World Cup Preview Day 10: Paraguay/Slovakia, Italy/New Zealand, Brazil/Ivory Coast

19 June 2010

Brazilian national soccer team player Kaka performs during his team's training session in Johannesburg, South Africa, 19 June 2010. (Credit Image: © epa/
The second Sunday at the World Cup sees Group F play it's second round of group matches as Paraguay and Slovakia square off in the opening match of the day, followed by Italy and New Zealand. The day concludes with the match-up I've been personally looking forward to the most out of the group of death as Brazil and the Ivory Coast square off.

Jeff went 1 win and 2 losses on Saturday, moving his record to 10 wins, 12 loses, and 4 no results. Johnathan lost all three of his matches on Saturday, moving his record to 11 wins, 11 losses, and 4 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: Paraguay v Slovakia
Jeff Hash: Two teams who came out with 1-1 draws to start this tournament, but there's no doubt which side was happier about that.  Paraguay didn't get much on goal, but the one shot they did counted against the defending champions Italy, while Slovakia also got very little to goal and conceded late to New Zealand.  I'm hearing there's a chance Roque Santa Cruz starts in this one for Paraguay, which would add some much needed pop to the attack.  Slovakia is more capable in attack, but if they didn't show it against New Zealand, I don't know how it suddenly shows against Paraguay.  Overall, this reads as another draw to me, and low-scoring at that.  I'll take the under 2.5 goals at -210.
Johnathan Starling: I know it wasn't the same New Zealand side that we saw at the Confederations Cup last year, but the fact Slovakia was so inept in front of goal was shocking to me. Paraguay did exactly what they wanted to do against Italy, even if they did concede to the defending World Cup Champions. I disagree with Jeff as I think will be an outright winner over the course of 90 minutes; it's just a matter of wanting the no result cover in the event it does happen. My prediction is Paraguay on the 0 line at -220. Slovakia just did nothing in my eyes to prove they can win a match against a better opponent.

10:00 am on ESPN: Italy v New Zealand
Jeff Hash: Italy, despite some expectations, didn't manage to shake off a bad warmup campaign in drawing Paraguay, though in the attack they were certainly the better side of the night.  New Zealand, on the other end, needed an ultra-late header to grab the point on Slovakia.  Make no mistake about it: the All Whites have shown up in South Africa, something some teams still can't say.  And these two teams met just last year in the Confederations Cup, with Italy winning 4-3 minus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon.  That will turn out to be good practice, as Buffon is out with an injury for this one as well.  Italy is certainly more likely to win, but with a shakeup in goal and a lack of offensive punch, its going to be close regardless.  Therefore, I take advantage of a heavy line and take New Zealand +1.5 goals at -110.
Johnathan Starling: This one has me scratching my head a bit as it can go one of two ways. The first way: Italy gets an early goal and counters New Zealand to a 3-0 or 3-1 victory. The other way sees New Zealand park the bus and pray for a 0-0 draw. Considering how long it took for Italy to break down Paraguay, I see the former happening. I just feel like Italy will play with a little urgency early on, score in the first half an hour, and then play around with a New Zealand side that will try to pull level. I think the second game of this World Cup will be a bridge too far for the All Whites. My prediction is Italy -1.5 at -120.

2:30 pm on ABC: Brazil v Ivory Coast
Jeff Hash: Brazil may have gotten three points against North Korea, but they've certainly got to do better than they did if they want to win it all.  The good news though was it was a case of not cashing in on opportunities instead of not getting any, which tells me they can get goals.  Its also certainly better than Ivory Coast, who may have been the better side against Portugal in a scoreless draw, but that's only because they were the only two options on the field.  Drogba may start in this one, but I don't know if it really matters given he's still not 100 percent, and the team really needs him to carry them through.  I expect Brazil to get back on track in this one, so my pick will be Brazil to win outright at -167.
Johnathan Starling: Remember Argentina/Ivory Coast at the last World Cup? I think this game plays out exactly like that one. I think Brazil will be comfortably 2-0 ahead before Ivory Coast pulls one back with about 15 minutes to play, making the final quarter hour a very nervy affair. Considering I think this result ends 2-1 to Brazil, I'm going to play the over 2.5 goals on this match at +115.


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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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