Friday, June 27, 2014

World Cup - 2nd Round

I believe most fans would say this has been a hugely successful tournament so far. With the exception of the “Suarez incident” and an overly reliance on theatrics by certain players, I've been very impressed.

Now we get down to the knock out stages.

I expect France, Germany and Argentina to progress. Brazil v Chile is a tricky game but with Neymar in top form, I expect them to get past Chile. Having said that, Chile will be much more formidable than Cameroon.

My tips involve the other 4 games.

Colombia v Uruguay

With Suarez now banned, I think the Uruguayans will find it tough against Colombia. I could see this game going beyond the 90 minutes. The draw is priced at 3.35 with a Colombian victory at 1.98. I’m tipping Colombia over 90 minutes.

Holland v Mexico

Both teams have done very well in their respective groups. Holland have been very impressive, and the  Mexicans have  surprised quite a few fans. History, form and an excellent price of a Dutch victory at 2.08, is enough for me to tip Holland to win over 90 minutes.

Costa Rica v Greece

To say Costa Rica have surprised many would be  an understatement. They have reached the second round the hard way and luck was not involved at all. The Greeks have done well to reach this far. They are solid defensively but lack goals. I’m tipping Costa Rica over 90 minutes at 2.44.

Belgium v USA

I can’t see anything but a Belgian victory in this game. The U.S.A. can counter attack and are dangerous. I do feel the Belgians will be to strong for them and I am tipping a Belgian victory over 90 minutes. IEB offer an excellent1.84 with the draw at 3.40

Best of luck
Michael Flannagan

Monday, June 23, 2014

This week's world cup tips

Last week’s tips were quite successful. Going into the last round of group matches can be a little trickier. If teams have already qualified do they put out full teams? Do you they put in 100% effort? I’ll stick to games that teams have something to fight for.

Croatia v Mexico

This looks a very tough one to call. Mexico have played well and were unlucky against Brazil. I believe Croatia to be the better all round team and with this in mind I am going with them.

Croatia are priced at a generous 2.65 (as are Mexico) and I expect them to shade it……just.

Costa Rica v England

Costa Rica have qualified but I’m sure they want to ensure they finish top of the group. However, I do believe England will want to win this game. Hodgson will hopefully start with Barkley. I have mentioned before that I believed he should of started both previous games. The pressure will be off England now. I fully expect them to win this game.

England are priced at 1.84 to win the game, and I expect a few goals too.

USA v Germany

This game “could” be a tad controversial. The USA need a draw to ensure they progress to the second round. Germany would be happy with the same result with the minimum of effort. I wouldn’t suggest that both teams would come to an understanding as such.

The USA team have a strong German influence….. Coach Jurgen Klinsmann and several players also. Interestingly German coach Joachim Low worked under Klinsmann in 2006. It’s a tough call. Im going to stick my head out and predict a not surprisingly drawn game.

The draw is priced at Irisheyesbet at 2.50.

Uruguay v Italy

This is a game the Uruguyans have to win. Unfortunately for them they are up against Italy. I do not believe this Italian team to be very good but they do always seem to do just enough at the right time. Whilst Balotelli can be so frustrating, he can deliver the goods at times too. If he can stay disciplined (and it’s a big if) I can see Italy getting the right result.  Italy are priced at 2.65 with the draw at 3.15. Ill go for an Italian win with the Italians catching the Uruguyans on the break.

Michael Flannagan

Friday, June 20, 2014

World Cup Tips

This weekend I am not going for the usual home , draw or away result.

In my tips I am including the amount of goals. For those not used to this form of betting I will explain.

Switzerland v France

 I have gone for over 2.5 goals in the match. Quite simply this means there must be 3 goals or more in the match. It does not matter who scores the goals. The price at Irish Eyes Bet is currently 2.06.

I fully expect Karim Benzema to add to his total in this game.

Argentina v Iran

When you look at Argentina’s line up nothing but a comfortable victory can be predicted.

 I’m pushing the boat out on this as  I am tipping over 4.5 goals. Again, this means 5 goals or more must be scored. A 4-1 victory will win the bet. A generous price of  4.30 is currently quoted at Irish Eyes Bet.

I have also gone for 2 regular tips.

Honduras v Ecuador

Both teams put in creditable performances in their opening game. I felt Ecuador were unlucky to lose to the Swiss. Ecuador are priced at 1.66 to win and if they put in a strong performance I expect them to come out on top.

Belgium v Russia

Russia didn’t look that good against the Koreans. They are physically strong but lack that flair for me. The Belgians have flair in abundance and I can only see them getting stronger. I’m not sure if their nerves got to them against Algeria. However, after gifting the Algerians a goal they did enough in the second half and indeed they could of won by one or two more. Belgium will not find it easy against Russia but they should prevail.

The one game I am looking forward to seeing is that of Holland v Chile. It’s a tough one to call ……..I believe both teams would settle for a draw.

This group has been the most entertaining one for me. Australia’s courage and indeed skill has earned many admirers. As for Spain, the less said the better.

Michael Flannagan

Monday, June 16, 2014

World Cup Tips for this coming week.

Belgium v Algeria

Belgium are clear favourites in this game. There is good news for the Belgians as Romelu Lukaku is likely to start after an injury scare.

Adnan Januzaj could be a potential big star emerging from the World Cup. This Belgian team has an excellent squad and it would not surprise me if they went far.

I can’t see Algeria causing an upset in this game. It’s likely that the Algerians will finish bottom of Group H.

I predict a comfortable victory for Belgium who are quoted at 1.45

Spain v Chile

Chile could be on the end of a Spanish backlash after the humiliation of a 5-1 loss to the Dutch. Vicente Del Bosque biggest problem is who will he play up? Torres hardly inspires confidence and the jury is still out on Diego Costa.

Chile coach Jorge Sampaoli will be delighted with three points on the board. Chiles got off to a flying start against the Australians. I believe the Spanish will be too tough for the Chileans. Cardiff City defender Gary Medel lacks height and pace at the back but Sampaoli might give Medel a defensive midfield role against the Spanish.

I’m going for a Spanish victory. Spain are 1.62 with the Chileans at 5.20

Uruguay v England

Uruguay suffered a shock 3-1 defeat to Costa Rica. The Costa Ricans fully deserved the victory and Uruguay were very poor. Even if Suarez is fit I wouldn’t be too confident of their chances against England.

I was impressed with England’s display against Italy. Sterling had a very good game and Sturridge is looking a quality striker. I’m not Gerrard’s biggest fan, you can’t progress on past history. The player I am a massive fan of is Ross Barkley, I would play him from the start in every game. Barkley has a massive future.

It’s certainly an English victory for me.

England are currently priced at 2.16 with Uruguay at 3.40 on Irish Eyes Bet

Saturday, June 14, 2014

World Cup Day 2

I can truly say the World Cup has finally arrived. After a mediocre opening two games, this tournament has come alive. There is little to say that hasn't been said already regarding the opening game.

The European and World Champions Spain had a tricky opening game.After Alonso put the Spanish 1-0 up through a penalty  most fans (and I was one of them) thought Spain would play their usual possession style and see out the game. Up stepped Robin Van Persie with a goal of great skill and vision. It’s not often that I say that about a header. In the second half the game turned into a disaster on so many levels for Spain. 
Casillas had a nightmare, Diego Costa contributed an attempted headbutt and Pique and Ramos had a game that they will both want to forget.
The Dutch were a revelation. In the first half, Holland ruffled the Spanish. Some tough challenges and the odd elbow knocked Spain out of their usual composed style of play. What followed in the second half was a major shock. Robben teased and tormented the champions defense. It is no exaggeration that Holland could have added to their five goals.
What was so remarkable was that Van Persie's header was the pick of the games six goals. It was a header of such vision. It will be tough for the Spanish to qualify now but I do believe they will go through.
England v Italy
This is a  game that's a tough one to call.Will Hodgson play the youngsters? I do believe Sterling and Barkley should start.
England for the first time have arrived for a World Cup without the hype from the English media. They could surprise a few people.
To win the game, England and Italy are both 2.80 to win the game, with the draw at 2.95.  I can't quite make up mind on going for an England win by 2-1 at 11.00 or a draw with a scoreline of 2-2 at 20.00.
Uruguay v Costa Rica
The big talking point of this game is will Suarez start? If he doesn't, then  Uruguay should still have too much for the Costa Ricans. Backing a Uruguayan  win at1.45 with perhaps a scoreline of 3-1 at 15.00
Colombia v Greece

I can't see anything other than a Colombian victory. Colombia are quoted at 1.88 and I will go with a 3-0 correct scoreline. This is quoted at an excellent price of 40.00
Michael Flannagan

Friday, June 13, 2014

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My Favourite Memories of The World Cup

The World Cup is upon us again. Why do we love it so much? As the games begin my mind drifts back to games past and some beauties come to mind. Here are some of my favorite memories of World Cups past.

Italia 90

Ireland's first appearance in the World Cup. We were supposed to be there for the ride, under Jack Charlton that was never going to happen.

Romania were the favourites. Gheorghe Hagi was a truly brilliant player, he played for Real Madrid and Barcelona and several other top clubs. The task was a daunting one. I have three stand out memories of this game. Packie Bonner's save in the penalty shoot out, David O'Leary's penalty that put us through to the Q-F's and my father's tears after O'Leary's penalty. I had only seen tears in my father's eyes twice. The second occasion was on the death of my grandmother.

Mexico 1970.

The Brazilian team of 1970 was something else. Pele, Gerson, Tostao, Jairzinho, Carlos Alberto etc. This team were a sight to behold. Magnificent games between England and West Germany in the quarter final and Italy v West Germany in the semi - final was an absolute classic, probably my favourite World Cup game of all time.

USA 1994

Yes, I know you are all expecting me to mention Ireland v Italy. My stand out memory of this World Cup (with the exception of the Italian match) is from a selfish point of view. Bulgaria were playing Greece and I was looking for a value for money punt. I took Bulgaria to win 4-0 at what I thought was an incredible price of 50-1. I knew the Greeks were relatively poor. I also knew the Bulgarians were more than a handy team. They had won in Paris 2-1 to beat the French and qualify. When Borimirov knocked in a parried save well into injury time I nearly hit the roof. Good old Borimirov will always have a place in my heart.
With all of the above, I have looked at the various games for a first round. I do not believe I am going to get another 50/1 chance. What really stands out for me is for Argentina to beat Bosnia & Herzegovina 3-0 at 10/1. At the moment they are excellent value in the betting on IrishEyesBet. That's certainly my pick. 

West Germany 1974

Holland's brand of football was fantastic. Holland truly deserved to lift the World Cup in 74. There is nothing more to be said.

I could give many more examples. All fans have their favourites, for many reasons. I hope Brazil2014 will be remembered for the best of reasons. Not the Social unrest, Sepp Bletter's 175th year as president of FIFA or dodgy decisions on the pitch!

Michael Flanagan