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World Cup Group F Betting Preview

Italy Favored

It's that time again. Yes, four years have passed and the FIFA World Cup is here. 32 nations will throw down in an attempt to take home the top honors in the host nation of South Africa. Wagering on soccer is very exciting. Games often go down to the wire. With so many games and possibilities the opportunities are abound and endless. The World Cup will begin with Group Play and then continue on to the final 16 nations.

The 2006 World Cup was won by Italy. Over 700 million people watched them win the game. Soccer/Football is wildly popular all over the world. They will compete in Group F against Paraguay, New Zealand, and Slovakia in an attempt to advance to the next stage of play against either the winner or runner up of Group E. Let's take a look at defending champion Italy and their competition in Group F.


Italy - This country ranks second in FIFA World Cup wins at four behind only Brazil. They tied with Ireland in their first World Cup qualifier and then defeated Cyprus by a score of 3-2. Striker Alberto Gilardino was a scoring machine during the qualifying rounds. He had 4 goals on 9 shots and 1 assist in 6 games. He had a hat trick in the win over Cyprus. Gilardino has high expectations and even though the Italians won it all in 2006 he expects nothing less this time around. Midfielder Ivan Gennaro Gattuso brings a high level of energy to the team. He is getting up in age and will leave it all on the field. Italy looks very well equipped to win Group F.

Paraguay - This team earned a silver medal at the Athens Olympics, but they haven't performed at their best in the FIFA World Cup. They did not escape Round 1 in 2006. Paraguay has an excellent goal keeper in Justo Villar. He owns the most caps on the team at 71. Strike Oscar Cardozo appears to be coming into his own at the age of 27. He is a big time scoring threat. Advancing past group play is a real possibility for this team. They are a good win wager and are being offered at odds of 7/2 in many shops..

New Zealand - The "All Whites" squad has a quiet confidence that they can advance beyond group play. Ivan Vicelich owns the most caps at 69. The midfielder is a seasoned vet and will provide leadership for the younger players. Captain Ryan Nelsen plays center back. This team is something of a wild card. It's tough to tell how they will fare. Many of their players lack big time experience and they may be conceding a conditioning edge to their opponents. Many of their players come from the Austrailia A League which ended in March.

Slovakia - The tiny country of just over 5 million people has a strong captain in the 22-year-old Marek Hamsik. The midfielder may be young be he has a world of talent. Slovakia defeated Northern Ireland and the Czech Republic to qualify for group play. They beat the US in a friendly match near the end of 2009. Miroslav Karhan has 97 caps for Slovakia. Former player Vladimer Weiss is the head coach for Slovakia. Taking down Italy will be quite the task for this young team.
 

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