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Current Form - Group A-D

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Group E-H

In this piece, we’re breaking down each group in much more detail, going through the final stage of qualification for each team initially, breaking down their last 10 games (thru June 6) on the pitch overall followed by some qualitative analysis on recent form & perhaps what we can expect from a gambling angle.

Each group will have 3 pieces:

1 - Final stage of qualification results
2 - Last 10 match results
3 - Analysis

Before analyzing each group, please note the qualification comments on the six teams below:

Group A
Brazil: Qualified automatically as host nation
Cameroon: CAF's final stage of qualification is a home & home vs. one opponent
Croatia: Won playoff vs. Iceland for bid. 0-0 draw at Iceland, 2-0 win at home (aggregate 2-0)
Mexico: Won Inter-Continental playoff vs. New Zealand for bid. 5-1 win at home, 4-2 win at New Zealand (aggregate 9-3)

Group C
Greece: Won playoff vs. Romania for bid. 3-1 win at home, 1-1 draw at Romania (aggregate 4-2)

Group D
Uruguay: Won Inter-Continental playoff vs. Jordan for bid. 5-0 win at Jordan, 0-0 draw at home (aggregate 5-0)

Group A
World Cup June 6th Final Stage of Qualification Group W/O TM
Country FIFA Rank Region W L DRAW GF + - +/- AVG Rank
BRAZIL 3 CONMEBOL Host Country
CROATIA 18 UEFA 5 3 2 12 1.20 0.90 0.30 37.80 10
MEXICO 20 CONCACAF 2 3 5 7 0.70 0.90 (0.20) 37.20 9
CAMEROON 56 CAF vs. TUNISIA 2.00 0.50 1.50 48.00 13
Group A
World Cup June 6th Recent Form - Last Ten Games (Thru 6/4) Goal Margin
Country FIFA Rank Region W L DRAW + - +/-
BRAZIL 3 CONMEBOL 9 1 0 32 3 29
CROATIA 18 UEFA 4 3 3 13 12 1
MEXICO 20 CONCACAF 6 2 2 24 10 14
CAMEROON 56 CAF 3 4 3 12 13 (1)
Analysis - Group A

Brazil: Dominating of late, only loss (0-1) at Switzerland on 8/14/13. Have not yielded more than one goal since Confederations Cup win over Italy 4-2 on 6/22/13. They have reached the knockout stage every World Cup since 1966 & no question that streak will continue in 2014 - but they have much bigger goals especially with the competition taking place on their soil.

Croatia: Only kept two clean sheets over last 10 games both vs. Iceland. Only win vs. World Cup team over South Korea on 9/10/13. Croatia has only played one 0-0 draw since at least summer of 2012 - meaning over plays could be solid selections here. Have not escaped group stage since 1998 France & that is clearly their goal here - target 2nd place which should be accomplished vs. lesser teams Mexico & Cameroon.

Mexico: First loss (0-1) of 2014 vs. Bosnia & Herzegovina on June 3. Only two of last 10 games saw combined goals less than 3 (over bets look solid perhaps during world cup). New coach Miguel Herrara seems to be getting more out of El Tri than recent past managers, especially offensively. Strong record escaping group play as they have reached knockout stage in each of last 5 World Cups, but have not reached quarterfinals since 1986 - that's clearly the goal this year.

Cameroon: Struggled of late outside home win over Tunisia 4-1. Only faced two fellow World Cup teams: lost to Portugal 5-1 on 3/5/14, tied Germany 2-2 on 6/1/14. Seem to be longshot of group considering they have not reached knockout stage since 1990 with higher ranked teams & have not faced strong competition much - and when they did it often did not turn out well.
Group B
World Cup June 6th Final Stage of Qualification Group W/O TM
Country FIFA Rank Region W L DRAW GF + - +/- AVG Rank
SPAIN 1 UEFA 6 0 2 14 1.75 0.38 1.38 64.00 17
NETHERLANDS 15 UEFA 9 0 1 34 3.40 0.50 2.90 81.80 25
CHILE 14 CONMEBOL 9 6 1 29 1.81 1.56 0.25 31.00 2
AUSTRALIA 62 AFC 3 1 4 12 1.50 0.88 0.63 73.00 19
Group B
World Cup June 6th Recent Form - Last Ten Games (Thru 6/4) Goal Margin
Country FIFA Rank Region W L DRAW + - +/-
SPAIN 1 UEFA 7 2 1 15 8 7
NETHERLANDS 15 UEFA 5 1 4 20 8 12
CHILE 14 CONMEBOL 6 2 2 22 11 11
AUSTRALIA 62 AFC 3 5 2 14 24 (10)
Analysis - Group B

Spain:Ten games ago was loss at Brazil in Confederations Cup finale 3-0. Since they have scored two goals in seven of nine and only loss was 1-0 at South Africa. They have reached the knockout stage in every World Cup but one since 1982 (1998 France) and are clearly the favorite of this group & to return to the championship game at the least. Keep an eye on a variety of injuries that could derail their chances.

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Netherlands:
Outside of an 8-1 win at home over Hungary on 10/11/13 the Dutch scoring margin is just 12-7 (nine gms). They have not scored more than two goals outside aforementioned Hungary game since 6/7/13 vs Indonesia. Just 1-1-3 last five vs. World Cup teams with lone win 1-0 over Ghana at home on 5/31/14. Concern for Dutch is evident.

Chile: Perhaps no team is more prepared for the World Cup as seven of their last 10 games has come against World Cup teams including a tie vs. Spain & a pair of one-goal defeats on road against Brazil & Germany. Chile has scored less than two goals just twice over last 10 vs. aforementioned Germany & Brazil. Solid sleeper here.

Australia: Outside of a pair of 6-0 road losses to France & Brazil they are near level in record and goal differential. Their only three wins came when they pitched shutout. Longshot of group for certain, perhaps of entire tournament despite escaping group stage in 2006.
Group C
World Cup June 6th Final Stage of Qualification Group W/O TM
Country FIFA Rank Region W L DRAW GF + - +/- AVG Rank
COLOMBIA 8 CONMEBOL 9 4 3 27 1.69 0.81 0.88 31.7 3
GREECE 12 UEFA 8 1 1 12 1.20 0.40 0.80 89.40 30
IVORY COAST 23 CAF VS. SENEGAL 2.00 1.00 1.00 74.00 20
JAPAN 46 AFC 5 1 2 16 2.00 0.63 1.38 77.00 22
Group C
World Cup June 6th Recent Form - Last Ten Games (Thru 6/4) Goal Margin
Country FIFA Rank Region W L DRAW + - +/-
COLOMBIA 8 CONMEBOL 5 1 4 14 9 5
GREECE 12 UEFA 6 1 3 10 4 6
IVORY COAST 23 CAF 5 2 3 21 14 7
JAPAN 46 AFC 6 3 1 21 15 6
Analysis - Group C

Colombia: Only loss over last 10 was at Uruguay (0-2) on 9/10/13. Last three outings were draws including less than inspiring efforts vs. Tunisia and Senegal. Recent form and lack of experience may be cause for concern, as is the loss of striker Radamel Falcao to injury.

Greece: A goal in three matches thus far in 2014 (pair of 0-0 draws vs. fellow World Cup squads Portugal and Nigeria along with 2-0 loss at home to South Korea). Have not scored more than two goals in a match since 6/4/11 vs. Malta at home! Will likely play tight to vest looking for draws - thus playing draws & unders in their matches likely solid selections.

Ivory Coast: Since beating Gambia back-to-back 3-0 and Tanzania in next outing 4-2 during WC qualifying they are just 2-2-3 with goal differential of (1). In last 10 have faced three fellow World Cup teams going 0-2-1 with lone point a 2-2 tie vs. Belgium. Since aforementioned games vs. Gambia both teams have scored in their last three games thus over plays may be solid here. May be longest shot of group to reach knockout stage.

Japan: Unbeaten over l5 dating back to 1-0 road loss at Belarus on 10/15/13. Have faced five World Cup teams over last 10 games going 3-1-1 with lone loss to Uruguay, draw with Netherlands and beating Ghana, Belgium and Costa Rica by combined 9-4 score. Having exceeded expectations reaching the knockout stage in two of last three World Cups no reason in this weak group the Japanese cannot advance again. A case could even be made they are the favorite.
Group D
World Cup June 6th Final Stage of Qualification Group W/O TM
Country FIFA Rank Region W L DRAW GF + - +/- AVG Rank
URUGUAY 7 CONMEBOL 7 5 4 25 1.56 1.56 0.00 31.88 4
COSTA RICA 28 CONCACAF 5 2 3 13 1.30 0.70 0.60 35.60 7
ENGLAND 10 UEFA 6 0 4 31 3.10 0.40 2.70 88.80 29
ITALY 9 UEFA 6 0 4 19 1.90 0.90 1.00 61.00 16
Group D
World Cup June 6th Recent Form - Last Ten Games (Thru 6/4) Goal Margin
Country FIFA Rank Region W L DRAW + - +/-
URUGUAY 7 CONMEBOL 6 1 3 20 9 11
COSTA RICA 28 CONCACAF 4 5 1 13 14 (1)
ENGLAND 10 UEFA 6 2 2 19 8 11
ITALY 9 UEFA 2 2 6 12 11 1
Analysis - Group D

Uruguay: Though Uruguay did struggle early in qualification they come into this competition playing well with just one loss (0-1) vs fellow World Cup Conmebol country Ecuador on road (10/11/13). One concern could be not facing any decent competition since 10/15/13 when they beat Argentina as their four games since then came against Jordan twice (Intercontinental Playoff), Austria and Northern Ireland.

Costa Rica: Defense is a major concern as they have not held one clean sheet over their last nine matches dating back to a shutout of Dominican Republic on 8/14/13. They are 0-5 dating back to 2-1 home win over Mexico on 10/15/13 & just 1-6-0 over their last seven matches. No question the longshot of this group, and battling Australia for the longest shot of any team to reach the knockout stage.

England: Over their last 10 they have faced three World Cup teams going just 0-2-1 getting shutout at home in back to back losses to Chile & Germany in late 2013, followed by recent 2-2 tie with Ecuador on 6/4/14. Have escaped group stage in each of last four World Cups, but big time uphill battle this year for a team somewhat in transition facing a very difficult group.

Italy: Heads into the World Cup not in good form whatsoever having no wins since beating Czech Republic and Bulgaria by one goal at home in early September 2013. Just 0-1-6 last seven matches including draws against the likes of Luxembourg, Ireland and Armenia. Have not scored more than two goals since beating Japan in Confederations Cup last June. Amazingly they have not scored a goal and held a clean sheet away from home since beating Malta 2-0 on 3/26/13.

  
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