With the beginning of Brazil’s Samba jamboree edging ever closer, news.bwin.com/en/ have been bringing you the bets to be on at the first-round stage, with World Cup Group F – which contains 5/1 second-favourites Argentina – next up for tipping treatment.
Nigeria to qualify for the second round @ 27/20
Having only qualified for the World Cup for the first time back in 1994, the Super Eagles’ record over their four-tournament history is wildly inconsistent.
Nigeria topped their groups in 1994 and 1998, yet failed to qualify for the second rounds in 2002 and 2010 without managing a win in either.
However, the west Africans went out with their heads held high on their home continent four years ago, after Lille goalkeeper Victor Enyeama’s heroics restricted Lionel Messi and co to a 1-0 win in their opening match.
A 2-1 loss to Greece followed by a frantic 2-2 draw against South Korea put paid to their chances of progression, but with Enyeama – who kept 11 consecutive Ligue 1 clean sheets early in 2013/14 – still around and Chelsea trio Kenneth Omeruo, John Obi Mikel and Victor Moses in tow, Nigeria have quality and experience in key positions.
Add happy-again Stoke striker Peter Odemwingie into the mix and coach Stephen Keshi can boast the beginnings of a side capable of upsetting World Cup debutants Bosnia and Herzegovina, who are second favourites to qualify at 17/20 behind 1/100 bankers Argentina
Argentina to score under 6.5 Group F goals @ 11/10
With Messi-scourge Enyeama back minding Nigeria’s net, Alejandro Sabella won’t be expecting an easy ride in Argentina’s Porto Allegre opening clash.
La Albiceleste broke the six-goal barrier at the group stage of the past two tournaments, yet only managed the feat in two of the previous eight, which includes a mere four-goal preliminary haul at the last World Cup staged in South America, which they won on home soil.
Iran to claim exactly one Group F point @ 37/20
The west Asians have never emerged from the groups stage in any of their previous three World Cup appearances, yet they’ve stubbornly refused to exit the tournament without leaving a mark.
Iran’s only World Cup win came in a politically-charged clash against USA at France ’98, with their other pair of positive results courtesy of draws against Scotland and Angola in 1978 and 2006.
Carlos Queiroz’s men are the rank outsiders to qualify from the group at 5/1 and the Portuguese would likely be happy if his side can cadge a draw from such illustrious company.