Sunday, July 03, 2011


The Copa America has not really fired up the public yet, maybe the introduction of holders Brazil who are looking for a hat trick of titles will do the trick when they face improving Venezuela.

The Samba Boys will , as always, be exciting to watch and look set to start with three up front, namely Pato, Robinho and Neymar, with Ganso in a traditional playmaker role. I am not sure that this is the best formation and am sure that we will see a lot of experimentation in this young squad which is clearly building for the next World Cup which they are desperate to win on home soil.

I have to also give a word of caution about the two goal handicap they are asked to give up today. In the six major tournaments they have played this millenium, that's three Copa's and three World Cups, they have tended to start slowly losing two of their opening games and winning the other four by single goal margins. Venezuela will pack their defence and try to frustate Brazil, just like they did in the World Cup qualifier in Rio in October 2009. Venezuela have probably improved a little since then and I guess if forced to pick I would opt for them getting a two goal start @ circa 1.84.

I am anxious to see tiny Yohandry Onozco in action today, he has yet to start for Wolfsburg, but scored an absolute wonder goal for Venezuela at the CONMEBOL Under-20 Championships earlier this year, you can watch it here and it is certainly worth a quick look.

Women's World Cup sees Australia take on Equatorial Guinea and the loser of this can pack their bags and get ready for a quick getaway after the third group game. They both come here on the back of opening 1-0 defeats, EG lost to Norway and performed pretty well, creating chances, but like so many other teams in this competition, were very wasteful in front of goal .

Australia lost to Brazil but had 12 attempts on goal and enjoyed 52% possession, they are a nation on the up, made the quarter finals in the last World cup where they lost by the odd goal in five to Brazil and were unbeaten through the group stage, including putting four past Ghana a higher ranked African nation.

EG is a tiny nation of only some 600,000, so to get a women's team here is fantastic, but they are not used to this level of competition and another game again so quickly is very likely to find them out. If Australia score first and inside the hour, I can see them running away with this . The Matildas played really well in the opening 45 minutes against Brazil with Lisa De Vanna given them plenty of trouble and making the keeper work several times. They did not bow after going behind and almost snatched a late equaliser, which perhaps would have been a fairer result. Australia -1.25 goals 1.93 1.5 units.

Good Luck.

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