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The Independent Online
THEY HAVEN'T even played and Argentina have been the biggest mover in the World Cup Index markets. At the beginning of May they were 60-65 with Sporting, by Tuesday they had advanced to 70-75 and are now 75-80. City, with a different scoring system, have gone from 29-33 to 37-41 and make them second favourites.

It is no surprise then that they have also risen in the total goals market. This is an another way of backing a team to do well and the 9-9.8 with City may look a steal after tomorrow's match against Japan. Even if Batistuta and Ortega do not initially live up to their billing with IG as favourites in their `Dynamic Duo Index' the South Americans can cash in with Jamaica in their final Group H game.

There has been a Black Monday-type collapse in the markets for yellow and red cards after the opening four games saw just 12 yellows flourished and no reds. IG, who went as high as 325 yellow cards at one stage, now quote 268-278.

For red cards it's a similar story, once 49 but now slashed to 22-24. Such early leniency has lead Sporting to more than halve their `Magic Stretcher Index'. Yugoslavia's 12-1 play-off thrashing of Hungary is obviously behind their rather high total goals quote - 8-8.8 with three companies.

Germany and the defensive USA are also in Group F so it's far better to take the total goals in their opening match against Iran tomorrow. PS Shame on any Sporting clients who got a better price by singing the title of their `Sheikh It All Over' market for the Saudi Arabia-Denmark match yesterday.

Richard Wetherell