Football: Sunday best bets

ONE of only two countries with a 100 per cent record in the tournament so far, the host nation France can reach the quarter-finals at the expense of Paraguay (maybe 2-0) in Lens this afternoon. Comprehensive winners - 3-0 and 4-0 against moderate South Africa and Saudi Arabia respectively - in their opening games, France were arguably even more impressive when, despite the absence through suspension of their playmaker Zinedine Zidane, they beat the half-decent Denmark 2-1 in their final Group C game in Lyons. Trezeguet looks the best bet for first goal-scorer. Paraguay, however, find it hard to score - except when playing sides who have already qualified - and deserve to go no further.

Nigeria, the medium of Paraguay's entry to the knock-out phase, should overwhelm Denmark (maybe 2-1) in St Denis. The African side look great going forward and should contain their Scandinavian rivals. Ikpeba is the best bet for first goal-scorer.

England are 11-5 to beat Argentina, the other nation with a 100 per cent record, in St Etienne on Tuesday, but those of us who don't need help will be on Argentina - that's the side with Ariel Ortega and Gabriel Batistuta - at 5-4.

Ian Davies

france v paraguay

Nation C H L S T

France 4-9 4-9 4-9 4-9 4-9

Draw 12-5 5-2 5-2 5-2 12-5

Paraguay 6-1 6-1 6-1 6-1 6-1

C Coral, H William Hill, L Ladbrokes, S Stanley, T Tote

denmark v nigeria

Nation C H L S T

Denmark 10-3 10-3 3-1 10-3 10-3

Draw 2-1 11-5 11-5 2-1 2-1

Nigeria 4-5 8-11 4-5 4-5 4-5

C Coral, H William Hill, L Ladbrokes, S Stanley, T Tote

ARGENTINA v ENGLAND

Nation C H L S T

Argentina 11-10 5-4 5-4 5-4 11-10

Draw 11-5 15-8 15-8 15-8 2-1

England 2-1 2-1 2-1 2-1 11-5

C Coral, H William Hill, L Ladbrokes, S Stanley, T Tote

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