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Dont fry for me, Argentina - 06 June 2006 at 19:48
There is only one activity in life that can be considered preferable to watching a World Cup match with an ice cold lager, and thats when you look in to the eyes of your loved one, and whisper those three little words, I was on, as you gently caress a winning betting slip while watching a World Cup match with an ice cold lager.  The following guide will transform that utopian dream into a reality.     
Argentina are available at 9/1 to hold aloft the trophy and here are five reasons why you must get on.  Riquelmes a genius, Crespo oozes class, Ayala is a colossus, Heinze adds real variety and Tevez makes Ronaldo look like Crouch.  They also have the new Maradona in their team; with Messi, they could literally clean up.  As so many of their players are plying their trade in Spain and Italy, the stat that suggests that South American teams struggle in Europe is now as redundant as a Scottish football correspondent.
England also have a genuine shot at the prize.  Sven has finally began to justify his huge package by bravely selecting Lennon and Walcott, while Joe Cole, Stevie Gerrard and Frank Lampard can all be filed under the a bit tasty category.  The only real drawback is the Rooney factor; with Wayne missing the start of the tournament, Peter Crouch has gone from an acceptable plan B (The B is short for Baldrick) to a potential starter.  The lack of a 5th striker prevents me from putting my own hardearned on Svens men, but I wouldnt talk anyone out of a little saver at 15/2.
Of the outsiders, South Korea could be worth a small interest.  The Koreans have an admirable policy of bringing their youth players through to the first team; they have A. JungHwan up front.  At 250/1, youll get a small run for your money. 
Germany head the list of teams to be avoided.  Franz Beckenbauer once said of the national team, If you put all the German players in a sack and hit it, you would get someone who deserved it.  Theyve gone backwards since then.  Steer clear at a miserly 7/1.
The Brazilians should also be given a wide berth.  The three Rs were hot 4 years ago, but Ronaldos now round, Roberto Carlos is now a relic and judging by the Champions League final, Ronaldinho is ridiculously overrated.  The much hyped pair of Adriano and Robinho have both had seasons to forget and Kaka sounds like he should be playing for Spurs.  At a general 9/4, theres little to no value.
In the Golden Boot market, Carlos Tevez looks overpriced at 40/1.  The Chelsea target practically won Olympic gold for Argentina singlehandedly two years ago, finding the net eight times in six matches.  Id be fond of placing a saver on Van Nistelrooy, and the great Henry; fonder.
Group betting is a must avoid in a two go through scenario, as short priced favourites are often content with the runnersup spot, as a cushier draw can often be a result.  The only punt even worth considering in this market is a perm of the 2nd favourites, if you reside in Liverpool , youll be familiar with the perm already.
The pick of the antepost specials has to be the market for the top Italian goalscorer.  Totti is available at 6/1 to top score for the Azurri and thats worth a small nibble.  Luca Toni has scored goals for fun in Serie A this season, Toni looks good, but I prefer Totti.
World cup specials:  One for all, and well, thats it.
Angola      Water player Akwa to be Angola s top scorer 7/2   (Stan James)     
Argentina  You're the Juan Riquelme to be Argentina s top scorer   8/1   (Betfred)
Australia  Stretch Mark Viduka to score with a header against Brazil     10/1  (Super Soccer)
Brazil      The Two Ronnies   Ronaldo and Ronaldinho both to score against Croatia     4/1      (Super Soccer)   
Costa Rica Slam Chop Paolo Wanchope to be Costa Rica s top scorer  10/3  (Premier Bet)
Croatia     Who loves you baby? Nico Kovac to score against Brazil  10/1  (Super Soccer)
Czech Rep   Ned flounders Pavel Nedved not to score in the group stage    6/5   (Super Soccer)    
Ecuador     Shown the Dor Ecuador to finish bottom of their group   7/4   (Sporting Odds)     
England     Beers to you, Mr Robinson England to keep a clean sheet in all three group games 9/2   (Super Soccer)   
France      Terry, towel in Henry not to score in the group stage   4/1   (Super Soccer)
Germany     Ballack King Michael Ballack to be Germany s top scorer 4/1   (Betfred)
Ghana       Never Ghana give you up Ghana to qualify from their group     7/2   (Premier Bet)
Holland     Off to a flyer Kuyt to score Holland s first goal 6/1   (Stan James)     
Iran        Daei hard Ali Daei to be sent off in the tournament     20/1  (Super Soccer)
Italy             Aless in Wonderland Del Piero to be Italy s top scorer  10/1  (Stan James)
Ivory Coast       How Didi do that? Drogba to score against Argentina     5/2   (Stan James)     
Japan             Big in Japan A Japanese player to score with a header against Brazil      4/1   (Super Soccer)
Mexico      Taco look at this Mexico to top their group 6/4   (Bet Direct)
Paraguay    Para shoot Paraguay to score against England      10/11 (Super Soccer)
Poland      Pole axe Poland not to qualify from their group   6/4   (Bet 365)
Portugal    Paul the trigger Pauleta to win the golden boot 33/1    (Totesport)
Saudi Arabia      A sheikh up Saudi Arabia to qualify from their group    7/1   (Bet 365)     
Serbia & Mont.    Off Yugo Savo Milosevic to be sent off in the tournament      12/1      (Super Soccer)
South Korea A Korea opportunity South Korea to qualify from their group   13/8  (Bet 365)       
Spain       Up the Villa David Villa to score with a header against Ukraine     6/1      (Super Soccer)   
Sweden      Abba cuss Sweden not to qualify from their group  2/1   (Premier Bet)
Switzerland I believe I can Frei Alexander Frei to be the Swiss top scorer      13/8      (Bet Direct)
Togo        Adebayor, but he's pulled out Adebayor not to score in the tournament     4/6      (Super Soccer)
Trinidad and T.   It's up to you Dwight Yorke to score against England    9/2   (Super Soccer)
Tunisia     I'll name that Tune in 4 Tunisia to finish bottom of their group 3/1      (Premier Bet)
Ukraine     Little Shev Shevchenko to score with a header against Spain   6/1   (Super Soccer)
USA         A blushing Bride Brian McBride to be the top USA scorer 5/2   (Ladbrokes)

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