Jun 8, 2013

Peru - Ecuador

World Cup 2014 Qualifiers, CONMEBOL

This will pretty much be a decisive match for Peru, as they are playing their last chance of qualifying to the World Cup. With a win here, they will amount a total of 14 points, that could leave them just 1 point behind the play-off spot (provided either Chile or Venezuela don't win today). Besides, Peru has one game in hand, so they can get knee-deep in the qualification fight. Peru are a very organized team under coach Markarian, and can be quite a tough nut to crack, as they've only lost once in their last 10 games, 0-1 at Paraguay. 3-1-1 is their record in Lima in these qualifiers, a run which includes a win against Chile and a draw with Argentina. Once again, the focus of attention will be on the 'Fantastic 4', as Farfan, Pizzaro, Guerrero and Vargas are expected to start and to command Peru's offensive. Ecuador is sitting quite comfortably on 2nd place, 5 points ahead of the last qualifying place, and also with a game in hand. So it's really quite hard to see them failing to qualify after such an incredible campaign. However, almost all of their points came at home, as they have a 0-2-2 record away from home. Tonight they will also have to cope with the absence of in-form striker Felipe Caicedo, which could prove a big blow to them. All in all, Peru is the team that has a lot at stake here, they have some classy players in offense, and they could take advantage of Ecuador's struggle's outside their country. GL!

Peru (-0.25 AH) @ 2.03, 4/10
Result: 1-0, WON

Jun 5, 2013

Jamaica - Mexico

World Cup 2014, CONCACAF Qualifiers

Mexico went off to a very rough start in these qualifications, something that is very rare to see, as they are without a doubt the best team in their geographical area. But right now they are in a bit of a jam, as they only have 3 points from their first 3 matches, drawing with all their opponents so far (USA, Jamaica and Honduras). So there's no space for more mistakes, as they could find themselves well behind the rest of the challengers, and even though the 4th place leads to a play-off, I'm sure they'll want a direct qualification. Full squad is expected for them, with the best available players, as coach de la Torre won't be taking any chances. Ochoa, Rodriguez, Moreno, Torrado, Guardado and Chicharito Hernandez are some of the high-profile players that have been called-up, and will most likely start from the first minute. Against them, we'll have Jamaica, a team without any big players, results or tradition. They got to this stage from a group with USA, Guatemala and Antigua & Barbuda... easy group to qualify from, but their best feat was being able to defeat USA at home. However, now it should be a different story, as Mexico needs the points, and they have the quality to take all of them. The odds are very good, considering how normally we wouldn't get anything above 1.50, so this bet is definitely worth a go. GL!

Mexico (-0.5 AH) @ 1.94, 5/10
Result: 0-1, WON

Jun 4, 2013

Romania - Trinidad & Tobago

International Friendly Match

Interesting match in Bucharest, as we see two different and unusual teams in this friendly set-up. Romania lost it's glory days for quite a while, and are now usually struggling even against more modest opposition. However, I just can't see beyond an easy win for them in this game, as Trinidad & Tobago are just not on the same level. For the hosts, we'll see a few new players, as coach Piturca is keen on testing out new players ahead of the official matches. But the new ones have had a fairly good season in their league, and besides them, we'll also see some of the veterans (Rat, Goian, Torje, Marica and Stancu). No word yet on the starting line-up, but we'll probably see a mixed squad of veterans and inexperienced players, and there should be a lot of changes throughout the game. But in all honesty, whatever players will walk on the pitch, it should be more than enough to see off T&T. The Carribean team is also traveling without some of their most capped players, and only 7 of their squad are performing in Europe (most of them are playing in Finland or in the English lower divisions), while the core of the team plays in the local league. And if we look at their matches from the last 6 months, I just can't see how a team that loses to Antigua & Barbuda and draws with Martinique, can stand in front of a much better team. GL!

Romania (-1.5 AH) @ 1.96, 4/10
Result: 4-0, WON