FOOTBALL: WORLD CUP BETTING

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The Independent Online
COMFORTABLE WINNERS of their opening game against Jamaica, Croatia will not find life as easy against Japan in Nantes this afternoon but are still fancied to emerge victorious (perhaps 2-1).

Despite a few injuries in the run-up to the tournament, Croatia still looked a pretty solid outfit against the West Indian side and should just edge out Japan, plucky 1-0 losers to Argentina in their first match. Davor Suker looks the best bet for first goalscorer.

The match between Belgium and Mexico in Bordeaux looks booked for a draw (maybe 1-1).

Mexico put three past the moderate South Korea in their first game but will not find life so easy against a dour Belgium, who ground out a 0- 0 draw with the mighty Netherlands in their first game.

Mexico's Luis Hernandez - who got two in their first game - looks the best bet to score the opening goal in what promises to be a close game.

The Netherlands should hammer South Korea (maybe 4-0) in Marseilles this evening. The Dutch were frankly a bit disappointing against Belgium in their first match but, on that evidence, seem unlikely to miss Patrick Kluivert and will be helped by having Dennis Bergkamp - best bet for first goalscorer - starting the match.

He should combine with his Arsenal team-mate Marc Overmars to cause South Korea no end of problems.

Ian Davies

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