they will not be star-struck at all.” Additionally, Panama did have a canal 80 years before England did.

It wouldn’t be the first time a Concacaf team gets the best of Albion. England lost to the U.S. 1-0 in 1950. Stemple thinks that would be nothing compared to a loss to Panama, though. “It wouldn’t compare, this would be number one. This is a country that doesn’t have a professional league,  that started playing football in baseball grounds with the mound in the middle of the pitch. They call it a professional league here but you’ve got players earning about £300 a month.” That’s a lot of backhanded compliments for someone who’s supposedly sticking out for them. If anything, that should make England an even bigger World Cup betting favorite.

Friendship, Commerce, Navigation and World Cup Betting

Colombia vs. Japan odds 2018 World Cup bets

World Cup betting is going to afford Japan a chance to exact a measure of revenge on Colombia, who eliminated them from the World Cup in Brazil in 2014. Japan has lost two and drawn one of its previous three meetings against Colombia. “The key to advancing will be our opening game against Colombia,” Japan head coach Vahid Halilhodzic said. “It’s a coincidence because I was just watching footage of one of their games a few days ago. For Japan it will be a chance to get revenge for the last World Cup. ”

  • 19 June 2018 15:00 MSK (UTC+3)

  • Colombia vs. Japan

  • Mordovia Arena, Saransk

President of the Japan Football Association Kozo Tashima agreed. “Whoever you are drawn against there are no easy games … but I think the most crucial game will be against Colombia,” he said. Japan made its World Cup debut in France in 1998 buy has only gone beyond the group phase two times. Japan made the second round under Frenchman Philippe Troussier before losing to Turkey in the 2002 finals the country co-hosted with South Korea. The Nippons also made the last 16 for the first time on foreign soil under Takeshi Okada but lost on penalty kicks to Paraguay at the 2010 finals in South Africa.

Meanwhile, Colombia head coach José Pékerman has struggled to find the right blend for his team. And they don’t mean coffee either, but their World Cup betting odds. Pekerman became the kinda G that little homies wanna be like after guiding Colombia to their best-ever World Cup showing in 2014 when they were one of the sensations of the competition. It appeared as if Colombia had finally established themselves as one of the world’s top 10 teams. However, they have made many a lateral move ever since, with disappointing results. Colombia did well enough in the World Cup qualifiers to nab fourth spot in the South American group, but they scored just 21 goals and crawled across the finish line with three draws and a loss in their last four games.

Their scoring issues are all the more concerning considering the team has the likes of Teo Gutierrez, Duvan Zapata, Carlos Bacca and Luis Muriel on the roster. Thus people betting on the World Cup are at loss to explain underperformances such as the Copa America in 2015, when Colombia lost to Argentina on penalties in the quarter-finals, as well as the Copa Centenario in 2016, when they failed to score a goal in the quarter-final or semi-final. Pekerman has also had to deal with James Rodriguez’s downturn at club level after his move to Real Madrid didn’t go as expected. The top scorer at the 2014 World Cup, Rodriguez was benched for the better part of the last two seasons and has played only seven Bundesliga games since signing with Bayern Munich this season. Conversely, striker Radamel Falcao has returned to form at AS Monaco, while Juan Cuadrado is ever dangerous on the flank. World Cup betting is filled with stories of teams who have struggled through qualifying and performed well at the tournament itself and Colombia could be just such a case.

Point of Entry: Brazil-Switzerland World Cup Betting

World Cup Betting Odds and Analysis Brazil vs. Switzerland

World Cup betting sometimes turns things on their head. For instance, King John VI of Portugal authorized the entry into Brazil of Swiss immigrants in 1818. Come June, however, it will be Brazilians doing the entry on the Swiss. Entry of goals, that is. The Verde-Amarela ranks second in the World behind, and is tied for favorite to win the 2018 World Cup with, Germany, while Switzerland is 8th in the FIFA ranking, which is not too shabby either, all things considered. PSG forward Neymar, like quite a few people betting on the World Cup, is excited about the teams Brazil got as well as those they didn’t get. “I am happy it wasn’t a group where we had to play against African teams like Nigeria. They run a lot and are very physical in their approach. We are no doubt still up against strong sides at the World Cup,” he said.

  • 17 June 2018 21:00 MSK (UTC+3)

  • Brazil vs. Switzerland

  • Rostov Arena, Rostov-on-Don

And speaking of Neymar, head coach Tite said it would not be an ideal situation for the entire team to revolve around the former Barcelona player. “But for Neymar to do what is expected of him, the whole team has to be strong,” the manager said. “It is inhumane to place [it all] on the back of the [sic] Neymar the responsibility for the success or failure of the team. And I’m not going to do that.” Unfortunately he didn’t add, in his best George H.W. Bush voice, “wouldn’t be prudent.” He did add, though, that “Switzerland, is one of the best-placed teams in the FIFA ranking. They have a well-armed team with great players. Liechsteiner, who plays for Juventus of Turin, is on top. Xhaka is Arsenal’s midfielder, and he has a lot of quality as a player. Shaqiri [Stoke City], the same. It is an experienced team.”

Experienced and youthful at the same time. Like we in the World Cup betting biz like to say, in Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love; they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock. that notwithstanding, Swiss soccer is going through a sort of renaissance itself, producing such players as Ricardo Rodriguez, Granit Xhaka, Haris Seferovic (who all were in the Switzerland squad that won the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup), Fabian Schaer, and Xherdan Shaqiri, who, having already participated a World Cup and a European championship, are wise beyond their young age, though they are still prone to making rookie mistakes.

For example, Xhaka has tendency for misplaced passes and red cards, captain Stephan Lichtsteiner is an emotional ticking bomb, and striker Haris Seferovic often misfires. Coach Vladimir Petkovic has stressed the importance of going toe-to-toe with whomever their facing, though in all honesty that included, in the World Cup qualifiers, lightweights like Andorra, Faroe Islands, Latvia and a Hungary. On the other hand, they struggled with Northern Ireland and were taken to school by Portugal, which doesn’t bode well for their World Cup betting odds against a certain other Portuguese speaking country.

 

Known Unknown: Croatia versus Nigeria World Cup Betting

Croatia versus Nigeria World Cup Betting Analysis and Odds

In World Cup betting there are known knowns; these are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. Nigeria falls, as far as Croatian head coach Zlatko Dalić is concerned, in the latter category (and don’t even get us started on unknown unknowns). “The Nigerians are an unknown team and we have to study them well,” Dalić said. Algeria and Dinamo Zagreb forward Hilal Soudani has happily taken on the role of Snow’s biggest hit (i.e., informer) and warned the Croatians to be super careful with the Super Eagles.

  • 16 June 2018 21:00 KALT (UTC+2)

  • Croatia vs. Nigeria Report

  • Kaliningrad Stadium, Kaliningrad

Nigeria qualified undefeated from a group that included Algeria, Cameroon and Zambia. “I did not play in one game, but I watched the game on television and I can say Nigeria is an extremely powerful team. They are physically powerful, really powerful,” Soudani very insightfully said (except for the ‘insightful’ part). “Apart from that, they have a lot of players in big clubs and they didn’t lose a game in the qualifiers. They have Mikel Obi and Victor Moses who plays for Chelsea and other good players too. I think Croatia need to be careful. They beat Argentina 4-2 few weeks ago in a friendly match. Though you could say it was a friendly game, but it was a victory that points to Nigeria as a serious contender in the group.” The thing is of course that on any given day anyone can beat Argentina, regardless of World Cup betting odds.

But back to Croatia, The Blazers hope to repeat the success of the 1998 Golden Generation, which boasted Dario Šimić, Mario Stanić, Zvonimir Soldo, Robert Jarni, Robert Prosinečki, Zvonimir Boban, and Davor Šuker; names that probably mean nothing to people who enjoy betting on the World Cup but are under the age of 30. Notwithstanding that, these men finished in 3rd place in France ’98, Croatia’s best result in a World Cup. The national team’s current batch of talent includes captain Luka Modric, Mario Mandzukic, Ivan Rakitic, Marcelo Brozovic, Andrej Kramaric, and Ivan Perisic. Croatia almost didn’t make it to their fifth World Cup, but if they sustain the momentum they showed in the playoffs, they might just return to the knockout stage for the first time in two decades.

Nigeria is not short on promising talent, though. Kelechi Iheanacho, Alex Iwobi, Henry Onyekuru and Moses Simon are all part of a team that became the first African nation to secure a spot in the 2018 World Cup, winning all their home dates with two draws and a victory on the road under German manager Gernot Rohr, a former Girondins Bordeaux midfielder who previously coached Burkina Faso, Gabon, and Niger. He hopes that the Super Eagles can leave their mark in Russian, especially after they beat Argentina 4-2 in a friendly in earlier this month, as mentioned above. And speaking of things mentioned above, there is the concern that Nigeria’s World Cup betting odds might be too dependent on the aforementioned Obi and Moses.

Going Brazilian: 2018 FIFA World Cup Betting Futures Odds

2018 World Cup Betting Futures Odds

Four years is a long time. Just ask the Brazil national football team, current World Cup betting co-favorites to win the 2018 edition of the global tournament. That’s right; Brazil has at this juncture in time the same odds as Germany to win the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Germany, not only the current reigning and defending champions, but also the team that made Brazil its little cadela, as Brazilians themselves might say. As people betting on the World Cup surely remember, zee Germans demolished the cariocas 7-1 in the semis of the previous tournament.

The disparity that should be there but isn’t between Brazil and Germany is apparent in all its glory between Spain and Portugal in Group B, who will begin World Cup play against each other in a rematch from their Round of 16 matchup in 2010, in which Spain eliminated Portugal 1-0 on the way to their first and so far only World Cup title. The Iberian Peninsula dwellers have dominated Europe lately the way they used to dominate the New World, winning the last three UEFA European Championship, but can they branch continental dominion out into global conquest, is the question.

World Cup betting futures

  • Argentina +850
  • Australia +20000
  • Belgium +1215
  • Brazil +500
  • Colombia +2850
  • Costa Rica +35000
  • Croatia +4550
  • Denmark +8000
  • Egypt +20000
  • England +1325
  • France +605
  • Germany +500
  • Japan +30000
  • Mexico +6500
  • Nigeria +20000
  • Peru +10000
  • Poland +4550
  • Portugal +2550
  • Russia +2550
  • Senegal +12500
  • Serbia +12500
  • Spain +725
  • Sweden +10000
  • Switzerland +7550
  • Tunisia +50000
  • Uruguay +2550
  • Iceland +20000
  • Iran +30000
  • Morocco +20000
  • Panama +50000
  • Saudi Arabia +50000
  • Korea Republic +5000

Speaking of Spain (where the rain stays mainly in the plain), if there was one thing Lionel Messi dreaded more than the Spanish Tax Agency was Argentina meeting the Red Fury in the first round. “The worst that could happen to us would be to draw Spain at the group stages,” he said, and completely in character, we might add. “I would prefer to avoid them, they’d be tough opponents.” Argentina almost pulled an Italy but managed to qualify by the skin of their teeth at the eleventh hour with a 3-1 win in Ecuador. “I always believed we’d get there, but I thought we would have tied up qualification before the Ecuador game,” Messi added. Next time you’d best not believe, then.

Argentina finds itself, all things considered, in a deceptively tough group (Nigeria, Croatia, and Iceland) nonetheless, as does France. Make no mistake, though; Les Bleus may have assembled their best squad since their World Cup-winning team 1998, which included current manager Didier Deschamps. “I think France will be very strong. When you have a trio like [Antoine] Griezmann, [Alexandre] Lacazette and [Kylian] Mbappe, you have a strong team. The experience that the team has from a generation of veteran players, backed up by these young players, makes them a candidate to win the title,” Brazilian head coach Tite said.  France is the last team whose World Cup betting odds are in the hundreds.

Roo the Day: France versus Australia World Cup Betting

Betting on the World Cup France versus Australia preview

The symbiotic relationship France and Australia share will do, World Cup betting-wise, the Socceroos little good when they face Les Bleus in their tournament-opening game. This isn’t rugby, after all. Then again, the team from Down Under could benefit from the fact that the French think they’re little more than just another shrimp on the barbie. “L’Équipe’s headline was “Aussies with no head,” French journalist Dtrp said, in reference to the managerless Australians.  Aussies with no head? Eh, probably sounded better in the original French. “In terms of the greatest threat to France, L’Équipe also put Denmark first, then Peru, followed by Australia because we don’t know much about the Australia team to be really honest. We only know mainly Tim Cahill’s aptitude for awesome goals in World Cups.”

  • 16 June 2018 13:00 MSK (UTC+3)
  • France vs. Australia

  • Kazan Arena, Kazan

According to Dtrp, France has a tendency to underestimate opponents, something which came back to bite them in the derriere in 2002 and 2010, on both of which occasions they failed to make it past the group stage (and as defending champions, no less, in 2002). And it’s not just the French press that’s counting their poulets before they hatch and betting the World Cup will be a breeze. France avoided “the stronger teams and get Australia, Peru and Denmark” and “should be able to get at least seven points from this group and cruise into the group stage,” says CBS Sports. All of which is not to say of course that the French don’t have the wherewithal to put their World Cup betting money where their mouth is, which they do, in the form of Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann, Alexandre Lacazette, Anthony Martial, and Ousmane Dembele

French head coach Didier Deschamps has, all things considered, a lot of resources to draw from, even if he does decide to move forward without Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud, whose lack of playing time in the English Premier League is threatening his spot in the national team. assistant coach Guy Stephan even hinted at the possibility that Giroud might want to start looking elsewhere. “It’s clear that playing time is not enough, and Didier has had the opportunity to talk to him about it. Olivier has to find a solution in the weeks to come. A loan deal in January? That’s up to him,” Stephan said.

So not only does France have a wealth of players from which their coach can pick and choose, but they actually have a coach. Former Australian manager Ange Postecoglou quit after the Aussies clinched a spot on the World Cup. What, was he an angel, like Michael Landon in Highway to Heaven? Did he say something to the effect of, “my work here is done, you guys don’t need me anymore, now I have to go and help someone else, presumably in a 48-minute period sometime next week”? Football Federation Australia has put together a committee including former Australia players Mark Schwarzer, Mark Bresciano, and Stan Lazaridis and given them a February deadline to appoint a new head coach who can lead them to World Cup betting success.