World Cup Predictions: Brazil Odds to Win World Cup Group G
by Robert Ferringo - 5/7/2010
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What if I told you that I knew of a betting situation this summer that hadn’t lost in more than 30 years?
That’s precisely the case in the 2010 World Cup as one of the easiest wagers that you could make is on Brazil to win its Group and advance to the Knockout Stage. Presently, the odds of Brazil winning its World Cup group are an appetizing -150. And if you ask me that is a steal considering their performance in the tournament’s first round over the last seven World Cups.
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The last time that Brazil did not win their Group outright was back in the 1978 World Cup. That year they finished the first round tied with Austria at four points apiece, with the Austrians given the edge because of more goals scored.
But since that time the Brazilians have been unstoppable in early Cup play. Including the 1978 championship they have posted an incredible 20-1-3 record and have won their Group in seven straight World Cups. Going back even further, the Brazilians are 24-1-5 dating back to 1966.
The lone loss came back in France in 1998. In the final game of the Group Stage they lost 2-1 to Norway. The Norwegians scored two goals in the final seven minutes, including a controversial penalty kick in the 89th minute, to pull the stunning upset. That was Brazil’s first loss in the Group State since 1966.
Brazil enters the 2010 World Cup as the No. 1 team in the world, according to the FIFA rankings, and they are situated in Group G this year along with Korea DPR, Cote D’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) and Portugal. Because this Group features two of the top three teams in the field, as well as a plucky African team benefiting from a little “home cooking”, it has been dubbed the notorious “World Cup Group of Death”.
However, while Korea DPR may be the worst club in the 32-team field and while the Ivory Coast is ranked No. 27 in the latest FIFA rankings, they are a little outclassed. That means the definitive match in this Group will take place in Durban on June 25. That day the Brazilians face Portugal, currently the No. 3 ranked team in the world, with the winner likely taking the group and advancing to the Knockout Round.
What makes that Portugal-Brazil matchup that much more important is that the winner of Group G will avoid a potential Round of 16 matchup with Spain, the Euro 2008 winner and presently the No. 2 ranked team in the world. Spain will instead play the runner-up from Group G.
The Brazilians begin their march toward a sixth World Cup championship on March 14 in Johannesburg against Republic of Korea. That game should be ugly. Five days later they will remain in Johannesburg and take on the Ivory Coast. The Brazilians will have to avoid looking ahead to that match with Portugal because Ivory Coast is one of the best African teams playing in the first African-hosted World Cup. They will be playing above themselves throughout the tournament and won’t roll over.
But because Brazil knows that their Group could potentially come down to goal differential (if Brazil and Portugal play to a draw that would be the first tiebreaker) or total goals scored (the second tiebreaker), we should expect the Brazilians to come out firing from the get-go and show no mercy toward the two weaker teams in the Group.
If things hold form that could set up a classic Portugal-Brazil match. These two national teams have matched up four times dating back to 2002 with Portugal actually holding a 2-1-1 advantage. These clubs have played each other twice in the last three years, with Portugal posting a 2-0 victory in June of 2007 and Brazil producing a 6-2 thrashing on its home soil in November of 2008. That win by the Brazilians ended a 19-year drought against the Portuguese.
Odds To Win World Cup Group G:
My money is on Brazil. I know that, by their standards, maybe they haven’t been dominating over the last four years. But they are still the class of the world’s game. The Ivory Coast is obviously the fly in the ointment and will relish its role as spoiler in this contingent. I think that they could knock this Group off its axis by forging a tie with Portugal in the opener. But if Portugal gets past that one I think that it will come down to the final Portugal-Brazil match. I think that one ends in a draw and I think that Brazil will advance on goal differential.
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