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World Cup Reaction Day 1: Neymar puts bookies to the sword early

| 13.06.2014

The prince of Brazilian football took a first big step to being crowned the king of the World Cup as Neymar Jr dragged his team from the potential ignominy of an opening day defeat to beat Croatia 3-1 and put the bookies behind the eight ball after just one match.

After Marcelo had shocked the 70,000 fans inside the Arena Corinthians by turning the ball into his own net the game was turned on its head when the tournament’s poster boy scuffed a shot to equalise, prompting thousands of first goalscorer bets around the world to cop at the first time of asking.

After half-time things went from bad to worse for the layers, and Croatians as Fred was deemed to go down despite having been barely grazed by the hand of defender Dejan Lovren and Neymar stepped up to double his and Brazil’s tally and set them on course for what was ultimately an uncomfortable 3-1 victory after Oscar’s late addition.

The 22-year-old’s brace would have been a huge blow for the betting industry as punters up and down the land flocked to bet on Neymar in the Top Goalscorer and Player of the Tournament markets, forcing the Barca forward into favouritism almost across the board.

His position as market leader looks set to stay for some time with Neymar now only 11/4 from 7/1 to top the goalscoring charts.

It was also a nightmare on the win-draw-win front with punters steaming into the hosting nation in the week leading up to the match and with minutes to play in singles and a host of short priced accumulators.

However, because of the underwhelming performance of Luiz Felipe Scolari’s men those who want to back Brazil to lift the cup haven’t missed the boat as their pre-tournament odds of 3/1 have changed only slightly to 11/4.

Croatia have been eased only slightly to qualify as their chances of progression were always seen to rest on their other games, however, Niko Kovač’s side should go in their final two games with renewed confidence having at least matched their opponents in their performance.

This was very much a night for Neymar rather than Brazil and very much the punters over the bookies.

The second day of the World Cup sees six teams in action with Mexico taking on Cameroon in the other Group A match and holders Spain taking on Holland in the first time that the last tournament’s finalists will meet in the opening round. Spain are 5/6 favourites to see off their old foes who are 4/1 for the win. The day’s action ends with Chile looking to justify 4/9 favouritism against the competition’s rank outsiders Australia.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Sam Foster