- Football - International - FIFA - World Cup 2014
Even if you don't follow card counts as religiously as I do, you can sense the card count in recent World Cups have fallen quite sharply.
WC2006 - Avg 5. 39 Yellow 0. 44 Red
WC2010 - Avg 3. 77 Yellow 0. 27 Red
WC2014 - Avg 2. 83 Yellow 0. 22 Red
With the amount of heat on FIFA (venue, protests, bribes, goal-line and match-fixing), the last criticism they need is another case of Michael Ballack in 2002.
The bookies have reacted, pricing 3. 25 lines generally.
With a flat 4 line for Honduras v Ecuador, the under looks the way to go. However, I'm going to buck the trend and back the over 4 cards.
The way I see it, it's essentially 2 Latin Americans battling it out and more often than not, they tend to get a little feisty. Let's look at some key numbers:
Their last meeting in Nov 2013 produced 2 yellows and 2 reds, albeit only an International Friendly. Wilson Palacios was sent off then, as he did vs France in the opener. It's a shame he is suspended tonight. Nevertheless, Honduras are still equipped with volatile characters/poor defenders like Bernardez, Garrido and Figueroa. Even striker Costly is a serial offender.
Card counts are typically high for CONMEBOL sides. Ecuador are second (to Chile) in the discipline table with 43 points (1 yellow 3 red) or 2. 68 points per qualifier. Interestingly, their culprits are mainly attackers and midfielders and none more notorious than Antonio Valencia. He's probably confused with his positions playing for club and national team, hence often getting caught out;
If any individual has a reputation for cards, it is referee Ben Williams. This Australian dishes out cards like coupons. At international games, his numbers are 4. 16 yellows and 0. 35 reds and 4. 43 yellows and 0. 29 at A-league level. This ex-PE teacher can't control matches with his whistle, often using cards his weapon of choice.
The only concern I have is debutant Williams may be too keen to impress FIFA and adhere to instructions to clamp down unnecessary cards. Unfortunately, that's beyond my control. I just rely on his numbers and perhaps, his lack of experience with teams in the Americas.
Lastly there is generally a nothing more to lose attitude for sides with defeats in their opener. We saw the fiery encounters between Japan v Greece (no surprise) and Cameroon v Croatia, which was unlucky not to go over 3. 5. Both matches were the last of the day (similar to Honduras v Ecuador here), possibly suggesting cooler conditions bring out a faster tempo i. e. less positioning, more tackles.
Over 4 cards is worth a try.
|20/06/2014 16:25, read 1587 times