World Cup Day 7 Preview: Group B Favorites Square Off, Mexico/France Play For Round of 16

17 June 2010

Diego Maradona Coach of Argentina with The Jabulani Match Ball during A Press Conference.(Credit Image: © Imago/
The first week of the World Cup concludes with Group B favorites Argentina and South Korea squaring off as well as Greece and Nigeria. Group A also concludes it's second round of matches as Mexico and France square off.

This was our first day of the competition where our picks did not yield any wins as Jeff Hash and I both went 0 wins, 2 losses, and 1 no result. Jeff's record currently stands at 8 wins 5 losses and 4 no results. Johnathan's record is 8 wins, 6 losses, and 3 no results.

Note: If we're using the handicap line, we will include what the spread is. If it spread is 0, a draw will mean no result. If we use the Over/Under line, just add the total number of goals scored in a match. Please note that this will all be based on the scoreline at Full Time (90 minutes). For betting purposes, only the result after 90 minutes are counted. Our odds are courtesy of Centsports.

7:30 am on ESPN: Argentina v South Korea
Johnathan Starling: South Korea was the more impressive of the two teams last Saturday, as they tore through Greece with ease. Argentina looked fine for about 25 minutes, but frankly they were fortunate Nigeria couldn't finish to save their lives. The Asian sides are getting a lot of love so far in this competition (Australia aside), but I just have a feeling Argentina is going to turn on the style and flair to win again. My bet is for Argentina to win outright at -275. I just don't know if this is going to be a 1-0 or a 2-0 victory to feel comfortable saying bet the -1 spread Argentina has on this match.
Jeff Hash: A wasteful first game for Argentina, even in winning over Nigeria, leaves questions in my mind about the forward trio of Messi, Tevez and Hiquain, or maybe just as importantly, the ability of the rest of the team to unleash these three in the attack.  While it was great to see South Korea break down Greece twice, what was more amazing to me was that they held together as a team so well (granted it was against one of the weaker attacks in the cup).  I don't see a multi-goal victory on the cards, so the move to me is to play the side that covers a goal and wins on the draw, and that has me favoring the Asian side yet again.  My pick is South Korea +1 at +105.

10:00 am on ESPN: Greece v Nigeria
Johnathan Starling: I'm going to say it as bluntly as possible: Greece is awful. I don't think they are going to score a goal in this World Cup. Nigeria had plenty of chances to equalize against Argentina, and I feel they can break down Greece's defense. Yes, this is going to be an ugly game, but I think Nigeria repeats the script South Korea had last Saturday and this is going to be a 2-0 win for Nigeria. My bet is Nigeria to win outright at -110 as it pays off more money than betting the under at -200.
Jeff Hash: The African sides seriously need a breakthrough at this point.  The hosts look to be all but out, and only Ghana managed to make a serious impact in their group to start.  Nigeria did ok in losing to Argentina, but seemed unable to truly grab their opportunities.  However, Greece was completely pathetic in their first game, and from what I can tell, the team has no higher gear to go to.  This game comes down to whether or not Nigeria can find something more than they had the first time around.  I think they will in the end, and so my pick is the same as John's: Nigeria to win outright at -110.

2:30 pm on ESPN2: France v Mexico
Johnathan Starling: I have to admit, I am completely baffled by the odds this match provides. Mexico was put in the unfortunate position of playing the host nation in the first match day; something they navigated about as well as one could. Frankly, even with the big names, France is just as bad as we all thought they were. I think that by the time full time is blown here, France's World Cup journey could be all but over. My pick is Mexico on the 0 line at +135. I don't think Mexico is losing this game, but I would recommend covering the draw as a no result in case Mexico finishes their chances like they did against South Africa.
Jeff Hash: France is set to self-destruct.  The manager is clearly in over his head this time around, and his players showed no signs of life in taking a scoreless draw against Uruguay.  The team's best hope is just to limp through it and hope other things fall right.  Mexico handled the first challenge well against South Africa, but I'm a little troubled at how a three forward setup could have so much possession and not really get much with it.  I'm going to chicken out on this one, as I think France can spoil the party if Mexico's forwards do so little again.  I'm taking the under in this game at -250.  Its not much, but at least I can feel I will get something back from this match.


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Johnathan Starling, the self proclaimed 'most brutally honest man on the net, dishes out his own unique brand of opinions, and analysis on the Premier League, Bundesliga, and all things US Soccer.

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