Friendly fixtures to boost morale of qualifiers
Friendlies are not every football punter’s cup of tea but there does seem to be a number of pre-2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil games that appear gimmes for the favourites.
England has arranged to play Peru at Wembley Stadium and it is a smart move on the part of Roy Hodgson and company. It is important that England departs for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil with its confidence high and the Three Lions should boost their morale by beating Peru in London.
Peru has not won any of its last six matches and, when one examines its away record, it is difficult to see anything other than an England victory at Wembley Stadium. Peru lost seven and drew one of its eight road games in its failed attempt to qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil. One is not convinced that England will make much positive noise in the tournament that kicks off next month but one expects the Three Lions to beat Peru in London. England is trading at odds of 1.33 with several bookmakers, including Betfred and Ladbrokes, and those odds are very fair.
Spain will head to the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil as the defending champion but, before that, Vicente Del Bosque’s side has a home match versus Bolivia in Seville. Spain has not lost on Spanish soil in the last four years, recording 11 wins, two draws and no losses in that time. Bolivia has a terrible away record, struggling to avoid defeat whenever it has an assignment that is not at altitude. Bolivia lost six and drew two of its 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil qualifying road games in the CONMEBOL section. One will acknowledge that Bolivia did draw 1-1 in Argentina but, judging by the rest of its away results, that was a fluke outcome. Spain is available at odds of 1.16 with William Hill to beat Bolivia in Seville, which is a famous Spanish football fortress.
Like Spain, Switzerland is one of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil seeds, a decision that shocked those football fans who do not pay attention to FIFA’s rankings. Switzerland will line up against Ecuador, France and Honduras in one of the weakest 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil groups but, before then, it will host Jamaica in Lucerne. Switzerland defeated Brazil 1-0 in a home friendly nine months ago and some of the criticism that it has received for being seeded in the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil has been over the top. Jamaica lost 1-2 to Serbia in the United States of America earlier this week and it did not won on the road while trying to qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil, losing five and drawing three of its eight away games, scoring just one goal. Bwin and Winner are quoting Switzerland at odds of 1.40 to beat Jamaica, which seems generous.
Finally, one thinks that Chile‘s all-out attacking style will overwhelm Egypt in Santiago and suggests backing the South American side at odds of 1.62 with Betfred and Paddy Power. Chile has won six home matches in a row since losing 1-2 to Argentina during qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil and, also, it defeated Egypt 2-1 in a friendly on neutral territory only three months ago. Eduardo Vargas and Carlos Carmona scored Chile’s two goals and the game at the Vicente Calderon in Madrid was all over by the time that Mohamed Salah netted a consolation for Egypt, which failed to qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil because it lost the first leg of its CAF play-off 1-6 in Ghana.