World Cup Odds and Picks: France Vs. Uruguay Predictions
by Robert Ferringo - 6/9/2010
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France has been down this road before.
Les Bleus enters the World Cup with one of the shakiest, most dumbfounding rosters in the field. Their qualifying has been riddled with missteps that have included, but not been limited to, uninspired play, controversial goals that led to their entrance in the field, sex with underage prostitutes, injuries and an overall lack of team chemistry. All in all, it is safe to say that bad karma is abundant with this squad.
If most of this sounds familiar that’s because it was a nearly identical story (minus the hookers) four years ago when France endured a tumultuous entrance into the World Cup, only to put it together and get themselves within penalty kicks of their second World Cup championship in the last three tournaments. In 1998 they won the title on their home soil despite entering the tournament as sizeable underdogs.
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France begins another march in soccer’s highest profile event with a match at 1 p.m. EST on Friday, June 11 against Uruguay. The French are presently No. 9 in the FIFA World Rankings while Uruguay, despite a shaky qualifying in its own right, is posted at No. 16.
While France punched its ticket in a playoff with an amazingly controversial goal – they forged a draw against Ireland with an extra time goal that was an obvious handball – it should be noted that Uruguay also needed a trip to the brink in order to make the field of 32.
For the third time in three Cup cycles, Uruguay finished fifth in its South American region and needed to win a playoff game to advance. They managed to beat Costa Rica in a two-match playoff in 2009.
So neither team comes to South Africa with much momentum or much of a positive outlook. That is rare considering that Uruguay has two World Cup titles on its mantle (1930, 1950) while France is a known soccer power.
These two teams have squared off twice since 2002 and they have played even at 0-0 in both instances. They were actually grouped together in the 2002 World Cup Final in Korea/Japan and in their second game they played to a draw. In that game, heralded French striker Thierry Henry was actually sent off with a red card in the 25th minute. The most recent meeting was another draw in Saint-Denis in November of 2008. In that game the teams, from stats to chances, played completely even and by all accounts it was an uninspired effort.
France has the clear advantage with experience here. They have seven players on their roster that have more than 40 caps while Uruguay has just three. And given France’s performances in the major tournaments over the last decade they have infinitely more quality big-game experience than their opponents. Their defense, when in form, is impeccable and they should be able to shield off what can be a clumsy Uruguay attack.
But, again, the question is which France team will show up. They are the superior team here. But their draw in the 2002 Cup was part of a 0-2-1 debacle that had them home early. And if they don’t show up or aren’t playing together then this feisty Uruguayan squad could steal a point – or three.
Uruguay vs. France World Cup Odds:
France is a slight favorite in this game at -0.5 (+100) and Uruguay set at +0.5 (-130). With the draw, Uruguay is a +275 underdog with France set at -105 and the Draw paying out +220. The total is at 2.0.
Uruguay vs. France Picks and Predictions:
Uruguay Will Win If: They use their speed and their skill up front and if France is off-step. Uruguay managed 28 goals in qualifying so they can put the ball in the net. This is a physical, aggressive team that makes up for its lack of depth and experience with hustle. In their two games with France they have earned seven cards to their opponent’s two. So if they can bowl over a team on its heels they could get some early confidence. This club doesn’t have any top-end talent and, as I mentioned, depth is a concern. But in their first game none of that will be an issue and if they can get on the attack early they could deflate the French.
France Will Win If: They round the defense into form and maintain possession. The French build from the back and they rely on their stout defense to set the tone. Uruguay is a talented team, but one that has problems possessing the ball. If France can control the ball, and thus the tempo, and make early runs then I think that its 4-3-3 formation sets up well for an offensive performance. Also, Uruguay’s weakness is in goal, where they have one of the softest in the field. Thierry Henry and Franck Ribery form one of the most decorated striking pairs in the field and if they get an opportunity they should handle the Charruas’ keeper.
Robert Ferringo will be releasing rated selections on the 2010 World Cup this summer. Robert is a long-time soccer aficionado and one of the most exciting handicappers in the industry, and he guarantees a profit through the entirety of the tournament. Sign up today and get on board the Victory Train!
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