Tuesday, 29 June 2010

R16 - Day Four

The final two games of R16 today, and the Elo ratings have Paraguay (18) a little ahead of Japan (26), and Spain (2) with a bigger margin over Portugal (9), yet the odds on the two games are similar.

Asian countries have faced South American opposition just once - three days ago when South Korea went down to Uruguay. Paraguay have reached this stage three times, failing to score and losing to European opposition on each occasion - England 0-3, France 0-1 aet, and Germany 0-1. With no real stats to go on, this one is a gamble but for an interest I have Paraguay To Qualify at 1.58.

The later game is the more anticipated. Spain missed out on this stage in 1998, and in the other four competitions have always faced European opposition and have a record of W2, D2, L1. Portugal have just prior appearance in the R16, reaching the semi-finals last time beating the Netherlands 1-0 at this stage. Portugal To Qualify at 3.0 appeals to me here.

On a personal note, four years ago today I was in Germany with my son, watching the Brazil - Ghana game in Dortmund, on the big screen in the city centre. Little did we know that the game had been - allegedly - fixed for Brazil to win by at least two goals. We just thought Brazil were good!

The German weekly magazine Der Spiegel reports in Monday's edition that the 2006 World Cup knock-out stage match between Brazil and Ghana was influenced by an Asian betting syndicate.

The magazine reports large sums of money had been bet on Brazil winning by at least two goals and a former Ghana international acted as an intermediary.

Ghana lost the last 16 round match 3-0 in Dortmund on June 27, 2006 which put Brazil into the quarter-finals where they lost to France.

The information in Der Spiegel comes from Canadian investigative journalist Declan Hill, whose book about betting on sport around the world is published in German next week.

Hill also claims two Bundesliga matches of the 2004-05 season were also the subject of a betting scam oragnised by Malaysian William Bee Wah Lim who was sentenced to two years and five months by a Frankfurt court.

German football endured the most serious crisis in its history in 2004 when referee Robert Hoyzer admitted having received 70 000 euros to influence the results of 23 matches, mainly second and third division games, between April 10 and December 3, 2004.

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