England v Panama
Starting with the menu today we have, of course, what should be a win for England. To think in terms of them not beating Panama is simply not on. If we can’t win this one we shouldn’t be in the competition. The minor worry (if there is one at all) is that Belgium comfortably demonstrated that they are World class and showed us that we should have given Tunisia a good thumping and really should not have struggled. However, there is always psychology at play in big competitions and Belgium had 3 points under their belt before taking on Tunisia and absolute belief that they were going through. For England to be ready to give Belgium a seriously good game (which of course should be irrelevant qualification wise) they need a comfortable win over Panama. I can’t trade this game, I have to just enjoy it and pray for copious amounts of goal action (in the Panama goal area of course).
There are good pointers that explain why I will not trade it. The over 2.5 goals odds favour 3 or more. Any other home win suggests 4 goals for England to be a distinct possibility. We aren’t used to our side delivering a large number of goals but I just get the feeling they might well be up for it. Tunisia punished us with aggressive tackles and got away with murder. Hopefully, Panama will be less punishing on the shins. I actually think we will win 2-0 or maybe even 3-0 (with the constant possibility of a momentary lapse in our defence and a consolation goal for Panama) but I am quietly hoping for half a dozen England goals to set us up a treat for the later stages of the tournament.
Japan v Senegal: Most people were surprised when Senegal beat Poland in their opener. I wasn’t, that’s why I backed Senegal to win the competition before the first ball was kicked. Not because I believe for a moment that they will win the World Cup but simply because I believed (and still do) that they would qualify from their group and this would allow me to lay them as potential winners and make a nice profit whatever the outcome thereafter. They were the best value bet in the market (in terms of odds) to win. I could lay out of them now as the odds have dropped from the 200 I backed them at to 130 already. If they beat Japan today, as they should in my opinion, those odds should drop further.
Japan also beat Colombia, much to everyone’s surprise including me but I don’t think they are as interesting and as good as Senegal. The Africans are really up for this and a win against Japan takes them into the next stage. I believe they will consider this an easier test than the Colombia game. I am looking forward to the Senegal v Colombia game because both sides have flair and the Colombians should not have lost to Japan and they will be well aware of that and I think we will see them respond to that defeat today against Poland (I will get to that one shortly).
The market does not expect many goals and ASP filters are all go for trading except that the AOAW odds are far too high to get into this. Short of an early goal, later entry, trade into this, it is a non-starter for me. I have decided that I will not even look to trade this one at all.
Poland v Colombia could be a very interesting game. These two were expected to both win their openers and they both lost. That sets it up for a real war of contrition. As far as odds/filters go, under 2.5 goals is favoured and Colombia are slightly fancied to win. It looks more like an ASP trading game than the other two but the AOAW odds are still a bit on the high side for my taste. There is a slight (albeit understandable) contradiction in the market. It’s understandable because we have yet to see a 0-0 game but it is a contradiction because the market favourite outcome is a Colombia win but 1-1 is the most favoured scoreline result. The fact is that the market cannot read this game and guess what? neither can I.
A lot about this game says draw possibility to me in a way, so the 1-1 prediction (based on market odds) is of no surprise to me but I wouldn’t want to call it. We could easily be looking at the first 0-0 of the tournament or a 1-1, 2-2 result and, equally, given what both sides need to play for (continuation and reputation) I could just as easily see a high scoring win game. Something we need to take into account is that Poland are massively supported (as a neighbouring country to Russia they would be I guess) and that could impact upon the psychological war that will take place. As I stated, a war of contrition with both expected to have done better and a real need to now do so.
So hence the difficulty in reading it. My gut tells me that Colombia are a better side but Poland have proven many times over the years that they can play trench warfare better than anyone. Again, and most importantly, I have to conclude, no trades for me. This is a very important and key point for traders. YOU MUST have a plan and to have a plan you must have an expectation of how a game should go so that you know how to react to it. With this one, I just don’t know…
I made it quite clear that I thought the Belgium game was way too risky to trade and it proved to be just that. But it was a fun game to watch and this Belgium side not only look good but also look like potential competition winners. I am pleased that we only get to face them after we should have already qualified.
In the other two games I did dip my toe in the water and I have to confess I was a little lucky with the German game. Well, to be fair, I made a decision at the 1-1 stage that it was all or nothing so the luck aspect was that the goal did eventually come (very late) but to defend my cavalier attitude, I could only have lost £11 and change if it had not come and I was well in profit overall. The greater risk, financially was really with the mexico game but I didn’t feel exposed at all at any point in that game. Enough chit chat, here is the detail.
South Korea v Mexico
I layed AOAW for £6 at odds of 12.5 (the biggest risk of the game) and I then layed 0-0 for £2 at odds of 11 intending to maybe put a little more in if the odds came down to under 6 (they didn’t though). Mexico scored from a penalty at around 26 minutes and then I layed 0-1 for £5 at odds of 6. Shortly after the second half kicked of I backed AOHW for £4 at odds of 17. At the same time I topped up my 0-1 lay by another £4 at odds of 3.8. The game stayed at 0-1 until around 65 minutes in and then the Mexicans scored again. That gave me a nice little £12.35 profit.
Germany v Sweden
I guess like every one on the planet I expected Germany to come out with guns blazing and, even knowing that, I just felt that laying AOHW was a worthwhile risk given how tenacious Sweden can be in defence. My thoughts were simply that Germany would pound the Swedish goal, eventually break through and maybe get 2 or possibly 3. My first lay then, was for £7 on AOHW at odds of 6.8. I was quite pleasantly surprised when Sweden, not German, put the first goal in at around 32 minutes.
That called for another lay and I did 0-1 for £5 at odds of 9. I didn’t have to wait very long for Germany to equalise and then, of course, I layed 1-1 for £5 at odds of 5.7. At this stage I was exposed to a possible loss of £11.80 on 1-1 and, of course, a more substantive £30 potential loss on a 4 goal or more German win. I have to say that the idea at this stage of the game (7 minutes or so into the second half) ending with 4 goals to Germany seemed very remote. Sweden were playing to keep the Germans out with no real thought to score again. Had the game stayed at 1-1 (which looked increasingly likely as it went on) then Germany would have been in real trouble. In fact, almost certainly out of the contest.
But, of course, we are talking about Germany. With just under 2 minutes to go in added time (when I had already accepted my £11.80 loss) Germany popped in a very tasty goal from a foolishly conceded free kick and the game ended 2-1. As a result I took an unexpected £16.15 profit. The risk panned out and that ended another rewarding day at the World Cup finals.