If there was one group in the World Cup that inspires nothing but boredom, Group B could just be that group. A once super footballing nation who now seem to be struggling, former European Champions who really aren’t that great, a former African super power who are now a shadow of their former self and South Korea, who don’t conjure up great memories of football prowess.
As a betting medium, it might come down to simply betting on the matches, because although Argentina aren’t the force they once were, they should be far too strong for the shocking teams in this group.
Argentina: Now managed by Maradona, Argentina almost didn’t qualify, finishing in the last automatic qualification place in South America, racking up some worrying defeats along the way, including a 6-1 defeat to Bolivia. However, they have some of the world’s greatest players in their squad, including the simply amazing Lionel Messi. Messi has the ability to win matches single-handedly and Argentina might need him to carry them through the more difficult matches. However, they shouldn’t have a problem getting out of the group and through to the knockout stages, which is where they might need Messi to tear teams apart.
Greece: Former European Champions and arguably one of the weakest teams to qualify from Europe. They did manage to beat an average Ukraine side in the play-offs to reach the World Cup, but their team lacks any star players, anyone that could be classed as a break-out player and their qualification record wasn’t actually that great. They’ll struggle, but because two of the other teams in the group are relatively weak, qualifying for the second round might not be out of the question.
Nigeria: They were once the Super Eagles, now they’re nowhere near the upper echelons of African football, as they once were. They were undefeated in qualifying, but with the likes of Sierra Leone and Mozambique in their group, it’s not quite the same as playing Argentina. John Mikel Obi is perhaps their star man, but they don’t have any of the real flair players that they were once noted for. They’re still a strong, dominating team, but they’re not the same. They’ve been overtaken by the likes of Ivory Coast and Ghana and I can see Nigeria falling further behind them as a result of this tournament.
South Korea: Again, a team that isn’t anywhere near as good as they once were. They finished top of their qualifying group and there were a couple of decent teams in there, though. Their build up to the tournament wasn’t great and they don’t have any huge players, other than Park Ji Sung. However, their teams seems a bit more exciting than Nigeria or Greece. They might not look great on paper, but this is a fantastic chance for them to get to the second round, as the Nigerians and the Greeks are on roughly the same level as them.
For betting, it’s not a great group. However, I like the South Koreans to pull off a bit of a shock and finish second to Argentina. So, a speculative punt is in order here. Stan James go best price 11/2 on the forecast and I think that’s a fair bet. Americans can bet at Bovada, where the 5/1 is still a good price.
Argentina/South Korea forecast for Group B.
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