Ageism: 25 Mundial years added
Pallor: Grey, like the sky over Frankfurt this morning
Forecast: Upset special
The last two days were the toughest turnaround yet: an early-morning train yesterday to Munich, a game, then back and home this morning, an hour late into Frankfurt station at 3:30 a.m. Sitting on the patio having a glass of wine half an hour later, listening to the birds – they don’t sleep around here – at a World Cup, there are very few moments of peaceful repose like that. Perfect time for hatching a plan.
|On the patio with a drink - time to hatch a plan.|
On the prowl for upsets, there are a couple of juicy numbers on the board today. First, seven euros on the crazy, dissension-ridden camp from Togo to pull it together and win over Switzerland at just under 8-to-1, and a 3-euro backup on the draw at 3-to-1. Next, the same approach: Hard-working Saudis to beat a very ordinary Ukraine team (at least in their opener), also just under 8-to-1, also 7 euros; a 3-euro saver on the draw at 3.35-1. So far, the ledger is at +5 euros, after a winning play on Korea last week, with a 10-euro ticket on the Netherlands to win it all.
I’m on my way to Cologne this afternoon, to check in on England training for tomorrow, when there may well be another betting opportunity on the Swedes.
Monday’s games (will be updated)
Switzerland 2, Togo 0. So I blow my dough, although the Togolese might have stole a point if they could have finished (or perhaps that just my spent euros talking). Every time the cameras showed Togo coach Otto Pfister, he was raging at someone. These guys much just HATE him.
Ukraine 4, Saudi Arabia 0. A mismatch on the field. A bad call at the betting windows. And Ukraine are right back into the mix of the final group.
Spain 3, Tunisia 1. Down 0-1 at the half, Raul comes on -- and scores. Open season from there. They look good, put 'em down beside Argentina, Brazil, even the Dutch as your top contenders, and they'll play either of South Korea, Switzerland or France next -- and off the early numbers, they'll smoke any of them.
Ecuador v Germany. Ecuador has been a real surprise here, already through to the knockouts and their goal differential better than Germany’s, so the hosts need to win to finish top of group – and off the evidence, their brightness and home support gives them the edge here. Germany 2, Ecuador 1.
Costa Rica v Poland. Means nothing, both teams heading home after this one. A hunch that the Ticos’ attack-first approach might give them an edge against a Poland team that seem to be quite down. Costa Rica 2, Poland 1.
Paraguay v Trinidad & Tobago. T & T have worked hard, and may be a play at the shop. Neither team have scored yet – in the entire group, only four goals have been scored and three of them have been England’s. Paraguay 1, Trinidad & Tobago 1.
England v Sweden. England going in at half-speed without Gerrard and Crouch, and Lampard’s on a tight leash. Sweden have been pretty ordinary so far. But they have a technical edge here and haven’t lost to the English since 1968. Sweden 2, England 1.