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League football returns over the weekend. 4 more warm up World Cup matches this evening.

20:00 - England v Costa Rica - 1.36 England

  • An OK performance against Nigeria saw England win the first half 2-0 and lose the 2nd half 1-0.
  • 0-0-0-0-0-1-1 conceded by England of late. Concessions v Italy and Nigeria.
  • 0-0-0-1-1 conceded by England in recent friendlies.
  • Against the home nations, Costa Rica are 2 from 2. 1-0 v Scotland and 3-0 v Northern Ireland.
  • Losses v Panama, Spain, Hungary and Tunisia suggests England should cope.
  • No draw in 13 matches for Costa Rica in friendlies so a possible angle there.
  • 3 losses to nil in their last 4 aways, another possible angle.
  • So, lay any 0-0 late on (that is a draw after all). Possible England win to nil 1-0, 2-0? If Costa Rica score first, they are clearly gettable.

20:10 - South Korea v Bolivia - 1.35 South Korea

  • Recent friendly losses for Korea v Northern Ireland, Poland and Bosnia saw them score and concede in those matches.
  • Recent South American friendlies? 2-1 win v Colombia, 2-0 win v Honduras.
  • Bolivia are superb at home with that altitude advantage and can beat all comers at home. 3 losses in their last 4 matches came away v Uruguay, Curacao, and USA.
  • 1-1-0-2-1-0-0 goals scored recently by the Bolivians.
  • Only 2 away wins for Bolivia in all competitions since September 2008.
  • We must be with the South Koreans on that latter stat!

20:15 - Portugal v Algeria - 1.4 Portugal

  • The general rule with Portugal is that if Ronaldo does not play, they are more likely not to win.
  • Only 1 win in 5 now for Portugal was v Egypt.
  • 2 consecutive draws.
  • 1-1 v USA, 2-1 v Egypt, 0-3 v Netherlands and 2-2 v Tunisia in recent home friendly. We see a general over 2.5 goals pattern if you want that angle.
  • Another North African nation today in Algeria. No coincidence as Portugal meet Morocco in the group stages of the World Cup.
  • So far v North Africans, 2-1 win and 2-2 draw so expectation for 2 goals at least from the Portugeuse today?
  • With Algeria posting a 2-1 loss to Iran, 2-0 loss to Saudi Arabia, 2-3 loss to Cape Verde Islands, we should expect Portugal to trump that 2 goal expectation and look to fill their boots, particularly if Ronaldo plays.
  • 3-0, 3-1, any other home score appeals to me today. If the Saudis can score 2 goals v Algeria, Portugal should be able to better that.

21:00 - Iceland v Ghana - 2.25 Iceland

  • Argentina, Nigeria and Croatia are Iceland's opponents so a trial with a decent Ghanaian outfit tonight.
  • Ghana did not make the Finals.
  • Iceland have tried out South American opponents (as they meet Argentina) and lost 3-0 to Mexico and 1-3 to Peru so no confidence booster there at all.
  • 2-3 loss v Norway saw a derby of sorts last friendly.
  • Despite not actually losing a World Cup qualifier, it seems 3 draws did for Ghana.
  • Unbeaten in 5 now, they beat Japan 0-2 in the most recent friendly, a good result if both teams played to full strength.
  • I think Iceland may struggle today and concede 2 goals yet again in another mis-hap of a World Cup warm up friendly. That would be my angle. Lay Iceland if they score first. Their 3 friendly losses do not augur well.