Spain favourite for World Cup
There is a unity and momentum about Spain at the moment and I would consider that with the Euro 2008 victory, the monkey is definitely off their back
For Frank Duval, it's 'no Spain no gain' with a touch of Dutch courage at this year's World Cup.
The World Cup will throw up a welter of betting opportunities for the canny punter, but often it's best to get in early and lock down a position on one of the likely overachievers in the biggest sporting event in the world.
This time round, we are all over tournament favourites Spain.
Perennial World Cup chokers, the Spaniards, this time around appear to be a different proposition. Iniesta, Torres, Villa, Fabregas, Ramos, Puyol and a host of other glittering talents make Spain the squad with the most depth in South Africa. Fabregas may be almost on Messi's level as the best footballer going around at the moment, and his teammates all seem like solid citizens on and off the pitch. There is a unity and momentum about Spain at the moment and I would consider that with the Euro 2008 victory, the monkey is definitely off their back.
Next to consider is the draw.
Essentially, it's an armchair ride to the finals for Spain as they meet Switzerland, Chile and Honduras in the group stage. England, lamentably, have what seems an easy draw too: the US, Slovenia and Algeria. Still, the Slovenes were rock solid in taking out Russia, and the US usually outperform their ability, so there's a chance England's squad - packed with talent and ego in equal measure -will be booted unceremoniously from the tournament.
One can but hope.
But, I digress ... back on to Spain, their draw is almost too easy. In any case, it will allow them to fine tune formations and players for the real action even if they won't be tested to any real degree. Of course, they will have some fine rivals to contend with once the finals start. It's fashionable among pundits to ominously talk up Germany before every World Cup, but I don't think they quite have the class to prevail this time. It sounds funny to say it, but Brazil perhaps doesn't have the talent of the Spanish or even England.
Of the other chances, Italy's ageing warriors surely can't prevail here, and Argentina, frankly, is led by a madman. Although the Argentine's could still seduce with their style of play, and Messi is a champion, I doubt the depth in their squad.
The Dutch, however, represent a genuine chance at the juicy odds of $17.50.
In summary, I will be going hard on Spain at $5.70, having a flutter on the Dutch and also taking the 'new winner' option (neither Spain nor Holland has won before) at the current price of $2.68.