- Football - International - FIFA - World Cup 2010 Qualifiers - All Zones
Truth be told, I'm not a big fan of Sweden but the odds are getting a little disrespectful of Swedish football & all the statistical numbers that support home ground advantage.
Therefore, I find value in opposing Portugal at these odds.
Sweden don't play entertaining football but they always seem to get the job done in the qualifiers of a major competition. Except for getting narrowly overtaken(to finish 2nd) by eventual champions Spain in ECQ2008, Sweden would have won their last 5 qualifying campaigns of a major competition!
ECQ2008 - 2nd (Spain, Denmark, N Ireland, Latvia etc)
WCQ2006 - 1st (Croatia, Bulgaria, Hungary etc)
ECQ2004 - 1st (Latvia, Poland, Hungary etc)
WCQ2002 - 1st (Turkey, Slovakia, Macedonia etc)
ECQ2000 - 1st (England, Poland, Bulgaria etc)
To do so well in qualifiers (yet underperform in the finals) suggests home ground advantage had a big part to play in their successful qualifying campaigns. At 22/4/2, the Swedes are dominant on home soil. Surely, this raises a few blonde eyebrows about +0. 25, yah??
As for Portugal, I guess the difference between them winning EC2004, WC2006 & EC2008 is missing the all-important No. 9, that furthest man upfront that completes the final touch at goal. The likes of Pauletta, Nuno Gomes, Helder Postiga, Hugo Almeida all failed miserably. Today, they are still without a half-decent poacher.
Portugal's strength lies in the attacking midfield area which has produced world class players like Eusebio (technically African) & more recently, Luis Figo & Rui Costa. Today, there is Cristiano Ronaldo, Ricardo Quaresma, Nani, Danny, Simao, Maniche & the naturalised Deco.
Ok, Ronaldo's return from injury probably explains why Portugal's odds have massively shortened. Over-reaction? I certainly think so. I know this lad did magic at United last season but he did look a little rusty in his last 2 appearance. Meanwhile, Quaresma (whom I rate highly) has been underperforming since his move to Inter; Nani has only been getting 9/10 performances doing sommersaults, if he gets to do them to begin with; Danny (Zenit's big signing who scored vs United in the World Club Cup) is still raw at int'l level. As for Simao, Maniche & Deco - all of whom have been playing well for their Atletico & Chelsea, they will miss this trip through injury. In summary, odds are off the mark!
Portugal's performances have been inconsistent, often struggling against mediocre oppostions. If they did manage to get the desired results, they often fail to cover the handicaps. If memory serves me right, they have managed to cover 4. 5, push 2 & lose 9. 5 in their last 16 qualifiers.
Perhaps Portugal's disappointing last-gasp defeat (2-3) to Denmark explains their urgency to get maximum points in this Sweden game. Again, I'm happy to oppose odds that have little or no reference to the difference in football quality, form, performance & player availability etc.
My price: Sweden (0) $2. 00
Prediction: 1-1 / 2-1
|08/10/2008 09:38, read 4004 times