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World Cup Fourfold: Great value to be had backing France and Italy

| 07.09.2012

With the road to Brazil 2014 about to get underway, we’ve picked out four top selections from the opening round of qualifying games that could see you in the money in the World Cup’s earliest stages.

Wins for France, Italy, Slovakia and Croatia with a -1 handicap will you see paid out to the tune of 10/1 and here are the reasons why you should give it some serious thought.

Croatia can mix it with the best of passing nations and have players in their ranks who can cause problems for the opposition. In Luka Modric they have one of Europe’s silkiest midfielders at their disposal, something distinctly lacking in the Macedonian ranks.

They lost three of their last five on the road, only managing to find the back of the net on two occasions so the Croats needn’t worry about an onslaught of their suspect defence. Also, in Mario Mandzukic, they have a striker who has scored two in his last two for Bayern and three in three at international level.

If they can bag a goal early doors then they’ve got every chance of cantering on to a win by more than one goal.

Slovakia are probably the riskiest of all the selections in this fourfold but, when you consider the recent form of their opponents, it becomes difficult to look past one team for the win here.

Lithuania have won just once in their last 11 outings, a run which includes an embarrassing defeat to Liechtenstein, and they well-warrant their 116th place in the FIFA world rankings.

France are a solid price out on their own at 4/7 against a Finland side who lack genuine quality all over the pitch so they were a shoo-in for this fourfold.

Many a punter’s outside bet for the Euros, France took a 23-match unbeaten with them to Poland and Ukraine before losing to Sweden and Spain consecutively. Still, two defeats in their last 26 is an admirable feat.

The Finnish minnows can only dream of such a formidable record as they have lost six of their last eight competitive games, aside from two wins against Europe’s whipping boys San Marino.

The strongest selection completes this bet; it comes in the form of beaten finalists at Euro 2012 and four-time world champs, Italy.

A price of 4/6 against a team as bad as Bulgaria is as close Ladbrokes are going to get to giving money away when you consider the contrasting recent records of both of these countries.

Prior to their defeat in the final, Italy had gone on a 15-match unbeaten run in competitive action whereas the Bulgarians made a right hash of qualifying for the Euros. They scored just three goals and went out with a whimper, losing their final three games to finish bottom of Group G.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of time of publication



James Middleton