FOOTBALL: WORLD CUP BETTING

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SURPRISE WINNERS over original group D favourites, Spain, in their opening game, Nigeria can show that was no fluke by beating Bulgaria (perhaps 2-0) in Paris this afternoon. The Super Eagles demonstrated in that first game that they have got the men to penetrate any defence in this tournament and will make life tough for Bulgaria, whose ageing strike force proved ineffective against a moderate Paraguay in their dismal opening scoreless draw. Ikpeba failed to score against Spain but remains a good bet to be first goalscorer.

Spain should dismiss Paraguay (perhaps 2-0) in St Etienne this evening. Spain scored twice against a rampant Nigeria and are not out of this World Cup yet. Raul, who got one of their two goals in that game, may emerge as the top-class striker so many people think he is in this tournament. He looks the best bet to be first goal scorer. Paraguay, in their first game against Bulgaria, left many wondering how they managed to qualify for these finals. Their free kick-taking goalkeeper Chilavert looked as likely to score as their forwards and it hard to see them giving the Spanish many problems.

Salas, 50-1 when the tournament started, is a top-priced 6-1 with the Tote for the Golden Boot award after notching his third goal so far against Austria. Vieri, also on three, is 7-1 with the Tote.

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