Football World Cup: SPREAD BETTING

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The Independent Online
APART FROM some glory-hunting by the more puffed-up referees - special mentions go to Senor Brizio Carter by booking Alan Shearer for taking a free-kick too quickly on Friday night and Herr Heynemann by booking Paolo Maldini for taking a free-kick too slowly less than 24 hours later - the officiating has been sensible.

The prices have settled around 50 points (10 for a yellow, 25 for a red), heading towards 60 for the tastier encounters.

England and Argentina collected a total of seven yellows in their group games so a sell would be tempting whatever the quote. It becomes essential after a look at the tournament record of the referee, Denmark's Kim Nielsen - just one yellow.

Warning: There has been an extraordinary number of cards in the last few minutes - three in England's game against Colombia and two in Germany v Mexico - so wait until the final whistle before working out the profit with confidence.

Croatia v Romania looks a tight affair and a sell on total goals is unlikely to result in horrendous losses. Both sides scored four and conceded two in the group stage and this could easily go into extra time.

There are two ways of approaching that result. Either sell the superiority or, more daringly and with an eye on the next 12 days, you could buy the number of Golden Goal minutes, available with William Hill and City.

As the tournament advances, the games get tighter and every penalty shoot- out means you get 30 minutes/ points. Another warning: it's only for those who want to make tense situations even more tense.