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Sunderland looked in dire straits as they succumbed to an 8-0 defeat at Southampton on Saturday afternoon and after that morale-sapping loss they could be great value at 3/1 for relegation to the Championship.
The Black Cats had been going through a mixed start to the season with eight points from seven games. This was unspectacular, with five draws, one win and one defeat, but it was steady enough and at least their defence was looking sturdy having conceded just seven times in as many games.
As we are about to embark on the 40th Ryder Cup this week the bookies, along with most commenting on the event, are dismissing the chances of the American team! So what hope do Team USA have at Gleneagles from Friday to Sunday?
Europe may have won the previous two editions of the famous old competition but both have been incredibly close as the final scoreline in 2010 and 2012 was 14 ½ – 13 ½. America triumphed at Valhalla in 2008 so really there has been nothing between the sides over the last six years, certainly not enough to ignore the threat from across the pond.
Throughout Danny Welbeck’s career so far he has been used to being either played out of position or a substitute, sometimes both. However, in an eventful eight day period, he may have just turned that all around for both club and country, potentially eclipsing his former Manchester United colleague Wayne Rooney.
Another long, tough, Championship season gets underway tonight as Blackburn host Cardiff at Ewood Park. Things have changed considerably for the visiting team aside from their club colours since the last time they played their Lancashire counterparts.
10 :- Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s Tim Howard!
When Tim Howard pulled off save after save when the USA played Germany in the Last 16 he became an instant scoial media sensation with the hasgtag #thingstimhowardcansave. In the end the keeper couldn’t stop Germany from their destiny but he’s received the admiration of the planet.
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The knockout stages of the World Cup is where Germany excel. The 3 x World Cup winners and 7 x World Cup finalists know exactly what’s required to manoeuvre through these tricky latter stages of the competition.
As for Algeria, this is virgin territory for the North African nation. They climbed out of Group H to Russia’s expense and now set-up a footballing equivalent of David vs Goliath.
Thomas Muller has one eye on the Golden Boot award, finding the net 4 times in just 3 games and sits just 1 goal behind Columbian James Rodriguez who tops the table on 5 goals. If that wasn’t enough, the Germans can also call upon the services of vetran Miroslav Klose who only requires one more goal to become the top goalscorer in World Cup history.
Algeria’s main threat is Islam Slimani who plies his trade in the tough Portuguese Primeira Liga. Slimani scored in their emphatic 4-2 win over South Korea in the group stages and also was responsible for sending Fabio Capello’s Russia out of the World Cup when he headed home a second half equaliser. Watch out for the link-up play between Slimani and Yacine Brahimi – this pair could cause a few headaches in the German defence.
The Germans have a 100% record over Algeria, winning 2-0 in 1964 and 2-1 in 1982. There is a backstory leading into this match with Germany and Austria freezing out Algeria from qualifying from the group stages in the 1982 World Cup. However, Algeria will require a lot more than a 32-year-old chip on their shoulder to beat Die Mannschaft.
Germany 2 Algeria 1 – best betting odds of 9/1 with William Hill
If Pele’s prediction of an African team winning the World Cup is ever going to come true, then the Super Eagles are going to have to be victorious against a very classy French outfit.
Of-course there is always the fall back of choosing Algeria who face the solid Germans in the 9pm kick-off.
France are understandably odds-on with the bookies to make the Quarter-Final stages. There isn’t really much on offer, with best odds for France to progress at 1/4 from Betfred.
Nigeria are 4/1 with BetVictor to book their place in the Last 8 and for them to achieve that, the most likely outcome is via the penalties route.
The Africans have hardly lived up to their nickname – Super Eagles – so far, there’s been few signs of soaring football that have thrilled audiences in previous World Cups.
France have, in contrast to Nigeria, been a delight to watch. Sure they drew their last Group E game 0-0 against Ecuador but Didier Deschamps team were already qualified and they rested a number of their top players for that goalless effort.
The Africa Cup of Nations champs will not make it easy for Les Bleus, at this level there is never any easy games, however it is the knockout stages and, as we have seen with Costa Rica last night, surprises are inevitable in these latter stages.
Nigeria have notched up five draws in their last eight outings – they do give away possession easily at the back sometimes and one feels that France will exploit this weakness with Benzema, Giroud and co far too strong for the Nigerians to cope with.
France 3 Nigeria 1 – best betting odds of 14/1 with Ladbrokes
It looks like Royal Ascot will have glorious horse racing weather for its opening day, however the betting forecast for The Queen Anne Stakes is for Toronado to sweep all before him.
This Group 1 miler seems perfect for the Richard Hannon-trained Bay Colt. He finished runner-up to Dawn Approach in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Ascot last year. He then carried on that fine form by winning the Goodwood Sussex Stakes but was nowhere in the York Stakes a month later.
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It’s going to be a busy weekend for the staff of Wembley this weekend as tonight England meet Peru in their last friendly on home soil before they head over the pond to Miami and then tomorrow the national stadium will be transformed into a boxing arena for the Carl Froch vs George Groves rematch.