Posts Tagged ‘France’

Weekly Photoshop – Gerard Houllier

21/09/2010

New Aston Villa manager Gerard Houllier is this week’s theme. Tricky to see how that will turn out – he undoubtedly brought success to Liverpool but six years is a long time to be out of the Premier League. Good luck to him.

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gerard-houllier pope

With the Pope in town, Houllier puts his name down for future canonisation. It'll be a miracle if he gets Heskey scoring after all...

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Hop on board Gerard's magic roundabout. Turns a corner every week...

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More here.

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T.

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Archive.

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World Cup Roundup

14/07/2010

So suggesting a bet on Holland in the final meant the bet of the day running total ended 0.77 units down, which isn’t awful considering two-thirds of the group stage were missed. In better punditry many of the pre-tournament tips came off. Of the more impressive ideas, I suggested Germany to reach the semi-finals @ 12/5, Argentina to get nine points in their group @ 12/5, Uruguay and Mexico to go through in group A @ 13/1 and Uruguay as an each way bet @ 66/1.

I wrote that England could well suffer a second round knock-out, while tipping Holland @ 9/1 almost came off. The goalscorer tips were a touch unlucky too with each way suggestions Klose (33/1) and Suarez (100/1) just missing out on the top four.  Enough gloating (there were plenty of dud tips too after all) and time for a few highlights and lowlights.

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Best Game: England vs Germany had controversy, some great football, good goals and it dispelled the hype surrounding so many of England’s stars.

Worst Game: Most of the ones in the first week.

Best Goal: Tshabalala’s in the opening match was great for the moment and Van Bronckhorst in the semi-final was great for the pureness of the strike but I think Villa’s first against Honduras tops both.

Worst Miss: Yakubu vs South Korea. Dear oh dear.

Most Dramatic 5 Minutes: Spain vs Paraguay gave it a good try, with three penalties in the space of a few minutes, but you can’t beat the end of extra-time in the Uruguay vs Ghana match. Goalmouth scramble, handball on the line and red card, missed penalty with a semi-final place up for grabs, undignified celebrations by the man sent off and then a penalty shoot-out shortly after. Wow.

Best Pundit: Clarence Seedorf. There weren’t many to choose from but he was insightful and refreshing. Some good features too.

Hero: Paul the psychic octopus.

Villain: Take your pick from Suarez, the Jabulani ball or the French team going on strike. Oh and James Corden too.

Best XI Of The Tournament: Casillas; Lahm, Puyol, Lugano, Coentrao; Schweinsteiger, Xavi, Sneijder; Mueller, Forlan, Villa.

Worst XI Of The Tournament: Green; Otamendi, Terry, Cannavaro, Evra; Melo, Kaka, Ribery; Anelka, Rooney, Torres.

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T.

World Cup Bet Of The Day – Day 1

11/06/2010

A feature I’m going to try and do every day, at least until I go on holiday. I’ll keep a running total and see how it ends up at the end of the tournament.

Today’s pick is Uruguay to beat France in the evening game. I wrote earlier about how I thought France were a decent shout to get knocked out in the group stages and thus I think the price on Uruguay is far too high.

The French have been experimenting with a new formation and a 1-0 warm-up defeat to China suggests it’s not quite settled.

Uruguay have a great strike partnership in Forlan and Suarez (almost 80 goals between them this season) and I think the two of them can cause some serious problems for the French defence.

Bet of the day:
Uruguay to beat France @ 14/5.

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T.

The Big World Cup Betting Post

11/06/2010

This afternoon 32 teams begin the fight to be crowned World Cup winners on July 11th. Well, strictly speaking only four teams play today but let’s not be pedantic. There’s a wealth of potential bets to place and some potentially big winnings to be had. I’m sure everyone has their opinion on what will happen so here’s my pick.

Eyes on the prize.

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Favourites

The top three teams in the winner market are Spain at 4/1, Brazil at 5/1 and Argentina at 8/1. There’s not a great deal of value there but of the three I have Brazil as my favourite to win. They’re solid at the back with all the Inter defenders and also play two defensive midfielders to back them up. Up front Kaka is still a great player while Luis Fabiano is an effective striker.

If all three of those teams win their groups, Spain are scheduled to face Argentina in one semi-final which makes it trickier to back them over Brazil. You could go with naming the finalists – Brazil/Spain is about 10/1 while Brazil/Argentina is as high as a tempting 18/1.

Personally I think I’ll be going for all three teams to qualify from their groups with a maximum nine points. In that regard Brazil are 9/4, Spain 6/5 and Argentina 12/5. The risky treble is about 24/1.

Favourites to double up.

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If Things Go Their Way

Here we have the likes of England, Holland, Germany and Italy. All good sides but probably not a match for the three favourites. Betting on England is always a mug’s game in my eyes. The bookies have them down at 8/1 which is mainly to protect themselves from Dave the Daily Star reader who puts heart before head.

That said Capello and a fit Rooney is a far better prospect then the Eriksson and unfit Rooney of four years ago. In reality I think the semi’s (11/8) are the absolute limit for England but there’s a potentially tricky second round match against the group B runners-up which could see them knocked out early.

I like the look of Holland and they have some brilliant attacking options. Whether their defence holds up against top opposition is another story and whichever way they look at it they’re going to meet Spain or Brazil in a quarter-final. However, what’s betting without some fun risk involved so why not a cheeky pound on them to win the whole thing at 9/1? Thinking about it I think they’ll be a good team to bet on a match by match basis come the knock-out stages.  Personally I’ll be looking at Robin van Persie to do some goalscoring damage. More on that later.

Never write off Germany. 12/5 for the semi finals. I’ll have some of that.

Keep looking Wayne, you won't win it.

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Potential Flops

In my mind there are two teams who are ripe to flop completely and not qualify from their group – France and Portugal. I have different reasons for both. France are an ageing team and somehow still have Raymond Domenech as their coach. Some of his decisions are baffling. In fact no, most of his decisions are baffling. The senior players still have too much say and there’s talk of infighting within the squad.

Their group is on paper not too hard which is why this is an interesting bet. Uruguay should qualify and part of me thinks that South Africa will get a win in the opening game and somehow find a way to qualify in second. I’m sure Sepp will sort something out… The odds aren’t great – only 2/1 so maybe it’s better value to bet on the Uruguay and Mexico/South Africa forecast instead (13/1 or 21/1). On the other hand all the great players in their squad might have one last great hurrah.

Portugal in contrast are in the so-called group of death – Brazil, Ivory Coast and North Korea being their opponents. Brazil will top this group so I think it’s a straight fight for second between two of the biggest divas in the World Cup; Drogba and Ronaldo. I think the latter loses out, thus a Brazil/Ivory Coast forecast is a nice 11/4.

This will happen again. Though without Big Phil.

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Each Way Long Shots

Serbia and Uruguay seem to be getting a lot of love as teams who could go further than expected. They’re on the right side of the draw in terms of ‘only’ having Brazil instead of Spain and Argentina. At 40/1 and 66/1 respectively, they’re fantastic each-way bets. Both are technically good with differing strengths; Serbia having a top defence while Uruguay have Forlan and Suarez up front.

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Sharpshooters

Top goalscorer bets are always fun and if you consider that six goals was the winning total for six straight World Cups from 1978 to 1998 you only need a bit of luck to win on a high-priced each way bet. Germany’s Miroslav Klose won with five goals in 2006 and he again is fantastic each way value this time round at a general 33/1.

Holland have a group without any particularly defensive teams meaning Robin van Persie could fill his boots and be overall winner at 12/1. If you look at who’s facing the weakest teams (North Korea and New Zealand) then perhaps Luis Fabiano of Brazil at 10/1  or Italy’s Di Natale  at 50/1 could be worth a shout. Suarez of Uruguay can be found as high as 100/1 and if you think three goals was enough for second last time round it’s worth placing a pound or two on him.

Your top goalscorer. Maybe...

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T.

World Cup!

08/06/2010

World Cup! World Cup! World Cup! World Cup! World Cup! World Cup! World Cup! Are you excited? I am!

Shake it.

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Watch him.

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Definitely not on cocaine...

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The Divine Ponytail no longer.

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Listen to the mental Dutch commentary!
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Remind me where the ball hit him...

Oh yeah, here
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That haircut!
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I love how indignant the panel are.
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Your sister is a...

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To think that’s just the last 20 years.
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T.

Weekly Photoshop – Thierry Henry

24/11/2009

Haven’t you heard? Tuesday is the new Thursday in terms of weekly Photoshopping. I didn’t realise last week but from now we’ll be doing this on Tuesdays. This week the theme was Stephen Ireland. Then Thierry Henry decided to handball his way to becoming the worst human being in the history of mankind and thus the theme was changed by The Guardian.

 

I personally think it’s all a big much ado about nothing. Yes he cheated, but it hardly tarnishes a whole 16 year career. There’s been a distinct lack of perspective, and too many people in the media forgot that it was hardly a given that Ireland were going to World Cup. It was 1-1 on aggregate at the time after all. 

 

Also, as has been pointed out in many places, weren’t Ireland the beneficiaries of their own ridiculous handball decision in World Cup qualifying? Swings and roundabouts. Anyway, my internetless woes at home continue somewhat so it’s another simple entry this week.

 

Thierry Henry handball France Ireland

What's all the fuss? Does no-one else remember Thierry winning the Golden Glove awards while at Arsenal?

The rest of this week’s gallery can be found here (some very funny stuff, especially the winner).

 

T.

 

Archive.

 

 

Even More Pickled…

07/09/2009

Back in March we had a look at which European teams were in a bit of a pickle in terms of World Cup qualifying. We talked about Romania, Bulgaria, Poland and Sweden who are all good sides and first or second seeds when the draw was made. The main focus though was on France and Portugal, just as the expectations are so much higher and I would genuinely be surprised if they weren’t at the World Cup, something I can’t say for any other team (well perhaps my Polish brothers but that’s different).

Getting close now.

Getting close now.

So what’s changed? Well, France should be ok as they have moved up to 2nd but Domenech is being a bit of a mentalist again with his team selections. A tough away match in Belgrade looms on Wednesday but they’ll get through the playoffs. Bulgaria and Romania are out of it completely so the likes of Berbatov and Mutu will have extended summer holidays. Sweden are up to third in Group 1 while Poland are making it difficult for themselves with defeat to Northern Ireland. I hope they both get through but it looks like Slovakia are too far ahead in Group 3 sadly.

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This leaves us with Portugal who are in an even worse situation than before. Now fourth in Group 1 and seven points behind Denmark and three behind Hungary, there’s a very real possibility than Ronaldo won’t be playing on the biggest stage of all. I bet that will screw up any adverts Nike are currently planning. It comes down to this, they play Hungary twice before a gimme against Malta. The problem is, Sweden are ahead of them and play Albania, Denmark and Malta. Now of course the Denmark away game is tough but what chance we see a result both are happy with? Remember a mutually convenient 2-2 to knock out Italy in Euro 2004?

Messi and Ronaldo in a bit of pickle.

Messi and Ronaldo in a bit of pickle.

So while Nike are stressing over Ronaldo messing up their strategies, Adidas aren’t looking too clever with their main star either. Brazil swept aside Argentina 3-1 (the first time they’d ever lost in Rosario, a place they deliberately switched to for this match) leaving Maradona’s men in trouble. They’re still 4th but Colombia and Ecuador are just two points behind. Messi and co have only one home game of the three remaining and it could well go right to the wire. You can’t have a World Cup without Argentina though? Not since 1970 has that happened. As the Football Guy pointed out, it would be very odd without two of the three best players on the planet. Ronaldo in particular should be very worried…

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T.

Midweek Betting – World Cup Qualifiers

31/03/2009

A few betting selections for tomorrow night’s games.

The target, somewhat far away.

The target, somewhat far away.

Away wins are never easy to achieve in international football but one team worth backing tomorrow is Spain. Turkey is still an intimidating place to go but the European champions have won every game in qualifying thus far and just beat Turkey in the home leg on Saturday no less. I fancy them to repeat the trick. Spain to beat Turkey @ 11/8.

In the same group Bosnia face Belgium at home. The Bosnians currently lie second in group five and are averaging over three goals a game. Belgium have been pretty inconsistent both defensively (nine conceded) and also in terms of results (five games, seven points). As with the above tip, Bosnia have also just beaten Belgium in the reverse fixture on Saturday, winning 4-2 away. Let’s go with both Bosnia to beat Belgium @ 11/10 and also over 2.5 goals @ 5/6.

Finally, there’s never much value in short price home favourites but backing a treble of Italy, France and Holland to win gets you odds around the evens mark.

 

T.

In A Bit Of A Pickle – World Cup Qualifying…

30/03/2009

Following the initial set of qualifiers on Saturday and with a second round to come on Wednesday, I took a look at the standings in the World Cup qualifying groups this morning and was quite surprised to see a number of good sides struggling to get going. Here’s the top five countries in a bit of a sticky situation.

Mmm, pickle.

Mmm, pickle.

 

1. Portugal & Sweden/Group 1/Currently 3rd & 4th, both 4 points off top.

Cristiano Ronaldo and his merry men were seeded first for this group but have struggled to break down teams and have drawn three of their five games. A goalless draw on Saturday against Sweden helped neither side and with no game on Wednesday the Portuguese and indeed Sweden could find themselves seven points off qualification come the next round of games in June. The Swedes were in pot two originally but with Ljungberg retired and Larsson very, very old, have struggled up front and have scored just twice in four games. Everyone’s favourite overrated player Zlatan Ibrahimovic has neither of those two goals despite playing every game so far. Sweden have a game in hand on C-Ron’s men but it is against surprise package Denmark who top the group having played just four games. I would imagine both teams will get it together enough to overtake Hungary (a good young side, currently second) but I think Denmark will comfortably hold on to keep one of them out of the top two spots.

As disappointed as you are.

As disappointed as you are.

 

2. Bulgaria/Group 8/Currently 3rd and 7 points off 2nd.

This is perhaps not a huge shock but at the same time when the draw was made, ex-Spurs striker Dimitar Berbatov and his Bulgarian merry men were seeded higher than ex-Spurs striker Robbie Keane and his Irish merry men. Bulgaria’s problem is that have drawn all four of the games while Italy and Ireland have won a few games and built up nice leads. Italy will finish top without too much trouble and Bulgaria will hope the Azzuri can beat Ireland on Wednesday while they beat Cyprus. If that happens, it all looks rosier with just a four point deficit, a game in hand plus Ireland at home next. If it doesn’t it may start to be too much of a gap to overcome.

 

3. Poland/Group 3/Currently 5th and 3 points off top.

Poland are  a very workmanlike side who are definitely greater than the sum of their parts. There are no stars in their team, just lots of grafting midfielders, an overrated goalkeeper and a Brazilian. This random motley crew have qualified easily for Euro 2008 and the last two World Cups. The trouble being that they have stunk out each tournament and got knocked out in the group stages each time. This time round they find themselves fifth in a very tight group full of neighbours like Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Though only three points off Northern Ireland who are top, it just feels like one of those groups where no one team is good enough to dominate. They have a banker against San Marino on Wednesday but will need to avenge defeat to Northern Ireland in June to properly get back on the road to qualifying.

Give me Fabianski any day.

Give me Fabianski any day.

 

4. France/Group 7/Currently 3rd and 5 points off top.

Somehow France decided to stick with Raymond Domenech after their dismal showing at Euro 2008. He seems like a very ‘unique’ coach who is influenced by astrology and proposed to his girlfriend on live TV after they got knocked out of the Euros. Considering the talent the French have at their disposal, they should be dominating the group they’re in. Instead Serbia have made the best start and Les Bleus find themselves in third with some work to do. A big game against Lithuania on Wednesday will go some way to deciding their fate. A win sees them overtake Lithuania into second whilst keeping their game in hand. A tough away game in Serbia still awaits but the final two games are at home so they should be safe. Eventually.

 

5. Romania/Group 7/Currently 5th and 5 points off 2nd.

If France are in slight trouble, it’s nothing like the pickle Romania find themselves in. Marooned in fifth place they are five off Lithuania in second and a mighty eight off table toppers Serbia. One of several second seeds who have struggled to match their ranking (past performance is no indication of future as finance people would say) they have a problem in that they are probably fighting France for a spot. They can’t catch Serbia but already have a three point deficit on France. While home defeat against Serbia was not especially helpful, they will probably look back and see that the opening 3-0 thrashing by Lithuania in Bucharest was where their campaign started and finished.

 

T.


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