World Cup Preview Day 6: Spain Closes Out First Group Games, South Africa Starts the Second

15 June 2010

Spanish national soccer team coach, Vicente del Bosque (R), gives instructions to defenders Carles Puyol (C) and Gerard Piqué (L) during the trainning session held at the North-West University campus in Potchefstroom, South Africa on Friday 11 June 2010. Spain is in group H and will face Switzerland on June 16 in Durban. (Credit Image: © epa/ZUMApress.com)
Wednesday in South Africa sees the first round of group games conclude as Group H takes to the pitch. We also see South Africa and Uruguay start the second round of group games.

On Tuesday, both Jeff and I went 1 win, 1 loss, and 1 no result. To date, Jeff Hash's record is 8 wins, 3 losses, and 3 no results. My record is 8 wins, 4 losses, and 2 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: Honduras v Chile
Johnathan Starling
: This may sound crazy, but I've got some weird expectations for this one. I think this has the potential to be a quasi-entertaining game. Both teams will try to attack, and have respectable defensive lines. However, I think the difference in this one is talent, something I think Chile has a little bit more of. In the end, I expect Chile to close down Wilson Palacios and in the end get a 2-0 result. My pick on this game is Chile -1 at +110.
Jeff Hash: Besides Chile's odd experiment of two games in one day (which they won both of), its been a good buildup for the surprise side in South American qualifying.  They certainly possess a great amount of attacking might, highlighted by Humberto Suazo.  Honduras getting here was a great story in CONCACAF.  Since then though, they've been lifeless in tournament preparation, only managing a win against the US in the dead of January.  Overall, I think Chile is going to dominate in this game.  As such, my pick will also be Chile minus a goal at +110.

10:00 am on ESPN: Spain v Switzerland
Johnathan Starling: I won't lie, this one has me somewhat puzzled. Switzerland has been known to be a formidable side in World Cup group stages, while Spain's golden generation are just on another level right now. If Spain feel like playing, I don't think Switzerland can stop them. That's what leads me to my problem. The spread bet of Spain at -1.5 just screams 'bet me', but only 3 games at this World Cup have been decided by more than 2 goals. I know I will question this decision even if it hits, but my pick on this game is over 2.5 goals at -115. I just think by the time it's all said and done, the scoreline will show Spain 2, Switzerland 1.
Jeff Hash: Is this Spain a team of destiny?  The European champions certainly seem to have reached all new levels in recent years, and this World Cup may prove to be its biggest reward.  They did well getting ready, winning all four of their matches in all sorts of ways (close 1-0, blowout, high-scoring one goal margin, and a 2-0 over France).  My concern with Switzerland is fairly simple: where is their attack coming from without Alexander Frei?  They scored 2 goals in 3 warmup matches, winning none of them.  If it comes down to the Swiss holding Spain up, I simply don't think they can do it, and when they go chasing, they'll get into trouble.  My pick for this game is Spain -1.5 goals at even money.

2:30 pm on ESPN: South Africa v Uruguay
Johnathan Starling
: South Africa is more than thrilled to be in this position after the first set of games. Uruguay, on the other hand, is probably a bit frustrated for the red card they picked up. The thing that worries me about this game is the scoring threat of Uruguay. While we know the names Luis Suarez and Diego Forlan, they were pretty much neutered in the first game. Yes, they played defensively, but I think with South Africa's counter attack, they could be exposed. While I'm calling for a South Africa 1-0 win, my bet for this match is on the under 2.5 goals at -230. While I think South Africa will win, I don't want to catch myself out in the event Uruguay somehow does.
Jeff Hash: Its nice to finally be able to talk about a match without delving into the hypothetical crystal ball reading that is the build-up campaign.  South Africa showed a level of confidence in drawing Mexico that I really wanted to see out of the host nation, while Uruguay was the better of what was a really bad scoreless draw with France.  One thing that has stood out to me in this tournament is how important organization in the 11 is, and here I think South Africa has the advantage alongside the crowd.  I think a draw is fairly likely, but if there is a winner, it'll be the host.  So, my pick is South Africa on the handicap of 0 at +120.

So what do you think of the games on Wednesday? Let us know in the comments below.

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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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