Predicting a pair of winners has proven a costly exercise for WADE PRETORIUS so far at Russia 2018.
The World Cup has far exceeded my expectations. Just one goalless draw up to now, tons of goals, VAR controversy, Ronaldo goals, Messi’s struggles and his touch of redemption, Neymar’s tears and Germany eliminated.
I go on and on and share a match in my company, and I usually do, about the highlights, lowlights and talking points but still, it’s the unpredictability that gets me.
I resisted the urge to put my money where my mouth is until I was alerted to some fairly generous odds on a double bet: Portugal and Spain both to win their final group game.
The permutations were clear, to be certain of a place in the next round both sides needed to win; topping the group has the added benefit of a last-16 tie against Russia. The hosts played two incredible games but trust me, they will not be around in the last eight, regardless of who they face. They aren’t up to the standard. That should’ve been a juicy incentive for both Portugal and Spain.
How do the European champions – Cristiano Ronaldo, Bernado Silva, William Carvalho, etc – not beat Iran? I should know better but for the life of me, I wouldn’t be able to name more than two players. Yes, it takes a team’s collective effort but that’s exactly how Portugal won Euro 2016.
Spain – Diego Costa, Isco, Andres Iniesta, David Silva, Thiago, Sergio Ramos, Gerard Pique, etc etc – not beating Morocco? Not only should Spain win that 10 out of 10 times but in fine style too.
The permutation was simple for me… put down R100 down and you’ll win back R100 to go with your stake.
Watching Spain’s performance was as dark and dreary as you’ll find me during this World Cup. There were some half chances and Morocco turned from pathetic to sublime overnight. I couldn’t help but wonder why – as a Manchester United fan – I yearn for the signing of Ramos or Pique. Both look far worse than Chris Smalling – yes, I understand the severity of that statement.
In the end, Spain were lucky to get out of that match with a draw and so were Portugal. Imagine the odds of going on a bet with both sides drawing?
Feeling a little robbed by a clear winning bet, I thought long and hard about my next move…
A double of Brazil – underperforming to this point – but certain to win and progress against Serbia. And table-toppers Switzerland to beat Costa Rica.
The odds were once again very attractive – win back more than 100% of my stake.
Fast forward all the pain and drama (for me), and you’ll know Brazil won at a canter and the Swiss? Well, after taking the lead in the dying minutes, they conceded a penalty that was clattered into the crossbar but instead of bouncing away to safety, it came off the back of the goalkeeper into the back of the net.
Another knockout blow for me.
That’s football. There are no certainties, not even if a team can hold off Brazil and win with ease. They could just as easily lose their next one to the lesser of opponents faced.
With World Cup 2018, all three results are in play – just don’t ask me to choose the correct one. That’s proven almost impossible to this point.
*Wade is a two-time Superbru, a leading sports prediction game, Premier League global champion
** In 2014, he beat 60 South African sports journalists in a Premier League pool on Superbru
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