Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Drawing Conclusions

I was feeling quite good about England's prospects for advancement after yesterday's, in my opinion, quite reasonable result against France, until I read Gundulf's take on it:
Firstly, England now have in my view even more of an uphill struggle to get anywhere in the competition than they started off with. A win against the Swedes is now not optional, and I'm afraid that with Woy's inherently defensive and negative approach I just can't see that happening. Let's play devil's advocate and say that France and Ukraine draw and England beat Sweden. That would mean us going into the game against Ukraine, on their turf and with their tails bolt upright, with the hosts needing a win to progress to the quarter finals. Can't see that going our way, personally.
A draw in the opening game against the group favourites, a team on a 20+ games unbeaten run,  is not a bad result for me. I'm not sure how many Euros or World Cups Gundulf has seen, but you don't have to go back far to see that an opening draw is not a bad result. In the last World Cup, no less than seven teams, including England, drew their opening match, and advanced from their groups. In fact, England drew their first two games. Spain went one better, or worser, and actually lost their opening game, and I'm sure no one reading this is unaware of how they ended the tournament. In the last Euro, 2008, Turkey, Italy and Russia all lost their opening matches, but still advanced, as did England in 2004. My memory just reminded me that when I was a boy, I remember England failing to win their opening game versus Uruguay in 1966, and thinking all was lost.

Which is all a long-winded way of saying that I don't agree with Gundulf that England's result was too shabby.  They may well end up failing to qualify, but if they do, it will be because of failures in their next two matches, not because of drawing the first one.

The Poland - Russia match today promises to be as interesting off the pitch as on it, especially if many of the Russian fans march to the stadium wearing T-shirts featuring the Soviet hammer and sickle to celebrate (Russia Day) as rumoured. 

Host nations have a decent record in their second matches, although as with their opening games, recent tournaments haven't been so favourable. The last nine matches going back to Euro 2000, have seen hosts win 4, draw 2 and lose 3, with 6 Unders and 3 Overs. Under 2.5 is priced at 1.75, and another draw at 3.4 will be my 'fun' bets.

The only other two losses for hosts in second matches came as far back as 1938 and 1954. Between 1954 and 1990, the hosts won 15 of 16 matches with one draw in 1986.  

I was rather hoping that my run of losers in the baseball would come to an end last night, with two selections after a week of five losing selections. The Atlanta Braves went down 0-3 to the New York Yankees, and in the Battle of Los Angeles, (that's the freeway series, not the 1942 incident) the Dodgers had a 2-0 lead over the Angels, but let it slip to extend my losing run to seven. A consolation win for the +1.5 handicap bet, but as Peter Nordsted has observed, baseball betting is a funny business. That's funny as in peculiar, not funny ha-ha. There is nothing remotely amusing about seven losing bets in a row!

I'm on the Dodgers and Braves again tonight if you want to lay them. 

1 comment:

gundulf said...

Cassini, I'm sorry but I've read and re-read my post and I'm blowed if I can see any derision aimed at England's result against the French!

The point that I was trying to get across is that in many ways Ukraine beating Sweden was the worst result for England in the context of the four remaining group stage matches.

I actually agree with you that the result against the French was more than acceptable!